CHENNAI: World Cup-winning captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni believes India's limited-overs tour of Sri Lanka will help his team prepare for the World Twenty20 in the same country in September-October.
“Most of the players who will play in the World Twenty20 are in this side so that will help us,” Dhoni said on the eve of his squad's departure.
“Sri Lanka is not a new place to us, and during the last five years we've gone there every year, if not twice a year. Conditions there are not very different to India.”
India plays five one-dayers and a Twenty20 game in Sri Lanka from Saturday to Aug. 7.
India then hosts New Zealand for two tests and two Twenty20 games before the World Twenty20 is held from Sept. 18-Oct. 7.
Dhoni said it is important to start a new season well and that his players are fresh following the seven-week break after the Indian Premier League, which ended May 27.
“We'll be playing at different venues in Sri Lanka. It's important to be at our best, it's the start of the season and we want to start on a good note,” said the captain, who led India to victories in the inaugural World Twenty20 in 2007 as well as the 50-over World Cup in 2011.
Dhoni also said the team was looking forward to Pakistan's proposed tour of India in December-January for three one-dayers and two Twenty20 games.
“We'll be ready for it though the dates are not out yet. Our country's name is at stake. As professional cricketers we are expected to win, especially if it is against Pakistan,” he said of the proposed series that will revive bilateral cricket after five years.
Asked how important captaincy is in cricket, Dhoni said players make a team.
“If a famous captain is given a team _ I don't want to name any international side, let's say Alaska _ and expect him to win them the World Cup, it is difficult. A captain channels the resources, it is how individuals react and deliver that matters.”
India has selected a full-strength side for the Sri Lanka tour with only Sachin Tendulkar, who has limited his participation in one-dayers in the past two years, opting out of the tour. Tendulkar does not play Twenty20 cricket for India but plays for Mumbai Indians in the IPL.