Former players slam Dhoni's tactics

Updated: 15 June 2009 15:07 IST

MS Dhoni is in the line of fire now with former players today questioning his tactics in the narrow loss to England which led to India's shock exit.

Former players slam Dhoni's tactics

New Delhi:

'Captain Cool' until some time ago, Mahendra Singh Dhoni is in the line of fire now with former players today questioning his tactics in the narrow loss to England which led to India's shock exit from the World Twenty20.

Right from his decision to bowl first to sending Ravindra Jadeja up the order at number four ahead of Yuvraj Singh, former players slammed the "gambles" taken by Dhoni in what was a do-or-die match last night.

Legendary spinner EA S Prasanna said compared to Jadeja, even Harbhajan Singh would have been a better choice for the number four position.

"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 Singh could have given us the required thrust.

"We had the potential but the failure to handle pressure was the reason for our loss," he pointed out.

Former wicketkeeper Syed Kirmani echoed the sentiment, adding that India didn't have a suitable replacement for explosive opener Virender Sehwag, who was ruled out due to a shoulder injury.

"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", he said.

"In this format, the opening pair is required to give a good foundation for others to carry on but we didn't get that. Apart from that, yesterday, our run rate slumped when Jadeja and Gautam Gambhir were batting," Kirmani explained. Former Test cricketer Arun Lal was equally critical of Dhoni's leadership in the crunch match.

"Sending Jadeja up the order smacked of overconfidence and defensiveness," he fumed.

Another former player BS Chandrashekhar said Jadeja should not even have been in the side in the first place. "Dhoni's strategy to make England bat first was wrong and picking Ravindra Jadeja in place of Pragyan Ojha was yet another mistake. I also feel Harbhajan Singh did not give his best in the match," Chandrashekar said.

"The decision to send Jadeja up the order ahead of Yuvraj Singh 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," he added.

Chandrashekhar said the team badly missed explosive Sehwag but even without him, 154 was an achievable target.

"England was one team we could have beaten. We decided to put them in may be to improve our run rate. We were under tremendous pressure after losing to West Indies. In my opinion we required a good replacement for Virender Sehwag", he said.

"We should have gone for a technically sound stroke-maker like Sachin Tendulkar. Our top three batsmen did not give the right platform for others to build on," Chandrasekhar rued.

India's 1983 World Cup winning captain Kapil Dev, however, refused to react to the defeat as he mourned the recent death of his mother.

"I am off cricket. Due to the death of my mother, I have not been following cricket. So, I am not in a position to give my reaction," he said.

Madan Lal, however, defended Dhoni's decision to field first and blamed it on a lack of intensity among the players. "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. In my opinion, our game plan and top order batsmen did not click.

"Ours is a young and talented side but the intensity in performance that was expected from a team playing for India was not there yesterday," he opined.

Former selector Chandu Borde also refused to lay the complete blame of defeat on Dhoni.

"Frankly speaking, T20 is such an unpredictable format. Our team definitely looked the best but unfortunately they did not click. Ishant was expensive. We were able to restrict England to 153 but the trouble is our team is packed with too many stroke players.

"We don't have players who can keep one end safe if wickets fall. Dhoni is a young and intelligent captain but it was one of those days when his game-plan did not yield results," he said.



Topics : Cricket
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