'We made quite a few mistakes'

One poor game against Pakistan ushered India out of the Champions Trophy, as the skipper admitted. “You do feel disappointed, but frankly speaking, it is tough for me to decide whether we were too bad in this tournament,” Dhoni told newsmen. “We were off the boil in the first game, the second was a wash-out and we won the third. I was more disappointed with our World T20 exit because we were not really up to the mark, we didn’t perform very well there.”

Acknowledging that there was work to be done ahead of the seven-match series against Australia beginning in Vadodara on October 25, Dhoni went on, “We made quite a few mistakes here. One of the areas was giving width to the batsmen, but it’s not such a serious problem that it can’t be solved. We can definitely put in a bit more effort in fielding. You can’t change that overnight, but if every guy can get better by 10-15 percent, it will make a huge difference.

“Then, you have some players who run really well and others that don’t really run that well between wickets. Fielding and running between the wickets are inter-linked. If you improve in any one of those departments, there is every chance of improving the two together. We need to work on quite a few things and we will because we have time with us. Hopefully, we will assemble before the Australian series and rectify the problems.” 

Dhoni was asked about India’s poor record in ICC events – they haven’t made the semis in four of the last five competitions, dating back to October 2006. “When we were not winning finals, we were asked whether it’s about handling the pressures of a final,” he replied. “I don’t think there is much difference between playing a bilateral series, a tri-series or a big tournament like this. Ultimately, you play only one team at a time.

“Yes, we didn’t do well in the T20 and here, we have not qualified for the semis. These are the true facts but at the end of the day, when we turn up on the field, our thinking is the same, irrespective of the nature of the competition.”

Lamenting the absence of a genuine all-rounder, Dhoni remarked, “One of the reasons Australia are really good is because they play six specialist bowlers and most of them can bat. We should find a seam-up bowler who can contribute with the bat because that gives you the freedom to pick one more spinner and play five specialist bowlers. In this tournament, we were forced to play with five bowlers, most of whom can’t really bat.”

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