'Pace bowlers could have done better'

Skipper Dhoni pats team for excellent collective effort despite defeat

'Pace bowlers could have done better'

The way MS Dhoni handled the press conference shortly after India made their exit from the World Cup, you would hardly felt that he was the one who had led the team that had lost the semifinal. Dhoni was calm, collected, composed and even jovial at times as he fronted up the media who posed him myriad questions – from India’s performance in the tournament, in the semifinal and his future.

Excerpts. 

On how proud is he of team’s performance:
Before the start of the tournament, when we played the tri-series, we had a lot of cricketing problems to deal with -- the form of the players. We had been here for close to over two months (Tests and tri-series) and then we had another two months. All in all, it was a tough one for us. The Test matches didn't go our way, the tri-series didn't go our way, so it was important to have a good dressing room atmosphere, and all the members, including the support staff, they were just brilliant because if you have a good dressing room atmosphere, it's slightly easier to come back into form. I felt everybody rose to the occasion -- how the fast bowlers bowled throughout this tournament, how the spinners have done, learning from all their past experiences when we travelled outside. This sums up the kind of performance that we have given in this tournament. Disappointed we couldn't go into the final, and I felt they played better cricket on the day.

On whether he thought the 328 total was chaseable:
Yes, the reason being I knew the wicket will get slightly better in the second half. You know, when we lost the toss, I was a bit worried where I thought maybe the spinners wouldn't get as much purchase, but I felt Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin bowled well. And in hindsight the good thing was we got a bit of reverse swing going, so I felt our fast bowlers could have been slightly better because I knew in the second half there wouldn't be much of a reverse swing. That's the only reason I felt our fast bowlers could have done slightly better. But once we came back into the game and restricted them to 327, I felt it was a good score. Yes, there was pressure, but at the same time it needed some good batting and good partnership. It was a gettable score, but it needed some hard work to get the runs on the board.

On giving up the World Cup:
Well, it's something that doesn't really belong to anyone. We took it from someone, so somebody took it from us. It's as simple as that. The best team takes it for four years and then everybody gets their own plans ready, depending on the conditions, and they challenge the one that has the Cup. If we had played better cricket on this particular day, maybe we would have gone into the final. But that's how it is. In any international sport you have to be at your best. If not, the Cup gets shared.
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