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We lost the final plot, says captain Dhoni

November 06, 2009 09:28 IST
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Mahendra Singh Dhoni"Till the last wicket fell we had hope. But it was not to be," said Mahendra Singh Dhoni, soon after India fell short by three runs in the fifth One-Day International against Australia in Hyderabad on Thursday.

India's captain was doing a job that is probably more difficult than managing the players on the field. He was trying his best to explain to the media what went wrong for India in a match where the team came so near to victory yet remained so far from it.

Most Indian captains, in these tricky situations, look to lay the blame on one particular factor and draw further explanations from that. And Dhoni also does the same on most occasions.

But, on Thursday, he went a few steps ahead, blaming almost everybody -- the batsmen, bowlers, team and even a player's mindset.

"You can say we lost the final plot," he said, philosophically. "It is related to the mind, that is exactly the aspect where we came up short.

"It is about controlling the instincts. At times when you are batting you go with the emotions and tend to forget what is needed at that point," he added, trying his best to explain why the team made a mess of the match after Sachin Tendulkar's dismissal.

The captain shouldered part of the blame and felt some of his best batsmen failed him on the day.

"Myself, Yuvraj and Gauti (Gambhir), we needed to stay at the crease longer," he explained. "But despite the fact that three of our batsmen didn't score we still came so close."

The focus then shifted to the bowlers. And Dhoni was initially a tad considerate about the men who have come in for a lot of flak in this series.

"They [the bowlers] tried hard but it was one of those off-days," he tried to explain, but soon rued the fact that his bowlers lacked the experience.

"It was no doubt a difficult track to bowl on, with almost nothing for the bowlers, but, still, you have to make life difficult for the batsmen," said Dhoni.

"It is here that the experience of a bowler counts. Imagine how a bowler with 200-250 matches behind his belt bowled in this match.

"We needed to stop them somewhere about 330-335. The bowlers could have done something extra."

So the bowlers failed to restrict the opposition, the batsmen save Tendulkar and to an extent Suresh Raina failed to contribute and the fielders, the less said the better.

And despite the fact that the last two matches have been played on flat grounds -- Mohali and Uppal -- Team India failed to wrest the advantage, instead falling behind. And this factor was something for which there's no excuse.

"The last two matches have been played on tracks that were placid but ideal wickets for one-day cricket," admitted Dhoni, adding, "In Mohali, 250 was achievable and here (at Hyderabad) 350 could have been chased." So what preparation does India need to ensure it doesn't lose matches that it is expected to win?

"It is now not about the way we prepare but the manner in which we carry it out on the field," explained Dhoni, adding that it is imperative for Team India to now focus more on execution in the final two matches at Guwahati and Mumbai rather than the preparation if it has to take the series.

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