Dhoni focused on series
Tendulkar milestone won't distract us says India skipper
Last Updated: 05/11/11 2:29pm
Mahendra Singh Dhoni: determined to take India back to top of Test rankings
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni will not allow the anticipation of Sachin Tendulkar's 100th international century to overshadow his side's Test series against the West Indies.
Tendulkar has been stuck on 99 since the World Cup in March but is expected to make the landmark ton on home soil sometime in the three-match series starting on Sunday.
And while Dhoni is keen for the 'Little Master' to reach his historic milestone he is not letting it distract him or the team from the task ahead.
"We will let him get the century and then we will speak about it," he said. "Hopefully he gets it in this (the first) game and we will speak about it on the fifth day.
"It's a milestone Sachin will achieve, whether in this game, the next game or some other game. It's bound to happen.
"So rather than discussing too much ahead of the milestone coming in, what we are doing is we said 'okay, let him get the ton and then we'll talk about it'. We are thinking about how we need to prepare for the series.
"We will let him get the century and then we will speak about it... It's a milestone Sachin will achieve, whether in this game, the next game or some other game. It's bound to happen."
Mahendra Singh Dhoni Quotes of the week
"Of course once he gets his ton, we all will celebrate with him. It will be a big moment for Indian cricket."
Dhoni's focus stems from his determination to re-establish India as the world's top Test side after their 4-0 whitewash by England on August saw them slip down the rankings.
"We want to be the best in the world but it's not something that belongs to you. You have to maintain it, you have to keep doing well," he added.
"We did not do too well in England and that's why we are not the number one team right now. Again it becomes a process and to reach to the top of the world, you have to follow the process.
"It's the start of another process for us and hopefully we will be focussed enough to do well, get there again and try to sustain it."
The magnitude of the upcoming series is also not lost on Dhoni's opposite number Darren Sammy, who described it as the biggest challenge his side have yet faced.
The West Indies skipper has promised a 'fearless' display but, with Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Marlon Samuels the only two in the 15-man squad to have played a Test match in India, Sammy knows he has his work cut out.
"This is the biggest series for most of the guys here," he said. "Playing cricket in India is indescribable.
"The way cricket is held here, it's like religion. This by far is the biggest test for us, for me as the captain as well.
India are ranked four places above the Wes Indies in the Test standings but the men from the Caribbean have been boosted by their recent success in Bangladesh.
"All the guys present know what West Indies cricket means to the people in the Caribbean," Sammy continued.
"This is the biggest series for most of the guys here. Playing cricket in India is indescribable. The way cricket is held here, it's like religion. This by far is the biggest test for us, for me as the captain as well."
Darren Sammy Quotes of the week
"In Fidel (Edwards) and (Kemar) Roach, we have two of the quickest bowlers right now playing international cricket
"Over the last year we have been able to bowl out teams twice in test matches and in one day cricket as well. It's an improving attack.
"We expect to continue the same way and let our pace do the talking. We also have (rising leg-spinner Devendra) Bishoo to complement us.
"So far, we prepared well for the subcontinent... we just had been successful in Bangladesh. Our top order is scoring runs.
"It's not only scoring runs, they are also occupying the crease. Test match is also about (spending) time (in the middle). We just hope the good form continues."