Yuvraj Singh said he was surprised with the Indian team management’s decision to send MS Dhoni in at No.7 during the World Cup semi-final against New Zealand. Chasing 240 in a rain-affected match, India lost a thriller.
Matt Henry and Trent Boult had rocked the Indian top-order. Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul and Dinesh Karthik were dismissed inside the first 10 overs of the inning and India were reduced to 24 for 4.
But in a move that stunned the cricket world, an inexperienced Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik, who had played only 3 innings in the 2019 World Cup before the semi-final, were tasked with steering the chase at a critical point.
MS Dhoni walked in at No.7 and with Ravindra Jadeja 116-run stand to almost pull off a sensational victory for India but in the end, they fell short by 18 runs.
Yuvraj Singh, who did not play any more 50-over World Cups after his 2011 heroics, said he was taken aback by India’s decision to send MS Dhoni as late as No. 7.
“I was very surprised that MS came in to bat at No. 7. I felt that he should have batted higher being the most experienced. I don’t know what the team management thought. Anyways it’s done now,” said Yuvraj.
Yuvraj Singh also lashed out at the Indian think-tank for not sorting out the No.4 problem. He said the captain and the coach should have realized it was a critical position and questioned the rationale behind using the inexperienced Rishabh Pant and Vijay Shankar up at No.4.
“You have to identify what is the best talent available and then you have to back that talent. For e.g. me and Mohammad Kaif during the 2003 World Cup. Everybody was failing badly in New Zealand but almost the same team played in the 2003 World Cup. Cut to the 2019 WC team: I was dropped, then Manish Pandey came in, then after 1-2 more players KL (Rahul) was also tried, (Suresh) Raina came back and then they went with Rayudu who played for 8-9 months and scored a 90 in NZ.
“Before the WC, we lost to Australia and Rayudu had a bad tournament and suddenly Vijay Shankar came in. The selectors should have understood the importance of the No. 4 position, especially in England. Vijay Shankar and Rishabh Pant didn’t have that experience. Dinesh Karthik was an experienced guy but was sitting out and suddenly goes to bat in the semis. So I really didn’t understand the thinking. I think that was the main reason why India didn’t win the WC. I thought India and England were the best teams and there is no reason that India shouldn’t have played the final,” concluded Yuvraj.