By Kushan Sarkar
Colombo: India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has said that the heavy defeat against Australia in their first Super Eights game had a telling impact in his team’s ouster from the ICC World T20 even though he termed the side’s performance as “satisfactory”.
“It was a satisfactory performance. If we talk about the tournament, the match that we lost (versus Australia) impacted us badly. The margin of defeat was a big one. Today after the first match, the equation was such that we wanted to field first and then chase down whatever target within 15-16 overs,” Dhoni told the reporters at the post-match media conference.
“It becomes very difficult to make a strategy when you bat first. In any case defending 120 was a tough ask,” he said after India defeated South Africa by one-run in their last Super Eights game last night but still failed to qualify for the semi-finals.
Dhoni was curt in his reply when asked whether too many changes in the batting order had an effect on the team’s performance.
“No, I don’t think so,” he replied.
The skipper admitted that on flat tracks, his bowlers have found it difficult to deliver and that’s been the reason for the team’s repeated poor show in the last three editions of World T20.
“If one looks at the 2007 edition, we were playing in Durban which helped our seamers. Whatever total we put on, they were able to defend that. But when there is nothing in the wicket, they find it very difficult. That is the reason why I prefer a turning track or seaming track rather than flat tracks,” Dhoni said.
When the inevitable question of overhaul in the team and dropping a few seniors — Zaheer Khan and Virender Sehwag – was raised, Dhoni said: “This question is always asked when we don’t do well. When we lost in Australia and England, the similar question was asked. Let’s get real.
“We performed well in the tournament and we lost just one match. We don’t have bowlers who bowl 140 kmph plus,” Dhoni said.
The captain again defended his decision to come down the order in the batting line-up.
“Apart from Virender Sehwag, there are only two players who can hit right from the start. They are myself and Suresh Raina. Agreed that if we come up the order we can make an impact but if we get out by the 13th over, will the other batsmen who need a few balls to set be able to hit in the same manner.
“Also for the sake of this team, Virat Kohli needs to bat at No 3. The kind of form that he is in, we can’t let him face a few balls in the end,” Dhoni said.
“Our logic is simple. If we lose too many wickets in the powerplay overs, then Rohit goes in otherwise Yuvraj goes in and tries to play as many overs as possible,” he added.
Probe him about international captains having a shelf life, he gives a roundabout answer.
“I don’t like to look too far ahead. I am someone who loves living in the present and that is important. I would rather try to look at what solutions I can provide for the problems. We have problems regarding death bowling. We need a few 140 plus bowlers. We have a few but then we need to groom them properly as they have a tendency to get hit on flat tracks,” Dhoni said.
Dhoni once again defended Rohit Sharma, who has now played over 120 internationals across two formats but has failed to perform consistently with the bat.
“Rohit is a player who always plays for the team and doesn’t look at his average. There are times when he has to play five balls and he has played a big shot right away and got out. He could have played along the ground and kept his average intact but he has always played for the team,” he said.