Bangladesh v India, Asia Cup 2016, final, Mirpur March 6, 2016

'India losing a bigger headline than India winning'

ESPNcricinfo staff

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MS Dhoni on the Asia Cup final

MS Dhoni has said it was very important for India to not trip up in the final of the Asia Cup to hold the critics at bay, and to keep the team's momentum intact leading up to the World T20. The unit is a balanced one ahead of the showpiece event, he said, with the only question mark hanging over seamer Ashish Nehra who might have to make way for Mohammed Shami.

"India losing a final is a bigger headline than India winning a final," Dhoni said after sealing an eight-wicket win over Bangladesh in Mirpur with a six over midwicket. "It's like putting in a lot at stake: if you win then they say 'nothing really'; if you lose to Bangladesh, say people 'oh, you lost to Bangladesh?'

"You're supposed to win. It's like a game where a lot is at stake but when you win, you actually don't take anything forward."

However, Dhoni added, Bangladesh's recent top form at home - including a 2-1 ODI series victory over India in June 2015 - translated into this victory meaning a lot more. "Things have changed. It's not like the 2004 Bangladesh team. They have a fantastic squad right now. They have improved a lot, and that's what is showing in their performance on the field. So it was an important one to win."

"As far as staying in the present is concerned, it always helps. If you start thinking about what happened when the last time we were here… of course you feel hurt, but what's important is to forget all of that and concentrate on the present. You can't do much about the past, you can only take the learnings from the past and that's what we did today."

Dhoni said the focus now turned to the World T20 for his team, which is already "in the groove" for the tournament. "If you see the kind of performances that the team has given, they will carry a lot of confidence into the World T20. They know what has been really going well for them, what their strengths are."

While he is satisfied with how the XI is looking, Dhoni said, he is also still waiting to see how Shami's recovery progresses; Nehra has "done very well" for the team but might be replaced by Shami if the latter can get fit in time. Shami was initially part of the Asia Cup squad, but was ruled out of the tournament after it was found he had failed to fully recover from a hamstring injury that had kept him out of the limited-overs series in Australia in January.

"Whether Shami is fit or not, we'll see. He still has a bit of time," Dhoni said. "The only reason he was picked was because, he is someone who can deliver with the old and new ball, yorkers being his strength.

"I think it's very difficult to replace [Jasprit] Bumrah. He has the strength of bowling yorkers at will, and with the new ball also he has contributed. Nehra has also contributed. Few games ups and downs happen in T20. Hardik Pandya, he's a fast-bowling allrounder. If Jadeja or him can bat No. 8 and they can give me three or four overs, then it looks like a better balanced side.

"For Shami to replace [someone], it would be Ashish. Ashish is the only slot, but to replace Ashish would be very tough. The reason being he has done very well for us, he has moved the ball around. But Shami will have to prove his fitness in the warm-up games. If he does, he will stay ahead with the team."

Nehra was India's joint second-highest wicket-taker at the Asia Cup, with six wickets at an average of 16.50. He was the most expensive of their specialist bowlers though, conceding 7.07 runs per over, with his poorest returns coming in the final where he took 1 for 33 in his three overs.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ashok on March 8, 2016, 16:40 GMT

    India should have played B.Kumar after his 4-2-8-2 performance in the previous match. It is a fact that the BD pitches have been "tailor made" for the pace bowler based on all matches played. Not including Bhuvi enabled Mohamudullah to smash Nehra & Pandya. If it was Bhuvi & Bumrah in "death overs" , it would have saved India at least 20 runs. Bhuvi can swing & seam the ball just as well as Nehra does but more accurately & at 135 KPH instead of 125 KPH. Surely, on pace bowlers wkt. India do not need 4 spinners! So Jadeja was replaceable on this pitch with Kumar. Fortunately Dhoni compensated for that mistake with his great innings of 20 in 6 balls. But it is a lesson for Dhoni & India to select right players to suit- Not just the same XI! I still feel a "Fit Kumar" is the most economical pace bowler in this Squad (& Ashwin in spinners) on any pitch. In T20 Economical bowler is #1 choice & requirement!

  • Sam on March 8, 2016, 7:57 GMT

    What is wrong with this guy.? When you are the captain of a top cricket team, you will face more scrutiny when you lose matches. That is the case with all the top performing teams in the world. Even during their glory days, Australia lost some series and they faced the music. Ponting did not complain about that. And Dhoni cannot be treated differently if he doesn't like it.

  • TR on March 7, 2016, 22:46 GMT

    @COLLINRM, agree with your comments. Even against weak AsiaCup teams, this Ind team success was only 1.5 batsmen (Kholi=1 & RSharma=0.5) and about 2 bowlers (Bumrah=1, Ashwin=1). India's bowling was not at all tested in Asia cup, because the oppositions did not have any power hitters like Maxwell, Warner, ABD, DMiller, Gayle, etc. People who watched the recent Aus/NZ series would know the fielding of Aus. EVERY throw they attempt at the stumps HITS the stumps!! India's greatest Jadeja though fields & throws well, hits the stumps once in 10 times may be. Even in Asiacup India missed the stumps almost EVERY TIME and missed runouts.

    Cricket-knowledgeable crowd knows the level difference of individual players. Doesn't matter how the Indian commentators keep prasing the Indians sky-high.

    If India wins it can be ONLY due to spin bowling - which the big players are weak against - but even that weakness, they have been working on as we speak.

  • ashok on March 7, 2016, 19:32 GMT

    For WCT20 - The only threat to India at the moment is South Africa. All other teams don't play to their talent in the sub continent and subcontinental teams are struggling at the moment other than India. expecting a SA Vs Ind final !

  • IndTheBest on March 7, 2016, 17:28 GMT

    Dhoni's comments is being misread. Both Nehra and Shami are in the WT20 squad. Dhoni is talking about including Shami over nehra in playing XI. At this time Nehra can't be dropped from the team. Both Shami and nehra will remain in the team unless someone is not fully fit and needed their replcement. Nehra is performed really well during the Asia cup so it would be difficult for Shami to replace him in playing XI. Since the tournament is happening in India, Dhoni would know who would be more effective in India pitches. Someone did mention about replacing B Kumar with Shami, but B Kumar is not in the WT20 team so there is no point replacing him. Team combination (read playing XI) can be changed match by match based on the player's form, over all balance, opposition and pitches so no need to sweat too much on Dhoni's statement. Congratulations, team India on winning the world cup.

  • karthik on March 7, 2016, 17:04 GMT

    Nehra has always given break throughs which has helped Bumrah and Pandya and the spinners. Hope that counts to something

  • ANAND on March 7, 2016, 16:48 GMT

    Any ideas on who can replace Virat Kohli? Seems like a lot of people here have instant replacements for everyone, that too at this point of time when the World T20 is about to start. [sarcastic]

  • Rajarajan on March 7, 2016, 15:51 GMT

    I absolutely would feel bad for Nehra but of course the reality is Shami has to play. It is just unfortunate situation with nobody is at fault. Nehra is the biggest come back story for any fast bowling world out there and that has to be respected, appreciated and rewarded. With respect to Yuvraj Singh, I liked his last few games but I feel he is holing Manish Pandey's spot unfairly.

  • KUMARAVEL on March 7, 2016, 14:17 GMT

    Indians are on a roll but the group of death beckons. Kiwis, Aussies, and Pakistan boast of few maverick players who can change a game on their own.

  • Matthew on March 7, 2016, 13:45 GMT

    Dhoni said the focus now turned to the World T20 for his team, which is already "in the groove" for the tournament. "If you see the kind of performances that the team has given, they will carry a lot of confidence into the World T20. They know what has been really going well for them, what their strengths are." Quite, I mean it is quite 'convenient' that India and the rest of the subcontinental sides have taken part in a serious competition on the eve of another major international tournament taking place in the same part of the world. The rest of the world's sides are either undercooked or playing each other outside of the subcontinent. Fair play to India and MS Dhoni although there shouldn't be any excuses if they get cleaned up by Australia or South Africa in the knockout stages of the T20.

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