Conditions made it difficult to defend 288: Dhoni
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said heavy dew created "unfair" conditions for them as it became difficult to bowl and field on a literally wet ground, which resulted in their two-wicket defeat at the hands of West Indies, here
Dhoni said losing the toss yesterday put them in a disadvantageous position as dew played a part in the match.
"It was a very bad toss to lose. At this time of the year, we never expected the dew to fall so early. Right from the first over itself there was plenty of dew. The outfield was completely wet. There was no real swing for the fast bowlers. I don't think much for the spinners. There was a glimpse of turn when the ball was changed," Dhoni said at the post match press conference last night.
"I think it was a bit unfair. It becomes a bit unfair when this time of the year you play with so much of dew with two or three spinners. But that's part and parcel of the game. It was tough to field with the amount of dew. We saw a few of the fielders throwing the ball to the wicketkeeper and it went to the short third man areas. That's something tough," he explained.
Dhoni also backed a struggling Yuvraj Singh, who also dropped Lendl Simmons when the batsman was on 43. He went on to score 62. "Leave aside batting and bowling, anyone can drop catches. Let's not be critical about it."
Dhoni said the team is backing Yuvraj to get runs in the crucial number four slot. "We want Yuvi to do well. He is someone who can bat well at No 4.
Someone who can really dominate the oppositions. Last few games, he has struggled a bit. At times it happens when you're under pressure the 15-20 first deliveries become crucial. "If you're not able to pass that phase, you have to be considerate about it. You know what kind of a talent he is. Once he gets a few runs, you'll see a different Yuvraj Singh," he said.
Backing the 2011 World Cup player of the tournament, Dhoni further said, "Apart from the talent he has, he's someone who does really well once he's confident and dominates a tournament or series by series. He makes sure the team wins a tournament."
Asked why Suresh Raina is pushed to the No 5 position and Yuvraj at No 4, Dhoni said, "Yuvi is under a bit of pressure. We wanted Yuvi to be comfortable at his slot. He has batted well at No 4. Give him a series. Raina has also done well at 5. We are just looking at options. we dont really have any options. I still stand by it. But at the same time, we need to see if we can take some pressure off Yuvi."
On why he's preferring Raina over Yuvraj in bowling, Dhoni said the former is more effective against the left-handed batsmen.
"If we need him (Yuvraj) he'll bowl. Raina is bowling well. I felt Raina was more appropriate with a few of left-handers batting around. We can attack with Ashwin. If we need a left-arm spinner, we have Jadeja and of course there's Yuvraj Singh," Dhoni said. The skipper also backed his bowlers despite the fact that they failed to defend 288.
"The bowlers did a fantastic job to take the game to the last over. Overall I'm very happy with the performance. It was tough for them. But I am happy with the way they bowled as a unit. If you see the whole of 2013, they have done well. The last series (against Australia) was tough on them. Nobody is talking about Australia bowling. Against them, we chased 350 plus. It's important to see the general scenario," he said.
India lost two wickets for 15 runs in the batting power play but Dhoni believed the team made up when he struck an unbeaten 51. "Yes we lost quite a few wickets in the middle overs. But it was a difficult wicket and their main bowler Sunil Narine was bowling. Once we made sure he did not take much wickets, with the batsmen we have in the late order we can really accelerate the scoring."
Dhoni refused to agree that the team was more comfortable at chasing than setting a target. "We have reached a stage where it does not matter too much.
We have set big targets when we're batting first and at the same time we have chased down big targets. We're quite comfortable doing both the things. But in a game like this, where you know there will be dew factor, you want to win the toss and bowl first."
With the last match of the series at Kanpur being a day affair, Dhoni hoped dew would not play a role.