Johannesburg, Jan 23: India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni is the perennial student of cricket. And he and his fellow batsmen have been subjected to quite a lesson in South Africa in light of their dismal performance at the crease (for the most part).
The skipper expressed disappointment that the line-up failed to fire as a unit in the five-match ODI series against South Africa, which concluded on Sunday with the Proteas squeezing out a 33-run win in the final one-dayer to clinch the series 3-2.
A dejected MS Dhoni said, "The learning before the World Cup is to keep wickets in hand for the last ten overs, the powerplay. It's a disappointing series for the batsmen. Bowlers were getting the wickets, and the runs too. Overall, we haven't performed as a batting unit."
And for once the batsmen didn't have the wicket to blame for their travails. The pace and bounce in it wasn't as intimidating as elsewhere on the tour. "It was a good wicket but unfortunately, we kept losing wickets. We got out playing shots," Dhoni said of Sunday's match.
The series was significant as it preceded the World Cup, to be held in the sub-continent next month. "It was a good learning before the experience, a good preparation, though, conditions will be different (in the sub-continent)," the India skipper said.
India were reeling at 119 for eight when Robin Petersen dismissed Piyush Chawla but staged a dramatic recovery through Yusuf Pathan's belligerent century and his 100-run partnership with Zaheer Khan. "Any target is small if he gets going," Dhoni said of the dasher.