Millennium Post

Rusty India get the blues

Rusty India get the blues
MS Dhoni's ‘tactical errors’ and the poor form of some senior players were the main reasons for India's early exit from the World Twenty20, according to former cricketers who said that there was no need for making drastic changes in the team despite the debacle.

While Dhoni came under fire for some of his ‘tactical blunders,’ some former cricketers like Sunil Gavaskar were not in favour of changing the captain or making too many changes in the team. India failed to qualify for the semifinals of World Twenty20 on net run rate and former cricketers said the team's repeated failures in this format should be analysed and corrective measures should be taken.

Former Indian captains like Gavaskar, Anil Kumble and Ajit Wadekar and a host of other ex-cricketers felt that a combination of factors led to India's ouster from the World T20. Some of Dhoni's decisions also evoked criticism from the former players.

‘Indian cricket is now at the crossroads. We have not been able to do well in the two shorter formats which we have dominated. We won the World Twenty20 in 2007 and then won the longer 50-over World Cup last year. After that we have been struggling. This is something we have to look into. We have to put our heads together and find out why this has been happening,’ Gavaskar said.

‘I am not saying that there should be an inquiry or a report being sought from the coach. I am also not saying that heads will have to be rolled and there is need for change of captaincy. Absolutely, there is no need for all these things,’ he added.

Former India opener Chetan Chauhan said that Dhoni had to take responsibility for the team's failure and also felt that pacer Zaheer Khan should not play for India in T20 cricket. ‘I would not blame him alone, I would blame the entire team. A captain is as good as the team. If you don't perform, a captain could not do anything. Unfortunately, they did not perform there,’ Chauhan said.

Former captain Anil Kumble was at a loss or words as to why Dhoni brought in R Ashwin late in the South African run chase when India needed to restrict them within 122 runs. Kumble also agreed that one of the main reasons for India's debacle was the poor form of the top-order batsmen.

‘Out of five top batsmen, you expect one to fire and make impact, score a 18-ball 50 but it did not happen.Expectation on Virat were huge and he did live up to those. But Virender Sehwag was not in form. You want your top four to fire in T20 format and when three out of your four top batsmen are not in great always trying to settle in then get big score, it does not work,’ said Kumble.

 Former batsman Anshuman Gaekwad said that the failure of the bowlers, except for spinner R Ashwin, and the top-order batsmen were the two main reasons for India's debacle.

‘Bowling was not up to the mark, that was the number one reason. Ashwin bowled well but with four-bowler strategy, we expected all of them to contribute. Second, the openers did not get us the desired start. In most of the games, we did not get to good starts,’ he said. The former India coach refused to blame Dhoni while also not in favour of making too many changes in the team. ‘Why blame the captain? What can a captain do if his bowlers and batters don't do well?’ he asked.

‘Chopping and changing after a poor tournament is not the solution. If we decide to remove our openers then who would be their replacements. It's the same cricketers who have performed well. It's difficult to understand why the same players do so well in IPL but they flopped so miserably in the World Twenty20,’ he said.

Former opener Arun Lal said that India had a ‘terrific side that promised to go all the way but one bad match did the damage.’ Former captain Chandu Borde attributed India's ouster to lady luck and also refused to blame Dhoni for this. ‘T20 is a format where you can't say much. It was bad luck that we were knocked out. I don't want to be critical of Dhoni as I believe he opted for one spinner on the basis of the wicket,’ he said.

Former stumper Kiran More agreed that bad luck played a part in India's ouster. ‘We had one bad match and it was all over. It's very difficult to predict the outcome of a T20 match. It was pure bad luck. There is no ifs and buts. Every team is struggling in this format,’ he said.
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