Australia’s World Cup winning captain Steve Waugh came to MS Dhoni’s support, calling him a ‘genius in one-day cricket’ after India saw a surprise elimination in the semifinals at the hands of New Zealand on Wednesday.
Trusting him with what he is doing, Waugh was quoted by the week as saying, “Look, the guy has been a genius in one-day cricket. Again, the other day, until the run-out, he may have won the game again. You have to remember if he wasn’t such a good player, you wouldn’t be doubting what’s he doing.”
“Till he is there, he gives you opportunities (to win). The amount of time he has got India across the line has been amazing. Sure he’s bit slow, but I’ll still trust him with what he is doing,” he added.
With India getting knocked out of the tournament, Waugh said, “I think it was a big surprise for you guys than for me! Did he make any tactical errors—no. New Zealand played really well. Jimmy Neesham’s brilliant catch and Guptill’s run-out—World Cup matches are sometimes won on fielding expertise.”
“Credit should be given to [Kane] Williamson and [Ross] Taylor. They got a lot of criticism for batting too slowly, but they summed up the conditions really well. To win the World Cup, you have got to be really street-smart and that’s what they did. They could have gone hard early the way Australia and India did and lost early wickets, but New Zealand had a game plan that gave them a chance to win, so I think (it was) not so much negative for Kohli but positive for New Zealand,” he added.
Kohli had suggested earlier to have IPL-type play-offs to decide the World Cup winner. However, Waugh feels that the current format is good. “Maybe, the suggestion comes from India after their defeat in the semifinal! Everyone knows the rules before we play. The current format is good. The World Cup is all about performing under pressure. I think one more game would drag the schedule,” he said.
Waugh said that what surprised him more than Australia’s elimination was the margin of loss to England. “It’s called cricket, mate. Someone’s going to win, someone’s going to lose. England were too good. Someone’s got to put up their hand and say, “opposition was too good.” And it’s surprising. The first semifinal was a surprise. And in the second, the margin of victory was also surprising.”