Dhoni confident of bringing home the Champions Trophy

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New Delhi, Jun 19 (UNI) The loss to Pakistan in the recently concluded tri-series does not seem to have deterred the confidence of Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni who believes his team will carry on with its good performances in the 50-over format and bring back the Champions Trophy that gets underway in September this year.

''We would like to continue in the same vein and take the ICC Champions Trophy home with us to India,'' Dhoni said today.

Dhoni claimed that his boys are upbeat to take on the world's best teams and their recent achievements are a proof of their growng success.

''The Indian team did very well in limited-overs cricket in 2007-08. Winning the one-day series in Australia was a monumental achievement.

''Not only did we beat the World Cup winners, but also Sri Lanka, which was runner-up in the Caribbean,'' he added.

Meanwhile, Australian captain Ricky Ponting too, was confident of retaining Trophy which is the second most important tournament after the World Cup.

''The ICC Champions Trophy is a major tournament on our radar and one that we were extremely pleased to win for the first time in 2006 in India.

''We are particularly focused on performing well this year in the Champions Trophy in Pakistan and I am excited by the prospect of some new Australian players having the opportunity to be tested against the world's best 50-over players, Ponting said.

Hosts Pakistan, however, did not rule out the presence of other big names in the tournament and their captain Shoaib Malik said his team would look to make use of the home conditions.

Malik said it was his dream to win the Champions Trophy and he was confident that he would bring it to reality this time.

''It is my dream to captain my country to victory in the ICC Champions Trophy on home soil and my team will be doing everything we can to convert this dream into reality.

''This is the biggest cricket event to come to Pakistan in more than a decade. I am sure that there will be a fantastic atmosphere for all the games and that the people of Pakistan will make it a happy and memorable event,'' Malik conceded.

The Pakistan captain further added that the recent innovations made in format of the Champions Trophy would enhance the popularity and quality of cricket in the event.

''Competition is always tough in this tournament and we are expecting a great challenge again in Pakistan during September.

''The fact we beat India earlier this week, which showed what a good side it is when it beat Australia earlier this year, means that it will be very difficult to predict the outcome of matches. I think this could be one of the most closely contested tournaments for a long time.

''The new format of the event should mean that there are lots of exciting matches, especially as I don't think there is that much to separate many of the teams in ODI cricket at the moment,'' he added.

The winner of the inaugural edition of Champions Trophy in 1998, South Africa, would obviously be a force to reckon with in the tournament.

Proteas captain Graeme Smith said the new format of the Champions Trophy with the eight best teams in the world taking part poses new challenges.

''It means that we will have to be on top form from game one to the finish. It should make for a very exciting tournament.

''Having won it once before (in 1998) we are obviously keen to do so again and it is important that we take the extra step because we have been in a lot of semi-finals without going to the final stage,'' Smith said.


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