Dhoni defends team-mates after humiliating loss

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Published: Monday, February 20, 2012, 13:51 [IST]
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Dhoni backs team after Brisbane loss

Brisbane, Feb 20: Indian skipper MS Dhoni has said, hosts outplayed India in the tri-series ODI on Sunday and defended the team by stating the reasons for failure against Australia in Brisbane.

Team India, which fielded at its best in the previous ODIs of the series, suddenly dropped its standards in the match against Australia on Sunday but skipper feels that, the team still has the best fielding side, as dropped catches are quite common in ODIs, and is hopeful that the team doesn't continue to floor catches in the remaining matches of the tri-series.

"This is the best fielding side we have got, there were a few catches which were dropped, but it happens in cricket. It was a phase, we dropped a few catches, hopefully we wouldn't do in whatever games we are left to play in," Dhoni said.

"In the last 10 overs, the bowlers felt the heat right from the second powerplay. When you see your best fast bowler battling through cramps, that was the reason I bowled Zaheer (Khan) through. I didn't want to lose any overs from him and kept Vinay Kumar for the last few overs. He also felt the cramps," he added.

India conceded 101 runs in the last 10 overs to allow Australia to set a target of 289.

"The last 10 overs, they batted really well, our bowlers were not able to execute the way they could have if they were not battling cramps or the heat. It was hot out there. You are supposed to go through that phase, but I felt they found it difficult."

"It's not that everybody wasn't hydrated. But there was no breeze here and it becomes very hot. Once you put pressure on the fielders, they have to put it on their body, not let batsmen score doubles off them. It's very demanding and we see fielders get cramps." Dhoni said. He did not use Ravindra Jadeja during Australian innings, which was noticeable.

"I didn't want to bowl Jadeja when the left-handers were there. If you see, (Matthew) Wade was settled once (David) Warner got out. I thought I was better off using an off-spinner and Raina bowled really well. Then (Michael) Hussey came in and got settled. I was happy to bowl through Raina. There was no real reason to bowl Jadeja through just because he is there. If there was one more right-hander, I might have used him," Dhoni explained.

Dhoni also stressed that losing wickets at regular intervals was the reason for defeat on Sunday.

He also said that the team needed a brisk start after conceding 288 runs, and early breakthroughs added pressure on the batsmen as Team India were bundled out for 178 to slump to another humiliating loss in the series.

Asked about the continuous failure of India's big guns, Dhoni said," It happens. The two new balls make it a bit difficult, so you have to respect that early on. It gets a bit easier to hit in the middle overs. You have to plan well."

Raina, who has not really fired in the series, got some support from the skipper as he said, playing at number six is quite difficult and Raina is the best to suit that position.

"If I need number six, Raina is someone who suits the slot more than Rohit (Sharma) because he has more experience at that number. It's difficult to perform and someone who has played there should be given that extra liberty because he knows how to play at number six," Dhoni said.

He also stressed on the fact that India is not only concerned about winning the tournament but the onus is on giving exposure to the youngsters.

"It should be both. You want to do well. You can always say the opposition played well, but at the end of the day you feel bad if you are not winning. We would like to get a bit of both, we need to get into the finals first. Then it's a three-match series."

"The youngsters will be coming here again and again, maybe for the next World Cup also. They also need to know how to play in these conditions against an attack which is world-class."

Though India has the best players in the world, the team is not able to adapt to the conditions well, which coupled with a few basic errors has resulted in a humiliating loss.

India would ensure that they are successful in their mission of giving exposure to the youngsters and also ensure that Team India emerge victorious in the tri-series.


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