Bangalore: Toss and pitch were distinctly missing from his utterances as Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni turned his focus on performance of the players, asking them to make themselves count in the limited-overs series against Pakistan starting here on Tuesday.
India take on Pakistan in two Twenty20s and three ODIs. The first T20 will be held here at the Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Tuesday.
The under-fire Indian skipper, who drew flak during the lost Test series against England for his over-reliance on domestic conditions and the toss, desisted from talking about conditions and focused solely on preparations.
"It will be important to see how individuals perform, what kind of a platform they give each other. The part-timers also need to contribute at the same time. Both teams are evenly placed and the team that plays better will win," he said at the pre-match press conference here.
"We do not set a target before the start of the match, but plan it after every five to six overs. Our first focus is to get off to a good start," he told reporters.
Reflecting on the drawn two-match T20 series against England, Dhoni said the games have helped players get into the groove.
"T20 is slightly different. You have to be a bit unorthodox and try a few different things. It is different from the longer format. So I think, a few games will give us time to get into the groove and get out of it," he said.
"We have often seen in one off T20 games, sides use it as a warm-up game going into the series or entertainment at the end of the series. There are a few sides that have very different teams (for different formats).
"There are T20 specialists who play only T20 matches, but if it`s a one-off game, they might not fly down those specialists. At least two games give some time to adjust to the format," Dhoni added.
Asked whether he has thought of taking a break given the hectic schedule he has endured, Dhoni said he cannot think of missing big series like the ones he has been part of.
"Most of the time, I am not even aware of what the date is. We just keep playing the games and we know there`s a match around the corner in two-three days. And if you are representing your country, I think it`s very important to be at your best.
"Sometimes the body does protest, and you know that if you don`t rest then, you might get injured. At that time, you may want to take a break and maybe miss a series," he said.
Dhoni said it is important to help the youngsters, especially fast bowlers, realise their talent and at the same time not force anything on them.
"What we request them is to keep improving. They should try and improve themselves in every practice session we get. The good thing is, these are guys who can bowl quick. With a bit of exposure and guidance, they can be really good for us. We also have quite a few fast bowlers injured," he said.
Asked whether the series seems incomplete because of its short length, Dhoni said, "For us what is vital is what`s there, and what will happen, rather than thinking we should have played three more Tests.
"They are not there, and not going to happen, because we don`t have time for it. So we are just concentrating on T20s and ODIs," he said.