England's Chris Woakes celebrates
England's Chris Woakes celebrates taking the wicket of India's KL Rahul during the match at Edgbaston, Birmingham. Image Credit: Reuters

Birmingham: India’s defeat to England hasn’t been accepted sportingly by the players as well as the fans. While Indian skipper Virat Kohli has hit out at the dimensions of the Edgbaston ground, Indians fans feel strongly that the team did not put in the effort to win, especially Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

“I think it was 59 metres, which coincidentally is the minimum amount required in an international match. Quite bizarre on a flat pitch. It’s crazy that things fall in place like that randomly. But we should have been clinical because the wicket was flat. We could have accelerated and got closer to their total. If the batsmen are able to reverse sweep you for six on a 59-metre boundary, there is not much you can do. And one side was 82 metres,” remarked Kohli after the match.

Since India had five more wickets left while Dhoni and Jadhav were in the middle, many Indian fans felt that they should have at least attempted to play the big shots. Statisticians were quick to point out that the Dhoni-Kedar Jadhav partnership produced a mere 39 runs in 31 balls, including seven dot balls, 20 singles, just three fours and a six.

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“I think MS (Dhoni) was trying really hard to get the boundary but it wasn’t coming off. They bowled in good areas and the ball was stopping, hence it was difficult to bat towards the end. We have to sit and assess and improve on things in the next game,” noted Kohli in support of his players.

Rohit Sharma, who came for the post-match press conference, was asked whether Dhoni-Jadhav partnership during the final 15 overs was the major reason behind the defeat. “When you lose a game, there will be a lot of reasons as to why we lost the game. Losing an early wicket always puts you under pressure, and we lost KL (Rahul) right at the start, and they bowled pretty well in the first ten overs. So it is important that the guy who is in form needs to bat as long as possible. That was between me and Virat. We wanted to make that partnership big because we knew the longer we bat, it would be rather easier to get closer to the target. We took our time, yes, but the condition was such that it didn’t allow us to just come and bat and put pressure on the bowlers who were bowling in the right channel.”

Sharma also pointed out the reason for their inability to go for the big shots. “When MS and Kedar were batting, it seemed like they were trying to hit but were not able to because of the slowness of the pitch. Towards the end, it got pretty slow. Yes, you’ve got to give credit to English team because they used the condition really well. They used the longer boundary really well. They mixed up their variation quite nicely and kept us guessing all through the game. So we’ve got to give credit to them.”

No one seemed to be satisfied with Sharma’s response since they felt that there was no point in keeping wickets while chasing, and not trying to hit.

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Sharma was also asked why they did not use the review against Jason Roy which could have got him out early. Incidentally, Dhoni has been blamed for that as well since he is the closest. “Some of the guys heard it and some didn’t. The captain is under pressure and one cannot expect him to make those right decisions always because there are a lot of thoughts that come around that time. This is especially true when, among the players fielding inside the circle, some heard the nick while some didn’t. Then if you’re lucky, you might get that decision going your way. Yes, sometimes unbelievable decisions can happen. Many a times the bowler gets very excited and wishes to take the DRS. But then he may not have considered the fact that pitching in line, impact and things like that are also critical.”

After the match, a section of the Indian fans booed their team to quickly nullify the impact of the successive victories by the team before this match.