Mumbai, March 27 (IANS) A day after India bowed out of the 2015 cricket World Cup losing the semi-finals, criticism continued to flow in even as BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya defended the team’s performance by saying the defending champions “played some outstanding cricket” Down Under before failing against Australia.
In its quest to retain the Cup title, the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-captained side remained undefeated in the group stage and then overwhelmed Bangladesh in the quarter-finals.
But their run was halted by the co-hosts and four-time champions Australia in the last-four stage with a 95-run win on Thursday in Sydney.
Former skipper Sunil Gavaskar said the team failed to overcome the pressure of expectations in the crunch game.
“India succumbed under the pressure. They lost in all departments, especially in batting as they failed to build one strong partnership throughout the innings. The batsmen played irresponsibly and got out to some sloppy shots,” said Gavaskar after India’s loss.
Vice-captain Virat Kohli’s untimely dismissal — a mistimed pull shot off pacer Mitchell Johnson — was also a big blow to India’s chances of chasing down the big score as Australia kept chipping away with wickets.
“What disappointed me the most was their poor shot selection. Virat needs to improvise on his pull shots. The pressure of chasing 329 runs clearly showed on the Indian batsmen as they failed to set themselves at the crease and got out to poor shots in order to accelerate the scoring,” added Gavaskar.
Former fast bowler Javagal Srinath said that although the Indian pacers bowled brilliantly during the entire tournament, they didn’t use the short ball judiciously against Australia.
Co-hosts Australia beat India to make their seventh appearance in the final where they will meet New Zealand on Sunday.
“They have been largely impressive in this World Cup. Unlike their Australian counterparts, they didn’t use the short-ball judiciously,” Srinath wrote in a column for International Cricket Council (ICC) on Friday.
The 39-year-old said India’s openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan started off well but none of the top-order batsmen could post the need of the hour — a big hundred.
“India’s openers responded brilliantly, they set a solid platform and blunted the new ball. But, unfortunately, none of the top-order batsmen could post a big hundred,” he said.
However, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Dalmiya said the team has brought a lot of joy to millions of fans. He said the team “displayed some admirable skills”.
“I congratulate the entire Indian cricket team for having played some outstanding cricket in the World Cup 2015. They have indeed displayed some admirable skills while playing the game in its true spirit, and thereby, bringing joy to millions of cricket fans,” Dalmiya said in a release.
“In spite of the disappointment due to the loss in the semi-final, the fact that the impending generation has showed the desired potential to take Indian cricket to greater heights is quite gratifying.”
BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur took the opportunity to thank the Indian fans for supporting the team.
“Being present at the venue and having witnessed the match, I was privy to the excitement and joy that our Indian team brings to the spectators,” he said.
“I take this opportunity to thank all our fans across the world and especially those who were present for the semi-final and supported Team India,” Anurag added.
The secretary also congratulated the members of the team for “their outstanding performance while upholding the values which have long embodied the game of cricket”.