Special Correspondent

MUMBAI: Mahender Singh Dhoni believes in living in the present, does not carry burdens of the past and is clear about the direction his team is striving for in future.

The India cricket captain, expressing his thoughts on Asia Cup 2008, was clear that his team will be starting from scratch in the seven-nation event hosted by Pakistan.

“Indian teams have always done well in Pakistan, but that is in the past. For this team, the scenario will be different, the conditions will be different. We are working towards playing to potential, play to the best of our abilities. Then the chances of winning games are more.”

The Triangular Series final loss to Pakistan, the captain attributes as part of the game. “Winning and losing is all part of the game,” reasoned the skipper, stressing on the playing to potential factor as the surest way to record more victories than defeats.

The team flies out from Mumbai at a time when the silver jubilee celebrations of the 1983 World Cup winning squad is foremost in people’s mind. The current Indian captain, asserting his own leadership style and developing into a mature batsman as a result of responsibility, referred to Kapil Dev’s historic triumph with pride.

Dhoni (born July 1981) was an infant when India turned the one-day world upside down defeating West Indies at Lords on June 25, 1983.

“Kapil Dev lifting the World Cup at Lords was a proud moment for all. We would like to emulate that achievement, having already won the T20 World Cup,” he said, referring to the nail-biting win over Pakistan in South Africa which changed the way India looked at 20-overs cricket.

Kapil’s team of world-beaters were followed by two Asian nations, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, rising to World champion status in the 50-overs version. India and Lanka advanced as far as the final in subsequent years.

The Asia Cup, featuring the region’s best sides in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, is a new scenario for coach Gary Kirsten. “This being my first Asia Cup, I am looking forward to the experience. There are some good sides competing in the tournament. We have set some targets, for the team and as an individual. Winning the Asia Cup is one of them.”

Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong are the other sides taking part. The Asia Cup begins June 24.

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