Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Shahid Afridi made for a tale of two skippers in Dhaka yesterday
India skipper MS Dhoni arrives in a cycle rickshaw at the opening
ceremony of the World Cup at the Bangabandhu National Stadium
in Dhaka yesterday. Pic/ Suresh KK
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was a tired man yesterday, when MiD DAY caught up with him after the open media session with the 14 World Cup captains. "Yesterday (Wednesday) we played a late night match in Chennai and then this morning we had to catch a flight for Dhaka. Seriously, my players need some rest and that's the reason they won't be at the opening ceremony today. From tomorrow onwards, I think they should be fine," Dhoni said yesterday.
When asked how he felt heading into the prestigious tournament, Dhoni replied: "It's always a very different feeling (going into a World Cup). It's not easy to express it in words."
Dhoni had his plate full yesterday. Immediately after the team landed in Dhaka and checked into their hotel, he had to attend the captains' technical briefing. Following that, he rushed in to attend the media conference only after which he was able to retire to his room.
About his unbeaten 108 not out in the warm-up match against New Zealand in Chennai the previous night, Dhoni smiled and said: "It was a satisfying and morale-boosting knock."
Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi arrives at the opening ceremony of the
World Cup at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka yesterday.
Pic/ Suresh KK
Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi was not in a pleasant mood when MiD DAY spoke to him soon after the captains' media session yesterday. The dashing all-rounder's disappointment stemmed from the fact that his countrymen were missing out on the joy of jointly hosting the World Cup with the rest of the teams from the sub-continent. Afridi was also disappointed that his team were denied the opportunity to play in front of their home crowd. "Kaash mere desh main bhi matches hotey (wish there were matches in my country too). It's sad that Pakistan's cricket lovers are missing out on the opportunity of witnessing a World Cup in their own country. Kharaab toh lagta hi
hai (it definitely feels bad)," Afridi said. Pakistan's hosting rights of the 2011 World Cup were taken away by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on security grounds. In March 2009, armed gunmen had fired at the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore injuring seven Sri Lankan cricketers.
As for his team's chances at the quadrennial event, Afridi said: "Right now, the momentum is with us. We are confident, ready to fight for the World Cup."