India vs South Africa: Sticking with Shikhar Dhawan despite poor form proved right, says Ravi Shastri

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Melbourne | Published: February 22, 2015 7:11:51 PM

Heaping praise on his players for the emphatic win over South Africa in the cricket World Cup here, team director Ravi Shastri...

live cricket score, live score, cricket score, india vs south africaShikhar Dhawan has scored 137 runs taking India to 307 in stipulated 50 overs against South Africa.

Heaping praise on his players for the emphatic win over South Africa in the cricket World Cup here, team director Ravi Shastri today said the management’s decision to stick with Shikhar Dhawan, despite his poor form in the run-up to the showpiece event, proved right today.

Dhawan played an important part in India’s consecutive wins over Pakistan and South Africa, hitting 73 and 137, and Shastri took potshots at those who had questioned the opening batsman’s place in the squad.

“It was a clinical and professional performance, in batting, bowling and fielding, covering all the departments of the game. It was fabulous.

When they play like that you think they can achieve anything. Today, I never thought that the players were detached for a single moment or dropped their guard. They were focussed all through,” Shastri said after India’s 130-run thrashing of South Africa at the MCG.

“I would say those people who were asking why Shikhar was there in (World Cup) squad, they don’t know their cricket. He committed some mistakes during Test series against Australia. He got the starts but got out due to mistakes. But now against Pakistan and today, he was fabulous. He did everything right today, in his approach, shot selection,” said the former India all-rounder.

Praising the players for their “fabulous” fielding and bowling, Shastri said he thought it was like Australia or South Africa playing, instead of India.

“Fielding was fabulous, bowling also. You would think it was Australia or South Africa not Indian players fielding. But when Australia or South Africa does that, people sit up and say fabulous fielding, not in case of India. The same in bowling. When our three pacers were bowling 140km/h, people will not say what a fabulous bowling,” he said.

“It was a fabulous show by our bowlers. What a variety we are having in bowling,” he added.

Shastri said India will now have to carry on the good work and be consistent if they are to go all way in the World Cup.

“Carry on the good job with consistency. Take game by game. Don’t think of the opposition and execute your plans,” he said.

He conceded that there was a lot of cricket for the Indian team ahead of the World Cup and that the break after the tri-series did a world of good for the players.

“There were lots of cricket before this World Cup. We played great cricket in Test series against Australia which we lost 0-4. The guys were unlucky and the Test series could have been 1-1. Then there was the tri-series which not everyone gave much importance. But the itinerary of the tri-series was chalked out long time ago. So the players will have to play that also.

“But everybody knew that the World Cup was what matters. Had we lost these first two matches (in the World Cup), no one would have counted us. So we needed the break after the tri-series and the boys have come stronger,” said Shastri.

Australian spin legend Shane Warne said that India have sent out a message after their emphatic wins over Pakistan and South Africa.

“Considering their form in the run-up to the World Cup, India have sent out a serious message after these wins over Pakistan and South Africa,” Warne said.

Former Australian batsman Michael Hussey said that vice-captain Virat Kohli also played a big role in India’s win over South Africa by steadying the innings after opener Rohit Sharma’s early dismissal.

“Virat read the situation well and identified that Shikhar was in good form. So, he (Kohli) played the second fiddle, tried to give most of the strike to him (Shikhar). They had a big partnership and that gave the foundation,” Hussey said.

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