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Dhoni warns India not to slip up against Afghans


India skipper MS Dhoni has warned his players not to take Afghanistan lightly when the two teams meet on Saturday in a Group C clash in St Lucia.

Dhoni said his team cannot afford any type of slip-up against the minnows at the Beaysejour Stadium. Although highly unlikely a defeat against Afghanistan could put India out of contention for the super eights.

"If you ask me, I would not consider our opening match against Afghanistan as a practice game. I don't take my opponents lightly. At the end of the day you have to win whichever team you play," said Dhoni.

"I don't know much about them. It is good in a way because if we know too much about a side then you are thinking too much about them. However, our preparation will remain the same as if you are playing the best opponent in world cricket," he said.

"We can't really relax against whichever team you are playing. At the end of the day you are representing India and you have to be at your best when you turn up on the field," Dhoni added.

"We don't actually need to play a warm-up game as the way we have shaped up after the long journey, there wouldn't have been any good coming out of it. It is good that we can rest and have a rigorous practice session tomorrow and get back into the groove and prepare for the match against them," said Dhoni.

"It is part and parcel of cricket that people get injured. But at the end of the day we have replaced them (Sehwag) with the best possible players available.

"We are just hoping that we won't miss them on the field. We are hopeful that people who have come as replacements would step up to the occasion and perform," he said.

Delving on Yuvraj Singh's injury-riddled form, Dhoni said, "He bats at number four and the individual he is, he can easily play the big shots. There aren't enough grounds in the world that are big enough for him not to clear."

"These big hitters have a big impact on the game. Somebody like Kieron Pollard or (Andrew) Symonds is the kind of players who can take the game away from the opponents in three or four overs. It is a big stage for him (Yuvraj) and, as we have seen of him, he loves challenges.

"His utility as a bowler also comes into play. He did well against some of the best teams in the IPL. So it is good that you have more part timers in the bowling department as it gives us more options than just playing five bowlers," he added.

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