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'India lacked self-confidence'
Sanjay Manjrekar analyses India's disappointing campaign (07:02)
May 11, 2010
Sri Lanka v India, Group F, World T20, Super Eights, St Lucia
'India lacked self-confidence'May 11, 2010
Akhila Ranganna: Hello and welcome to Cricinfo Talk. Joining me is Sanjay Manjrekar to look back at India's campaign in the ICC World Twenty20 that has just come to an end.
An extremely disappointing campaign - bar the win over South Africa- for India comes to an end; it's not just that they have been eliminated, but the manner of defeats is what will rankle. And as MS Dhoni said it was India's biggest strength-the batting - that was most under the scanner…
Sanjay Manjrekar Yes. Historically India's bowling has been weak and coming into this tournament our bowling attack looked weak and the batting was going to be our strength. But towards the final stages of the Sri Lankan game there were a few other facets of the Indian team that seemed a little below average. Obviously you had a nightmare of a week with the batting at the Kensington Oval but their running between the wickets was exposed in St Lucia, as well as well and their bowling in the death and also their fielding inside the circle while saving the singles. So towards the end I thought India looked a pretty ordinary team and if they are honest with themselves, then they would realise that this team, given the way it was playing, didn't deserve to be in the last four.
AR: Looking at this game, it was expected that the less-quicker pitches in St Lucia would suit the Indian batsmen more as compared to Barbados, but after the first 10 overs, they really struggled for momentum; in the back 10 they scored just 73 runs…
SM: This pitch was obviously more suitable for India's batsmen but the problem was the confidence. We rely a lot on self-confidence and we are temperamental people and coming into this game, there were quite a few people struggling with self-confidence, struggling with believing they can do it in this game. Gautam Gambhir is going through bit of a rough patch, Dinesh Karthik was coming in, in place of Murali Vijay; MS Dhoni didn't get quite enough batting in this tournament, Yuvraj Singh has been slightly off-colour and Yusuf Pathan has not really exploded as often as one would like at the international level. So even when you get a situation where things are in your favour your confidence as a team and an individual comes into play. So even if you get conditions that are conducive, the team has taken a bit of a beating as far as the confidence is concerned. It's the way they lost.
AR: India's team selection has been under the scanner - going for the extra batsman in Barbados; going spin-heavy on the faster tracks…strategically do you think they got their approach wrong?
SM: I am reluctant to criticise team selection. Dhoni has this kind of an approach and this has been one of the secrets of his successes. There seems to be a cricketing logic to having spinners even at the Kensington Oval. India doesn't have great fast-bowling reserves; Vinay Kumar was in the squad and if we had people like Dirk Nannes, Shaun Tait and Mitchell Johnson, Dhoni would have gone with three seamers. He is looking at what he has got in the team and then looking at the opposition. He has discovered his Indian spinners are able to make more of an impression on the opposition than the seamers. That is perhaps why he went with a spin-heavy attack on the bouncy pitches and I will not be too critical of the team selection.
The problem was with the execution when the composition was made. It was really about how well they played rather than who played.
AR: The continuing problems against the short ball will be a worry...its one thing struggling against the pace of Tait, Nannes and Johnson, but the problems persisted against the Darren Sammy and Dwayne Bravo who are not that quick as compared to the Aussie trio. They have still not been able to fix a problem that les to their exit last year in England…
SM: This is an area where Gary Kirsten really needs to be taking the initiative. He needs the support from the BCCI. To be fair to the Indian batsmen the Kensington Oval had extra bounce; it was a bit like Perth. But then if you are looking to become the best team in the world you cannot be embarrassed on these surfaces. It is up to Kirsten to take charge of the boys who have shown poor technique against the fast, rising deliveries and the BCCI through the NCA should lend a helping hand because these flaws have to be ironed out. India play Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka soon and these weaknesses will not surface in those conditions. But they have to be smarter and know that these flaws will have to be permanently ironed out and the only way that can happen is growing back to the drawing board and the basics. I think the batsmen should spend more time at the NCA rather than playing first-class or club level games. They should purely look to find their own way of tackling the short deliveries better.
AR: India failed to get all three departments of the game going together - do you think this was a tired team coming into the tournament? It appeared they were lacking in intensity; in this game against Sri Lanka they seemed to have lost the fight well before they lost the game...
SM: It is only natural for people to say that the IPL tired the Indian players and once again after an IPL season India hasn't played well in an IPL tournament. The two critical games that India lost against Australia and West Indies were purely because the top-order batsmen couldn't cop with the short deliveries. That cannot be attributed to the IPL. It is a technical weakness they have. The IPL could have been a contributing factor but I think this performance has to do with the basics of some of the top-order batsmen. Had those two matches been played at St Lucia after the South African win then things would have been different. I would not hold the IPL as responsible as some of the technical frailties of the top-order batsmen have remained unaddressed.
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