West Indies v India, 2nd Test, Bridgetown, 5th day July 2, 2011

No reason to be frustrated - Dhoni


India needed three West Indian wickets in about 11 overs when bad light forced the Barbados Test to be abandoned. The loss of Darren Bravo and Darren Sammy in quick succession, gave India the advantage at that late stage, but they couldn't press on because of the conditions. MS Dhoni has said that he would have loved to have had those extra overs, but his team weren't too disappointed that they couldn't force a result. "We are not disappointed, because it [the draw] happened due to things that are beyond our control, like rain and bad light," he said. "We wanted to bowl around 80 overs, but unfortunately we were not able to do so. But we tried our best, so there's no reason to be frustrated."

The game could have meandered towards a dull draw if Dhoni hadn't declared in the morning. He is not known for generous third-innings declarations: his previous declarations have set oppositions targets of 516, 403 and 617. So why did he choose to declare today at that stage? "It is a difficult target to achieve, if you are batting for around 80 overs to get around 280 runs," Dhoni said. "The outfield was also very slow, so we thought that was a good enough target and that's why we declared.

"You will not know how much rain you going to get during the course of the game, so we thought 80 overs are enough to bowl the opposition out. We started with an attacking field straightway, and that's why they got a few boundaries initially. That's why we thought of 280 and didn't declare at 240, so that we can have close-in fielders for those extra five-six overs."

West Indies lost three quick wickets at the start, before they rallied through a 54-run partnership between Darren Bravo and Shivnarine Chanderpaul, and then a 69-run stand between Bravo and Carlton Baugh. At one stage, West Indies needed 100 runs from 18.3 overs when rain intervened. Was Dhoni worried then? "It was pretty balanced then. They were five down, and we needed just two more wickets. We got them towards the end, and from that point it would have been difficult for them to get 70-80 runs. So the declaration was a right decision."

Dhoni had words of praise for Ishant Sharma who made that declaration look really good with a four-wicket haul. "Right from IPL, Ishant has been bowling well. If you look at his performance in the IPL, he was doing everything right - like the seam position - and he has been pitching the ball in the right areas, that's why he's able to get pace and bounce. The time he spent with Zaheer Khan has been very useful for him, because Zaheer has shared his experience with him."

On a day where India pushed hard for a series victory, some youngsters learnt that they were dropped from the squad that will begin to tour England later this month. That couldn't have been easy situation to handle for the captain, in the middle of a Test… "That's a difficult one, because we need to interact with the players to see what's happening with them and make sure they are not bogged down," Dhoni said. "Selection is really not in their hands. But they [those who are dropped] need to take positives out of a series or match, and go back and work on their game."

Sriram Veera is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • V.L on July 5, 2011, 11:06 GMT

    @Godfrey Pieters If not for the rain, India would have played calmly and declared at 400 as Dhoni usually does and as always WI would struggle to get to 250. Mark my words, if there's no rain in Roseau, even god can't save WI!

  • yogi on July 5, 2011, 10:00 GMT

    thank you god almighty, some of these crazies who are bashing dravid, without knowing an iota of what cricket is all about, more so being ignorant of the selfless attitude of dravid, unlike his more famous (selfish) collegeues, are not blaming him for the rain that caused the draw.

  • Dummy4 on July 5, 2011, 2:09 GMT

    @RaviDarira : I am not asking to change professions just saying each player has a role in the team, and Dravids is to play anchor. Regarding ODI's and test matches, they are two completely different arenas. There is a reason why test matches are played over 5 days. They TEST each player, and any weakness in his batting or bowling will be exposed, unlike in ODI or 20/20. You are asking for a win, in 3 days of playing test cricket, a bit much dont u think?

    Before making such comments take into account the conditions, which was a slow and muggy outfield, and finally look at the strike rate of other batsmen in the same innings (which for you is more important than scoring runs) Virat Kholi M Vijay and even the Great MS Dhoni had a lower strike rate than Dravid, while scoring less runs than him. All three of them faced 90 balls in the first innings and 142 balls in the second innings. Hope this gives you a better understanding, much easier with numbers/stats :)

  • Dummy4 on July 5, 2011, 0:57 GMT

    @kumarcoolbuddy,Will stand by my comments. Before the rains came it was advantage WI. Shiv's innings was down right negative and not match saving as u call it. The req'd RR to win the match was 3.38. IT was too early in .the piece to close up shop. That was playing with danger.Shiv is 2 much a skillful & experience batter to score at .85 runs/ov. When BAUGH & BRAVO were batting before the rains came many WI fans felt we had a chance to win. Baugh's positive approach was a concern to the INDIANS. Shiv will have to come real good in the final test to save his place in the WI team. U R the expert.

  • kumar on July 4, 2011, 20:23 GMT

    @Godfrey Pieters, it doesn't harsh but shows ur ignorance of cricket. WI team would also laugh when u said SHIV and rain saved India from defeat. SHIV was the player who was trying his best to draw the match when INDIA was in winning position. And rain has nothing to do with last 2 wickets loss of WI. INDIA was almost winning the match and sudden bad light was real unfortunate for INDIA.

  • Raman on July 4, 2011, 16:38 GMT

    It is apparent that Harbajan Singh-s performance and bowling have alarmingly dipped.His sporadic success in batting has made him lose sight of the important fact that his presence is more as a strike bowler. His body language on the field is always sloppy. It will be good to rest him for a series or two and blood in new players like Ashwin or Abdullah

  • Dummy4 on July 4, 2011, 15:44 GMT

    @Dhruv Makkad : so asking a batsman with 10k runs, so called great batsman to play a little faster "LITTLE FASTER" not at a strike rate of 100, just about 50 like VVS iis asking him to change his profession? and to your what ifs, i have heard that before in the ODIs as well when he use to play slow after 1 wicket because 'what if' another wicket falls, thats a negative mindset, which does not get you a win. I can bet if he played in the wc finals we would have lost because after sehwags wicket he would have held up one end, but the asking rate woud hav been out of control...this has happened many times, glad it only happens in test matches now...

  • Crazy on July 4, 2011, 15:01 GMT

    get rid of Harbhajan..he is the weakest player in the team..he talks tooo much but when it comes to performance in ground he is the last person...when was the last time India won a test match bcoz of Harbhajan????

  • Dummy4 on July 4, 2011, 14:04 GMT

    Dravid has failed miserably for the last 5 years in Test (please don't reply with his only knock against lowly WI). He is the most over rated sportsman ever, still there are people who support him and some even compare him to Sachin. All he tries to do is get his runs and not think about team's need. Even if he realizes the teams needs he is incapable of really doing anything beneficial. All his supporters point out that his batting (or lack of) allows other players to score? Why do you supporters think he was thrown out of the ODI? He has a history of not playing according to the situation. I hope he is dropped!

  • kumar on July 4, 2011, 12:55 GMT

    Some ppl say Dravid, Laxman are selfish. Some other say Dhoni shudn't have declared so early. Some more ppl say India wud have lost if rain had not interrupted the match. These are all funny comments from ppl without any knowledge of cricket and who just want to win their country sitting on other side of TV. Especially ppl who say Dravid and Laxman are selfish. Remember this is test match and playing in WI. They are trying their best to make their home pitches as bouncy as possible to suit their bowling conditions.

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