Abu Dhabi: Chennai Super Kings captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni feels adjusting to the conditions in UAE will be the biggest challenge for his team though he expects the two-time champions to at least reach the semi-finals of the seventh Indian Premier League (IPL) beginning on Wednesday.
"There are players who are coming from the Asia Cup in Dhaka, some even from New Zealand. The challenge is the ability to adapt and perform quickly," Dhoni said ahead of their tournament opener against Kings XI Punjab here on Friday.
Talking about the weather, Dhoni said: "Yes, the weather is slightly different when you compare to Mumbai or Chennai or Kolkata. It is hot and humid. But Delhi has very dry heat and this place is similar to that. It will be a challenge. But sports people crib a lot initially. But you don't get bothered by it once we start to play."
The Super Kings have retained the core of their team comprising Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Suresh Raina, West Indian Dwayne Bravo and Dhoni himself. The most successful team in the IPL looks a formidable force by also boasting the likes of New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum and the dangerous Faf du Plessis from South Africa.
Asked about his team's chances, Dhoni said: "Consistency at playing well and reaching the semi-finals is our goal firstly. We can't say we will win because all it takes is one individual to have a good day. The important thing is to reach the semi-finals, and you up your game a bit.
"In knockout stages, you play to the best of your potential. That becomes crucial," the India captain was quoted as saying by the tournament's official website. The wicketkeeper-batsman reckoned it was good that Super Kings have not made too many changes in the squad since the cash-rich league began in 2008.
"The good thing is, we haven't had so many changed players since season one. We try to retain as many as possible. And as a team, we lay down what each one's roles and responsibilities are. And we try to learn as we are making mistakes; we want to keep that low," he added.