Australia v India, CB Series, Adelaide February 12, 2012

Shouldn't have taken game to 50th over - Gambhir


Gautam Gambhir, who scored 92 runs in India's tight win against Australia, has said the match should never have got as close as it did. India needed 12 off the last four balls and Gambhir's captain, MS Dhoni, hit a massive six under pressure to help India cross the line. Gambhir had fallen at 4 for 178 in the 35th over, leaving India 92 to get in 15.5 overs. Dhoni started slowly, scoring 2 off the first 16 balls he faced, but as wickets fell around him, he stayed calm and delivered the six when it was needed.

"We should have finished this game in the 48th over," Gambhir said. "We shouldn't have taken the game to the 50th over, that's my personal observation. I know it's always easier to talk when you are in the dressing room, and it's always tough in the middle, but my personal observation is we shouldn't have let this game go into the last over. Obviously when you put yourself in that situation, someone has to pick his hand up and say, 'I want to finish this game'. It shouldn't have gone into the last over."

It was an interesting observation from Gambhir. Over the last few years, Dhoni has been India's best ODI batsman, especially when it comes to finishing games off. He has his method of doing things: he takes the game deep, and more often than not it pays off. Gambhir, however, feels otherwise. He said that perhaps Dhoni wanted someone else to take the responsibility of going for the final assault.

"I know it's easier said than done," Gambhir said. "It's always different. The pressure on players in the middle is far more. It's they who have to take that decision. It's their game plan. I don't know what was going through MS's mind, but maybe he wanted to delay it, maybe he wanted someone else to take that responsibility. Cometh the hour, I think the most important shot of the match was made by him. Six balls, 13 runs, with the kind of shot he played, he has done a fantastic job, he has always been a finisher, but that's his game plan. He wants to delay it.

"Someone like me, if I was there, I wouldn't have taken it to the last over, because I always feel that any runs in the last over is far more pressure than finishing one or two overs before. Even if you need five or six runs in the last over, the pressure is far more on the batting side. We are different human beings, we think differently, we have different gameplans."

Gambhir was asked if he was happy with the rotation policy, which has him sitting out every third game, and when India would start playing their best playing XI in this tournament. Gambhir said even tonight's side was the best XI, and that it was not about big names.

"To be honest, any [XI] - for me this is the best XI too," Gambhir said. "For me, the best XI is if 11 players have the belief they can beat any opposition on the park. And this playing XI had the belief that they could beat Australia in Australia and in this ODI. For me, one or two individuals don't make a difference. It's about 11 people who have the belief that they can beat any opposition on that given day.

"This XI had that belief that we can beat Australia today. For me this was the best playing XI. It's not about names, it's about people who can go out there and have that belief from No. 1 to No. 11. If they have the belief that 'yes, we can win this game', that's the best playing XI. You don't want names, you want people who can deliver. We have shown it, I think."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on February 15, 2012, 19:01 GMT

    @a1 bundy

    under sourav we didnt have a great squad like dhoni has like kohli,raina,rohit,fast bowlers like umesh.when there was ganguly we had below average players like kaif,dinesh mongia etc who were mere waste of places .in bowling zaheer was very inexperienced then

    by the way reaching world cup finals in south african pitches is wayy difficult then winning a world cup on indian pitches

    dhoni did a gud job .there is a saying "ganguly is the best indian captain and dhoni is the captain of best indian cricket team" thts the fact.

    ganguly may not be as tactical as dhoni but ganguly always gives his 100 % for india.he is a fighter.

    dhoni is cool and ganguly is aggressive.i like both especially after last 2 matches

    but dhoni shd be kicked out of test team asap .he is a walking wicket we can groom saha he is scoring hundreds in domestic matches.

  • Al on February 15, 2012, 13:14 GMT

    People criticizing Dhoni should go back and look where India was before he became the captain. He is the best captain India has had so far. He won the T20 World Cup and ODI World Cup and took us to #1 ranking in tests. He may not be a test quality batsman. For that matter, Saha seems to be a better test quality keeper. But Dhoni is the best thing when it comes to ODI and T20. Look at the records of Dravid and Tendulkar as captain. Only Dada is comparable - but even he could not win any World Cup for India

  • Vik on February 15, 2012, 1:17 GMT

    Gambhir would have been more accurate if he had said 44th over because then he would taken into acount other players' failures too - why base it on only Dhoni's?

  • Umapathy on February 13, 2012, 21:31 GMT

    Guys, Are you really talking about Dhoni. I never saw India winning world cup in my eyes until Dhoni become the captain. I read about it that we were champion @ 1983. This guy(DHONI) made it possible what ever not possible after 1983. This is the guy doing keeping, batting and winning the matches. Please go and look at his record of winning and what is his run rate on it. 104%. I appriciate every player in the field. But, Only one person could be the captain and you will never know about his job and responsibilities unless you become a leader atleast in any field. The pressure that you have on the field, management, media what not. Despite of everything, He won the game for us. Won the T20, World cup 2011 and top in both the ODI and Test. Which captain did this other than Dhoni??.You dont need to encourage, but atleast don't discourage.

  • Dummy4 on February 13, 2012, 18:35 GMT

    Who stopped him from finishing the game? They should kick Sehwag out in overseas series and get Rahane in. That will make perfect Xi. Pure arrogance and ingorance on part of GG. Gauti scored 92 in best cricket pitch and started talking nonsense again. he should be thankful that he still has place in this team.

    Stop whining and do the job. If not, after couple of serise, there will be somebody else in your place. Leave Dhoni alone, he cleaned up mess after yourself, Sehwag, Sharma after playing foolish shots.

  • Dummy4 on February 13, 2012, 18:11 GMT

    At least Gambhir is one bloake who tends to speak his mind out.

    Dhoni was hoping someone from the other end to play da attacker's role n finish off da game, n thats y da game went onto da ultimate over.

    After he realized that ashwin was going to blow it with his hit n miss approach, he refused the 2nd run to get strike n shifted his gear into overdrive mode. It wasn't intentional as if to become a hero or anything.

  • Sambasiva Rao on February 13, 2012, 12:43 GMT

    It was the worst game of Dhoni I have ever seen. No one can do that except Dhoni like head weight people. He want to win the match in last over by hitting 6s or 4s to become hero. He wanted'ly delayed to finish the match. If that ball doesn't go for six, all fans would have cried literally. You don't become hero when you struggle to take singles and a six, you will become another sixers bedade.

    Don't try to do it again for the sake of millions of Indian fans.

  • Dummy4 on February 13, 2012, 11:29 GMT

    i don't y ppl r making such a fuss abt tht best xi remark..... what did you want him to say??? that no, this wasn't the best xi.... that the young guys shouldn't be allowed a place in the side b'coz they don't have a gazillion runs to their names....

    i don't think this was the best xi either (sehwag should b dropped... plain nd simple)... but it's ridiculous tht everyone makes this huge hue nd cry when sachin's rested.... grow up, guys!! sachin's a very good batsman... nothing more nothing less....

  • Dummy4 on February 13, 2012, 10:26 GMT

    I appreciate Gambhir for this comments,atleast he has dare to tell to Dhoni what other feels about him.. 3rd Power play with Jadeja and only 18 runs they have managed. I have seen the tendency to win the game from Gambhir but not Dhoni. He should have finished the game earlier. I was a great fan of MS before but his approach to game has failed me to like me any more....

  • chandra mohan on February 13, 2012, 10:00 GMT

    Gautham Gambhir is talking very immature. He is really lucky to have his place retained after his recent slump in form. Everybody criticising Dhoni is unbearable. What wrong has he done? He is the only captain in the world who has brought the T20 world cup and 50 over world cup to India besides leading India to the No.1 status.

    Guys please turn back, look and realise what Dhoni is done for Indian cricket

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