Dhoni - no extra pressure
Defending their position at the top of the Test rankings is not a burden insists India captain MS Dhoni.
Last Updated: 21/07/11 8:18am
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni denies his side are under extra pressure defending top spot in the Test rankings during the upcoming series with England.
The four-match rubber starts at Lord's on Thursday and England can go above both South Africa and India into top spot if they win by at least a two-game margin.
The Lord's showdown is also the 2,000th Test in the history of the game and the 100th between England and India.
Dhoni, however, is not treating the match or series any differently.
"For us every series is important, whether we are playing Bangladesh, Sri Lanka or any other side - home or away," he said. "I feel every game of Test cricket is as important.
"England are a good side, as are most of the other international sides. Each and every series is a chance to improve as a cricketer and prove ourselves as a team."
There are plenty of interesting subplots at Lord's, not least Sachin Tendulkar's pursuit of his 100th international hundred.
The 'Little Master', who has a top score of 37 in four previous Tests at the St John's Wood venue, is still going strong at the age of 38 after more than two decades as India's middle-order lynchpin.
Dhoni paid warm tribute, hailing Tendulkar as the ideal man for the younger players in his side to learn from.
"He loves the game, he has a passion for the game and every time he turns up on the field he wants to improve," said the India skipper.
"He may spend one-and-a-half hours on the field but he makes sure he is learning something during that time.
"And when he goes back to the dressing room, he can proudly say: 'today's time I utilised to the best'.
"I think his love and passion for the game is what keeps him going.
"He keeps things very simple and doesn't complicate things. Overall, I think he is the ideal cricketer to look up to (for) how he has conducted himself on and off the field."