Rahul Dravid suggested that India's poor fielding was one of the biggest factors in their unexpected 4-1 defeat against West Indies in the one-day series. After winning the first game, India lost four in a row and their fielding, which had been one of their strengths in the last few months, was decidedly sloppy.
"They outfielded better than us in the tournament. After the first game, it showed in some of the matches which were very close, including the one today," Dravid said after the last match in Trinidad. "Our throwing has not been good from the deep. Our throwing arms have not been good and today they took us on in the final overs."
Dravid also said that one of the other problems his team had failed to come to grips with was the ability to keep the score ticking over in the final overs. That, he said, forced the batsmen to attempt low-percentage and risky shots. "In a way, it has happened because we have not been able to rotate the strike. Even in the last game, towards the end we were struggling to find the gaps. They put pressure on our guys into playing big shots."
He also indicated that the post-mortem of the series defeat would happen after the Test series: "Once the Test series is over, we would put our heads together and look at areas. These boys have given us so much of success that they are naturally disappointed at defeat. But going hard on them is probably not the right thing to do. We need to be patient with them."
Asked about the lack of experienced players in the squad, Dravid countered by suggesting that adding more experienced names might have further weakened the fielding. "We have to ask ourselves this question very seriously if bringing in [experienced] people actually strengthens your field or does it weaken it. I guess that is the question you should be asking yourself seriously."
While Dravid was disappointed with the result, he said that the experience of playing in the West Indies would stand the team in good stead when they return here for the World Cup next year. "The World Cup is in eight months' time. We at least have played in these conditions. There are going to be no foreign tour by any other team to the West Indies till the next World Cup so in that sense it's good for us to know what the conditions are like here. We now know what is the length to bowl and what length to expect. We have also found out what happens when the ball gets soft."