Ousted India look to the Caribbean for solace
Mahendra Singh Dhoni's India hope a one-day series in the West Indies later this month will help them recover from a dismal campaign in the World Twenty20.cricket Updated: Jun 18, 2009 19:13 IST
Mahendra Singh Dhoni's India hope a one-day series in the West Indies later this month will help them recover from a dismal campaign in the World Twenty20.
India, who won the inaugural event in South Africa two years ago, failed to make the semi-finals after losing all three Super Eight matches against the West Indies, England and South Africa.
They now embark on a tour of the Caribbean for four one-dayers, the last leg of a hectic nine-month schedule across the globe that included the five-week Indian Premier League in South Africa in April-May.
India will return home after the last game against the West Indies at St Lucia on July 5 and will get a chance to rest till the Champions Trophy starts in South Africa in late September.
Skipper Dhoni wanted his team to forget the disappointing performance in the World Twenty20 and look ahead towards the series against the West Indies.
"Once you lose a few games, you start dissecting everything and count how much better we could have played," the Indian captain said.
"We consider 80 per cent as the benchmark. If you are close to that, with the talent we have in the team, we have more chances of winning games.
"But we were more like 50 to 60 per cent of our potential in England.
"The T20 World Cup is gone. We are off to the West Indies, and that is what we are thinking about now.
"In the next two or three days, we will take some time off. Then we will start working back on the basics again, accept this has happened and start preparing for the West Indies.
"It will be tough in the West Indies for us. We must concentrate on that tour and not look what we will be doing during the break after that.
"We want to do well in the West Indies and then be really well prepared for the Champions Trophy."
The Indians appeared lacklustre during the 12-run defeat to South Africa in the last Super Eights match at Trent Bridge on Tuesday, failing to reach a modest target of 131.
India's 16-man squad for the Caribbean tour, which was announced earlier on Wednesday, does not feature prolific batsmen Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag, and pace spearhead Zaheer Khan, all of whom have been given time off to recover from injuries.
Tendulkar, 36, the world's leading Test and one-day batsman who declined to play in the World Tenty20, is recovering from a finger injury that he aggravated during the IPL in South Africa.
Left-hander Suresh Raina is also out with a hairline fracture on the thumb, while Sehwag missed the World Twenty20 with a shoulder injury.
India have recalled left-arm seamer Ashish Nehra after four years following an impressive showing during the IPL, and included Mumbai's Abhishek Nayar for his first tour.
Chris Gayle's West Indies have reached the semi-final of the World Twenty20 and play Sri Lanka at the Oval in London on Friday for a place in the final.
South Africa take on Pakistan in the first semi-final at Trent Bridge here on Thursday.