Dhoni takes World Cup in his stride

ICC Cricket World Cup 2011

Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Mahendra Singh Dhoni insists "there is always pressure" when playing for India as he attempts to lift the World Cup on home soil

Mahendra Singh Dhoni has dismissed suggestions that captaining India on home soil in the World Cup puts him under extra pressure.

Dhoni was part of the side that crashed out of the 2007 competition in the West Indies at the first hurdle.

However, under Dhoni’s leadership, India have since become the world’s top-ranked Test team and second-placed one-day team.

They are many people’s favourites to win the tournament this time around, although there remain questions over how well the players will cope with the famously high expectations of their millions of fans.

Asked about the responsibility on his own shoulders, Dhoni said: “I have been doing it for the last four and a half, five years.

“It (pressure) is an added responsibility. Whenever you play for India there is always pressure. But the good thing is that we have a very experienced team.”

Dhoni admits it is a blow to be without Praveen Kumar, who has been ruled out of the tournament due to an elbow injury, paving the way for Sreesanth to come in.

“It is very unfortunate that Praveen had to miss the World Cup,” Dhoni added. “He featured consistently in the ODIs (against South Africa) for us. He is a street-smart cricketer and we will miss him a lot.”

India open the World Cup against Bangladesh in Dhaka on February 19, and Dhoni added: “A few players are suffering from slight niggles, which is always there but nothing serious. Hopefully, nothing major happens to any player.”

India are currently based at Bangalore’s Chinnaswamy Stadium, where they play their first warm-up match against Australia on Sunday.