India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni blamed the injuries and niggles being the reason for his team’s poor show in the tri-nation cricket tournament where they failed to reach the final after losing three out of the four league matches with a game being abandoned.
“To carry momentum into the World Cup is very crucial but more importantly we need all the 15 guys in the squad to be fit. In this tournament not all were fit,” Dhoni tried to reason his team’s winless end to the two-month Australian tour at the post-match media conference.
Dhoni said that it is important that all squad members get some kind of match time under their belt ahead of World Cup which starts in two weeks’ time.
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“Getting into a tournament like the World Cup, it’s important that all of them have some kind of games behind them. Now in the coming warm-up games also, we will try to give as many people chances as possible so that we get a look at what the conditions they may face and what the opposition is,” said Dhoni post the defeat.
India were laid low by another niggle to Ishant Sharma who was fit a day prior to the game, but pulled up sore in his left knee, again, just a few hours away from the match.
“He bowled in the nets, and after that he had a sore knee because of the nets session. This came to our notice in the evening but it was too late for us to do anything. So we didn’t want to push him because if there is a niggle, it may turn into an injury,” the skipper said.
Shikhar Dhawan failed to convert the start he got but his skipper sounded positive about the Delhi left-hander getting some sort of score after a long barren patch at the top.
“It is important that all your guys are in decent kind of form. Now with this game, he (Dhawan) will certainly take a lot of positives out of it because there was a bit of assistance for the fast bowlers and it was not an easy wicket to bat on initially. I felt he did good and the next step will be to capitalise on the kind of start he got,” Dhoni said.
“It will be important for most of us to capitalise on starts, have wickets in hand and look to exploit because the middle-order batting will be crucial. We might not get 100-120 runs in the last 10 overs every time, we might be restricted to just 80-odd,” Dhoni said with a note of caution.
Dhoni admitted that lack of genuine all-rounder puts an additional pressure on bowling unit as it is impossible for him to play with five specialist bowlers.
“It just puts that added pressure on the bowling line-up because frankly we can’t really afford to play with three fast bowlers and two spinners because our batting becomes just too light for it.
“If you lose the toss and you are batting on a surface that assists the fast bowlers and lose a couple of wickets, then you are just doing the catching up job. If you see the good side of this attack, we bat quite deep. Binny and Ravindra Jadeja can bat and even Axar Patel can bat, we all know,” he defended the Gujarat youngster, who hadn’t fired with the bat at all.
With this defeat, save England, Dhoni’s team has failed to win a single ODI in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia but he is up for the challenge.
“You may say it is a bit of pattern, which we need to change to some extent. And we should be able to do that with this break over here and a bit more time to think about the game. I think the guys will come back strong for the World Cup,” said Dhoni.
“I think from the confidence point of view we are quite good. Because again we try to give more emphasis on what needs to be done as to proper planning and executing. We have been in this situation and know how exactly it feels and how to overcome that feeling.
“We were able to overcome that in the England series when we came back strongly. It’s something the boys know how to get out of. It’s a bit of a challenge because it has been a long tour so far. But with this break now – six to 10 days – will help us,” he concluded.