Former players today slammed the Indian cricket team for its humiliating exit from the Twenty20 World Cup, attributing the debacle to skipper MS Dhoni's poor tactics, IPL fatigue and the players' failure to cope with rising deliveries.
Otherwise a Dhoni admirer, cricketer-turned-commentator Ravi Shastri had no doubt that the debacle in the Caribbeans was Dhoni's worst outing as the Indian captain and he advised him to be more flexible in his approach.
"It's hard to put a finger on the exact reason but of all the tournaments Dhoni has led India in, it is the most disappointing," Shastri said.
"At times you can be stubborn and stick to your ideas but he might want to be a little more flexible in future," he said.
To buttress his case, Shastri referred to India's last night's match against Sri Lanka, which Dhoni's men managed to lose despite a great start to their innings.
"Only 73 runs were scored in the last 10 overs despite having nine wickets in hand. There is no explanation for that. Tactically Yusuf Pathan should have come up in the batting order," said Shastri, who felt India needed to see beyond the current set of players.
"Selectors will have to look for Twenty20 players who can play in all kind of conditions," he added.
Dhoni tried to provide an explanation for the team's jaded look in the tournament, saying IPL post-match parties and the travelling took its toll on his teammates.
Former India captain Mohd Azharuddin felt the same but he said that cannot be cited as an excuse.
"Obviously if you stay up the whole night, it would affect you. Players should be responsible enough. The game is more important than the parties. Excuses like these cannot be given after you lose," he said.
"For a player, cricket should come first and everything else is secondary," he added.
Member of India's 1983 World Cup winning squad Madan Lal, however, was rather annoyed at Dhoni for making "silly excuses".
"I don't think that's a reason. Who was forcing them to attend these parties? They could have said no. I don't think they should say all this. These are silly excuses," he said.
"Fact is they had gone there to win the World Cup and they just weren't good enough," he added.
Former chief selector Syed Kirmani said "there was complete lack of application and concentration" from Indian players and they cannot complain of fatigue after crashing out.
Stop Making Excuses, Former Players to Dhoni and Co.
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