Virender Sehwag blamed a collective lack of application from the Indian top order for the five-wicket defeat against England at Jamshedpur. "We didn't bat well at all," he said at the post-match press conference. "If even one of the top-order batsmen had been associated in a significant partnership with Dhoni at the start of the innings, it could have been an exciting game. The main reason for today's defeat was our batting failure. There was responsibility on every single top-order batsman. You can't criticise any single individual - if either of Yuvraj, Kaif, Raina, Venu [Venugopal Rao] or Sehwag had played for any length of time with Dhoni, things would have been a lot different."
While insisting that his team should have put more runs on the board Sehwag gave England's batsmen credit for the manner in which they went about chasing the modest target. "They played quite well," he said. "227 wasn't that bad a total, but Strauss and Bell got them off to an excellent start, and they didn't look back after that."
Inevitably questions were asked about the lack of form of Sehwag himself, and also Mohammad Kaif. "When the team is winning, you can afford to have one or two batsmen not in form because captains don't usually change a winning combination," said Sehwag. "At the end of the day, it all depends on the situation. Maybe it is best for me that I sit out a game, take a break. When you keep playing, it may not be possible to analyse things. Sometimes, rest is an option. Perhaps I will miss the next match, perhaps Kaif will. Rahul will be back as captain for the last match, it is up to him to decide what combination he wants to field."
Sehwag also came to the defence of his fast-bowlers, backing them to do well in the future. "There was a lack of experience in our bowling attack today. We were playing without Pathan, Agarkar and Sreesanth. RP Singh, VRV Singh and Munaf Patel don't have a lot of experience, so they couldn't deliver. I am sure if they play more regularly and pick up more experience along the way, they will definitely deliver the goods."
He was especially sympathetic to VRV Singh, who made his debut in this match but could not pick up a wicket and ended returns of none for 33 from five overs. "It is not easy to perform in your first international match. I remember when I made my debut, I only made one run. It is tough to perform on debut, you need to be lucky to be successful in your first match. Maybe VRV felt a little bit of pressure, maybe he was nervous. But he is a good bowler, and I am sure he will bounce back in time."