Team India head coach Ravi Shastri’s last major tournament in charge before his current contract expires ended in a disappointing 18-run loss to New Zealand in the ICC World Cup semifinals at Old Trafford in Manchester on Wednesday (July 10). Some critics, including former India captain Sourav Ganguly, blamed Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s demotion in the batting order as one of the reasons for India’s shock loss.
However, Shastri explained that the strategy to hold Dhoni back was a team decision.
“It was a team decision. Everyone was in with it – and it was a simple decision, too. Last thing you wanted was Dhoni coming out to bat early and getting out – that would have killed the chase. We needed his experience later. He is the greatest finisher of all times – and it would have been criminal to not make use of him in that way. The whole team was clear on it,” Shastri was quoted as saying in an interview to Indian Express.
“And Rishabh Pant did look pretty secure when he got out to bat, even against (New Zealand fast bowler) Trent Boult, didn’t he? You could then say that if Pant had continued and not got out… but that’s sport. You grow up in quick time. He will learn, he already knows it.”
“But I am happy that the team showed spunk. They didn’t give up even after losing Pant and Pandya. What a fightback that was,” he added.