Colombo: It's all very well for Mahendra Singh Dhoni to respond to any questions regarding his captaincy in a roundabout way.
After all, the same out-of-the-box decisions that, when they come off, appear to be masterstrokes, have of late started boomeranging upon him.
His own take on India’s early exit from yet another World Twenty20 was that it was a question of one bad game out of five. And yes, if one were to compare it against semi- finalists West Indies’ record (two losses, one win, one Super Over win and one abandoned), India do have reason to believe they were done in by the format.
But then again, after the humiliating defeat to Australia inside 15 overs, India had got their destiny back in their hands by steamrolling Pakistan. To say, as Dhoni did, that they were forced to bat first when they wanted to chase against South Africa is illogical, for that would mean they had assumed they would win the toss.
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Then, there was the question of playing three seamers against perhaps the one team apart from England that has always had trouble against the turning ball — that too when it was clear before the game that the track was helping the spinners. Mohammad Hafeez used 18 overs of spin against the Aussies; India conceded 30 more runs than it needed to qualify for the final four.
Ravichandran Ashwin, the one specialist spinner, was brought in to bowl only in the 10th over, after the stable doors had been blown away by Francois du Plessis.
Even Rohit Sharma got an over before him and Lakshmipathy Balaji.
While Dhoni’s strategy of finishing off his fifth bowler’s quota quickly had worked against Pakistan, the relevant target of 121 was a foregone conclusion even before his in-form men had bowled.
And then there is the problem of Dhoni’s batting position.
Despite his constant protestations that India need him for a finishing kick at number seven, he somehow doesn’t seem to realise that in T20, your best batsmen need to play the most number of balls.
Which is why Australia put up Shane Watson, David Warner and Michael Hussey as their top three, while Sri Lanka have Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara.
They are in the semifinals, India aren’t.