After a shock loss to Zimbabwe in the first T20I at Harare on Saturday, Mahendra Singh Dhoni hoped that the youngsters in the squad learnt from their mistakes. The team had whitewashed the hosts 3-0 in the ODIs , but a lacklustre performance from the batsmen meant they lost the match by two runs.
Dhoni was quoted as saying that he hoped the fresh faces did not make the same mistakes in the 2nd T20 on Monday.
"I feel, though we lost the game - it is disappointing - it is still a learning curve for the youngsters, provided they are learning out of it. You have to take it in a serious manner because whenever you will represent the country, whenever they get a chance to be part of the proper Indian team for a consistent period of time, they will feel the pressure. That will be the time when a game like this or a tour like this will really help them ease out that pressure," Dhoni told PTI.
With eight runs required off the last over, Captain Cool failed to get the team past the finish line and handed the Chevrons a famous second T20I win over the 2007 World T20 Champions. Crediting Neville Madziva, the Zimbabwean bowler, for holding his nerve during the final over, the skipper said that he expected a more sensible approach from the batsmen.
"I felt the last ball was brilliant but that is what my job is, so maybe I am the person to finish the job. But at the same time, we kept losing wickets and what happens at that stage is that you are losing wickets and you are giving one dot ball and at the same time, the set batsman is not getting the strike.
"I felt the batsmen will have to take the responsibility. The reason being, few of them, they were set, they were batting well. When you are chasing targets, you need to take it to the end and then look to play the shots. That was something that was lacking in this game," Dhoni told PTI.
Reasoning why he had come in at number six while batting and not much earlier in the line-up, he said, “It is not for me. If I had to bat up, I could easily bat at four for this team. But what is important is for these youngsters to bat at that number because this is an opportunity for them. The only reason I am here is to understand them and at the same time guide them as to what has to be done."
The Rising Pune Supergiants captain also said that international cricket is much different from the IPL and there is a very small margin for error at that level. "Let's talk about IPL, it doesn't really matter. You can play your big shots. There is no pressure of result. You say 'okay, in 14 games if you play five or six innings, you will take the team through.' Over here it is slightly different.
“This is where you have to personally tell them as to 'this could have been done at that point of time.' And also that's how you learn. It is not that you have to commit a mistake to learn," Dhoni said.
Dhoni was also quoted as saying that every international team needs to be respected and that the team needed to be at its best irrespective of the opposition. "It doesn't matter which team you are playing. It is a levelling experience. What I mean by that is you need to give a lot of respect to cricket and when you go in to bat or bowl in the field, irrespective of the opposition, you have to be at your best.
"You can't play with your reputation or playing eleven that looks good on paper. What is important is how well you play on the field, how well you are executing. It is the cricket that wins you the games, not the teams. I felt we were way off today, both in the bowling and the batting department," he told the PTI.
India had breezed past Zimbabwe in all games of the three-match ODI series, losing just three wickets in total. Though fans all over the world expected a similar showing from the team in the opening match of the three-match T20I series, Zimbabwe fought back exceptionally well, putting up 170 on the board. The bowlers then bowled tight spells, forcing the batsmen to hit and lose wickets at crucial junctures. The Indian captain would be hoping all departments perform better in the second match on Monday and avoid a repeat of the shock loss.
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