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Poor form, not fatigue, insists Dhoni

On Tuesday, after India’s latest, and last, defeat in the tournament, skipper MS Dhoni identified a lack of batting form for their woeful English summer, reports Arjun Sen.

cricket Updated: Jun 18, 2009 00:31 IST
Arjun Sen

That India’s defence of the World T20 title never really kicked in to top gear has been well documented. The reasons for it, however, are still being zeroed-in on. On Tuesday, after India’s latest, and last, defeat in the tournament, skipper MS Dhoni identified a lack of batting form for their woeful English summer.

“What happened here was that a majority of the batsmen did not perform, and a team really needs that while chasing a big score or while batting on a difficult wicket,” Dhoni said.

“In T20s, you might be in form, but yet might not perform. It is a format that does not give you the time to settle down and play your natural game. You have to be at your peak, maybe 90% of your form. I think it was more current form than anything else for this loss.” The Indian skipper, mincing no words, said his team’s performance in England was ‘not up to international standards’. “Everyone thought we would do well over here. We were not up to the mark. Our performances were never really up to international standards. “There was never a match where most of the team performed as a unit.”

The Sehwag controversy has followed the Indian team throughout the tournament, and it was no different in Dhoni’s last press conference. “When the first MRI of his (Sehwag’s) shoulder was done in India, it did not show anything. When the next time it was done here, there was a tear,” Dhoni said. “At times, you cannot say everything because you want the opposition to worry about whether Sehwag is playing or not, you can’t just say Sehwag is not fit. I prefer announcing the team one hour before the game.

“At times you have to hide things. So, that’s what happened and it was for the good of the side. There are a few things that I want to remain a secret. I prefer to speak about it at the end of the tournament like I am doing now.”

The fatigue factor too has grabbed the headlines in the aftermath of the defeat, with Dhoni toeing a different line to that of his coach Gary Kirsten. Dhoni though stuck to his guns, blaming form rather than fitness for the losses. “One thing is for sure that we are out of form.

We prepared ourselves throughout the IPL and then came here. You cannot pinpoint and say we were tired and that’s why didn’t perform. In a 20-over game, how tired can you be? You can work throughout the year and still play a tournament like this. So, I don’t know if fatigue was the reason.

“I certainly wasn’t tired, I don’t know about other guys. It can be different for fast bowlers and other batsmen, but I don’t think it’s an appropriate reason that we can give.”