No one will be as disappointed as Yuvraj himself - Dhoni
It was to be expected that MS Dhoni would be asked mostly about Yuvraj Singh after India's defeat in the World T20 final. Yuvraj made 11 off 21 as India never built any momentum in the middle overs to manage a below-par 130 for 4, which Sri Lanka chased down with 2.1 overs and six wickets to spare.
Did Dhoni send out any instruction to Yuvraj seeing him scratch around in the middle? "The thing is he was trying. That is the most you can do," Dhoni replied. Did Yuvraj's knock rob India of the impetus they so desperately needed at that stage? "It's a team thing, let's not talk about individuals."
When asked how disappointing it was for fans that a player of the calibre and experience of Yuvraj was not able to click, Dhoni said no one would be more gutted than the man himself tonight. "I can tell you one thing, you talk about the anger of the fans and all, you know it's always the individual who is more disappointed than the fans," Dhoni said. "As a player you go through more because you have your expectations and everything else. So I think that's not the statement you should talk about. Yes, fans get angry but you should also think about the individual.
"Nobody wants to really play bad cricket. In front of 40,000 people you don't really want to drop a catch or misfield. It's part and parcel of the game. And we have seen it happen to some of the international athletes, not just cricketers. Let's get rid of it. Yuvi tried his best, it was an off day for him, at the same time it is not easy for a batsman to go out there and start slogging."
Dhoni said that because Yuvraj, like most India batsman, was one who took some time to get going. They had batted him at No. 4 ahead of Suresh Raina and Dhoni himself. "We only have one - somebody like Suresh Raina who can go in and really start hitting from the very first ball. Most of the other batsmen like to spend a bit of time and then play the big shots. That's the reason why we want Yuvi at 4 and then Suresh Raina at 5. And also this game what happened is, two right-handers were batting at that point of time [Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli]. So you wanted a left-right combination to make it difficult for the bowlers to execute their plans. And that was the reason why we had Yuvi at 4. After that we wanted to keep a left-right combination. But the last two overs, I said let me go [ahead of Raina] and try something."
Yuvraj has lost his place in the India Test and ODI sides. In the World T20, he made 100 runs in five innings at a strike-rate of 98.03. Sixty of those 100 came in a largely inconsequential group game against Australia, when India had already qualified for the semi-finals following three successive wins. When questioned how long India would be able to retain Yuvraj in the shortest format, Dhoni said now was the not the time to speak about selection-related matters.
"Today is a big day, so let's not talk about selection because, effectively our season ends today. Now we go into the domestic cricket with the IPL. So let's not talk about selection as of now, we'll see when it comes."
Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo