Dhoni says knew consequences of final gambles

Last Updated: Apr 03, 2011, 09:32 AM IST

Mumbai: India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was ready for potential pillory after taking a couple of gambles that could have easily backfired in Saturday`s World Cup final against Sri Lanka.

Dhoni and his team mates have had strained relations with the local media, with the press criticising Dhoni`s preference for the inconsistent Piyush Chawla over Ravichandran Ashwin and his poor form with the bat.

The Indian captain, however, sprang a surprise by preferring the erratic and hot headed pace bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth ahead of off-spinner Ashwin and he then promoted himself to number four, ahead of the in-form Yuvraj Singh.

The gamble paid off as he went on to hit a match-winning 91 not out to script India`s six-wicket victory against Sri Lanka.

"I took a quite few decisions tonight, if we hadn`t won I would have been asked quite a few questions -- why no Ashwin and why Sreesanth. Why no Yuvraj and why did I bat ahead of him?" he said pre-empting the questions.

"That pushed me and motivated me to do well. The pressure had got to me in the previous games. In this game, I wanted to bat up the order and (coach) Gary (Kirsten) backed me and also the senior players. I had a point to prove to myself."

Dhoni was more amicable in the post-match press conference where he explained why he promoted himself.

"It was a difficult decision. Yuvraj has been in brilliant form throughout the series. I knew there would be questions if I promote myself," said the Indian captain, munching biscuits in between his answers.

"I thought Gautam (Gambhir) was batting well. If I go and rotate. I have played a lot with (Muttiah) Muralitharan and I know his `doosra` quite well. I was able to put a bit of pressure as well."

On Sreesanth`s selection, he said "Whatever we know of the Wankhede wicket, there is some help for the seamers. If it does not turn a great deal, it`s difficult to manoeuvre the bowling attack with just two seamers."

"With Sree coming in, I thought we could put pressure on the opposition because their middle order has not been tested."

Bureau Report