Aftermath of India's exit June 15, 2009

Teams have worked India out - Rajput

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  • Erapalli Prasanna: "In a crucial tie like this, Dhoni shouldn't have put England in after winning the toss, it was a mistake. I don't think our batting order was right. Sending Jadeja ahead of Yuvraj and Dhoni himself was a mistake. Even Harbhajan could have given us the required thrust. We had the potential but the failure to handle pressure was the reason for our loss."
  • Syed Kirmani: "You have the talent and you are rated as favourites but this is what happens when you don't click. Sehwag's absence dented our prospects. In this format, the opening pair is required to give a good foundation for others to carry on but we didn't get that."
  • Arun Lal: "Sending Jadeja up the order smacked of overconfidence and defensiveness."
  • Madan Lal: "It is rather unfortunate: 154 was not a difficult target to chase. Dhoni gambled by putting England in first. Even I would have done that. Ours is a young and talented side but the intensity in performance that was expected from a team playing for India was not there."
  • VB Chandrashekhar: "Dhoni's strategy to make England bat first was wrong and picking Jadeja in place of Ojha was yet another mistake. I also feel Harbhajan Singh did not give his best in the match. The decision to send Jadeja up the order ahead of Yuvraj was also baffling because he had not played in the tournament. I think we were also over-dependent on Yuvraj. My analysis is that we would have been eliminated much earlier had he not performed."
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India will have to quickly come up with a new Twenty20 gameplan, particularly against the rising ball, to stay in the top bracket of the game's shortest format, Lalchand Rajput, who coached the 2007 cup-winning side, has warned. Rajput said the biggest difference between then and now is that other teams had caught up with India over the last two years, largely due to the experience their players have gained in the two IPL seasons since then.

Rajput described India's knockout from the ICC World Twenty20 on Sunday as "disheartening" and said the two straight defeats against West Indies and England in the Super Eights stage had "hurt a lot" personally. He also said that talk of a rift between Dhoni and an injured Virender Sehwag appeared to have affected the players and added that Sehwag's loss impacted the team's performance.

"Most of the teams have worked out what they need to do against India," Rajput told Cricinfo. "Just look at how West Indies and England worked on their bouncers against India. They did that very well because they knew that some of our players were not comfortable against the bouncing ball. They used that weapon very well, which is difficult to do in this format. So we should give credit to England and West Indies. Most of the foreign players in World Twenty20 have also played two seasons of IPL. So all the other teams have got a hang of Twenty20, and there's better planning in place this time on what should be done and what should not be. India will have to be watchful now and come up with something different."

Talk of a rift within the team did not help matters either, Rajput said. "Such issues play a bit of a role in the minds of the players," he said. "This time, to start with, there was talk of a rift between Viru [Sehwag] and Dhoni. Then the team got together to show their strength in front of the media. The media also had a role to play. These things were also causes for the team's performance."

Dhoni had lined up the entire team before the Indian media during a pre-tournament press conference following reports over a rift between the captain and his opening batsman. The reports suggested the captain was upset with Sehwag for not revealing the extent of his shoulder injury that finally ruled him out of the tournament - Dhoni has repeatedly denied this.

Sehwag's absence was a huge blow, Rajput said. "Sehwag's absence was definitely felt because he is a match-winner," he said. "He is a destroyer of bowling attacks. Once he gets going, the bowling looks so easy, and he puts so much pressure on the opposite team. His absence must have hurt the team."

Rajput, however, dismissed suggestions that mental fatigue and pressure might have contributed to the team's dismal performance. Gary Kirsten, the team's coach, and Dilip Vengsarkar, the former chief selector, had admitted last month that they were concerned about "mental fatigue" and "overkill" as the team had been on the road since February 20 when they left for the New Zealand tour followed by the IPL. "There will always be pressure, especially during a big event like the World Cup," Rajput said. "This time the expectations were very high. But we should not forget that the other teams have also come up very well. The fatigue factor has been the same for all teams because most of their players played in the IPL, except for the Australians."

Asked about Sunday's loss, India's second straight defeat in the Super Eights, Rajput said that not playing Yuvraj Singh at No. 4 was a mistake, especially after he had scored 67 off 43 balls in that position against West Indies on Friday.

"Decisions are analysed only after the team has done badly," he said. "But I would have preferred Yuvraj coming in at No. 4. That would have made a difference because he was in really good nick in the last game [against West Indies]. Of course, this is all in hindsight. But Ravindra Jadeja took a number of balls [25 off 35 balls] against England while Yuvraj could have done better and got going by then."

According to Rajput, the first step for India now is to beat South Africa, which has been the best team in the tournament so far. "The loss is past, and the team has to think about the present," Rajput said. "The team now has to focus on beating South Africa and salvage their pride. Remember, that we beat South Africa in the second stage of the 2007 World Cup. When you are out of a tournament, the body language goes down because they know that they can't qualify for the semi-finals. So this is the time they have to raise their body language, and start believing that they can beat the best team in the tournament, which is South Africa."

Rajput was India's coach for nearly a year from the England tour of 2007 till the Australia tour that ended with the VB series win in early 2008. He bridged the gap after the controversial exit of Greg Chappell in April 2007 and the arrival of Gary Kirsten in March 2008. India's Twenty20 World Cup win was the team's biggest achievement in that period when they travelled to South Africa, the venue, as rank outsiders without the burden of expectations.

Rajput said it was "different this time" but he still couldn't accept the fact that the defending champions had been knocked out so early. "It is a very disheartening experience," he said. "I can't take it because we won the title last time and I was looking forward to the team defending that title. What hurt me was the way we went out. I expected the team to qualify for the semi-finals at least. Going out in the Super Eights stage itself has hurt a lot. India didn't deserve to be out of the tournament because they were the favourites to win it."

Ajay Shankar is a deputy editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • nawabofcricket on June 17, 2009, 14:37 GMT

    India lost in the last 4 overs against England bcz Dhoni failed to rotate strike and have Y Pathan face majority of the balls instead he wasted balls and choked the run chase.

  • Saadi69 on June 16, 2009, 17:19 GMT

    It has been a great disappointment for alot of people that India is out of the tournament. Alot of people here were looking forward to the possibility of another India Pakistan thriller, but it wasnt to be. I feel one of the major reasons for the Indian team loosing to England was messing the batting order up by sending in Jadeja, whereas Yuvraj or Pathan would have been the better choice, Jadeja is a good player in his own right but the inexperience of playing at this level showed as well as playing in foreign conditions. A couple of darts down the leg side by Harbhajan which cost 10 runs (one of them should have been stopped) didnt help. As for the game against the West Indies there wasnt much they could do they were simply blown away by Lendl Simmons and Bravo with the bat although they managed a decent total with the help of Yuvraj.

  • gomugomu on June 16, 2009, 16:56 GMT

    I don't think it's fair to blame only dhoni, we failed as a team. However I suggest dhoni to learn some batting technique. Skipper of the defending world champions couldn't even hit a single decent boundary throughout the series. Forget this one how many series has it been since dhoni played a decent knock. Come on man...!!! harbhajan is batting way better than u. If rohit falls no hope of cashing power play...dhoni comes and plays " captain's innings ", it's T20 for god's sake. Still it's true, no one else can lead india better than u .But u have to earn the respect once again dhoni...

  • tanveers on June 16, 2009, 15:28 GMT

    India lost not because of short pitched deliveries. Come on, they were not playing for the first time in England. I think the major reason for their early exit from WC is "over confidence." Yes, over confidence! There has been so much hype about them and their Mr. Cool captain. Some of the players - like Ishant Sharma - are way over rated. And if a team has this mentality that they are the batting mights that can chase down any target - the problem starts right there. Dhoni is a good captain but lately luck had been on his side; his bad decisions were covered up with wins, therefore, nobody pointed them out. Not always you can ride on your luck. Making decision of playing himself at #3 & the sending Jadeja on #4 are clear indication that he was probably over confident that he can pull out a win in every and any case. Sorry, it does not happen like that. I think now is the time India should start focusing on playing competitive cricket rather than dreaming of being the #1 team!

  • cricpolitics on June 16, 2009, 14:38 GMT

    May be Mr. Lalit Moody should have two IPLs in a year to give more practice to Indian players. It's all Moody's fault and not Dhoni's.

  • TwitterJitter on June 16, 2009, 13:32 GMT

    People should give a break to Dhoni. He is the best captain we have got by many miles. The moment we put too much pressure on him is the moment he will stop using his insticts and go with standard vanilla tactics and that is when this team will start to look ordinary. He has been brilliant for India in the last two years and he needs to be given leverage to fail. The reason lesser known teams or underdogs perform better in this format is there is less pressure on them and that gives them the freedom to be bold and play freely. If you are uptight and nervous in this format of the game and put yourself under a lot of pressure to win in this format, you are bound to fail. Most of the time, the winners in this format are the underdogs.

  • Zain-ul-Abideen on June 16, 2009, 13:19 GMT

    I agree with Safiya even though I'm a pakistani fan but I also like watching India play. Dhoni is a brilliant captain Indian supporters should support him in this difficult time. He has brought many glorious victories to India beating some of the most greatest sides in the world.

  • shiby on June 16, 2009, 11:47 GMT

    When lost any match, search and found various reasons, but now India out from the S8. Obviously still few match winners inside the Team India, even absence of V Swevag. The real factor is, the batting line up not fixed as planed b4, it should be changeable at event of loosing wicket. As a test dose, y not sent H Singh/YPatan instead of Jadeja?

  • mubeenkemisaal on June 16, 2009, 11:02 GMT

    I agree with Lalchand Rajput,IPL have open by Team India's strenghts & weakness to the world.But there is nothing much in loosing hope or to critise players,luck did not favour this time as it does in times to lift Team India's spirit.Team India is one of the best in the world and they will bounce back for sure...!!

  • Ckt_Lover on June 16, 2009, 10:46 GMT

    sorry to say this as an indian, but the [[no.1 reason for this debacle is the untimely secheduling of the IPL]].did u see the indian players walk into the park?they looked like unenthusiastic office-go'ers walking into work, on a damned monday morning.(already wishing it was week-end.) did this not compound to the lack of improvisations while facing short balls?IPL is great,but the world stage is wat realy matters?shud we put our best players in grave injury and fatigue risks b4 a big international event?gosh, i remmbr reading Lalit Modi's thoughts on 2 IPL's an year, please please please don't by all means.first of all,learn how to manage one IPL without turning international schedules into a mockery.if you don't care abt national pride, pls do a favour for all of us indian spectators, please don't name them Team India.maybe, name them - "IPL T11" - for, "IPL Tired 11".that way, the name of my country wudn't have to be put in shame!!!

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