Manchester | Jagran News Desk: Indian coach Ravi Shashtri on Thursday defended the team management’s decision to send MS Dhoni at number 7 in the first semi-final of the World Cup 2019.

Shastri said that the whole team was involved in the decision to send Dhoni at 7.

“It was a team decision. Everyone was in with it – and it was a simple decision, too. The last thing you wanted was Dhoni coming out to bat early and getting out – that would have killed the chase. We needed his experience later. He is the greatest finisher of all times – and it would have been criminal to not make use of him in that way. The whole team was clear on it,” Shastri told in an interview to The Indian Express.

Shastri also defended Rishabh Pant, who got out while attacking Mitchell Santner, and said that the young wicket-keeper batsman looked very comfortable against the likes of Trent Boult and Matt Henry.

“Pant did look pretty secure when he got out to bat, even against Trent Boult. You could then say that if Pant had continued and not got out… but that’s sport. You grow up in quick time. He will learn, he already knows it. But I am happy that the team showed spunk. They didn’t give up even after losing Pant and Pandya. What a fightback that was.” he said.

Shastri also said that he had addressed the team after the semi-final loss against New Zealand and told them that they have earned the respect with the way they played in World Cup 2019.

"Walk out with your heads held high. Be proud. Those 30 minutes can’t erase the fact that you guys have been the best team in the last couple of years. You guys know it. One tournament, one series and that, too, 30 minutes of play can’t decide that. You guys have earned that respect. Of course, we are all hurt and disappointed but, in the end, be proud of what you have done for the last two years," Shastri added.

The Indian team lost the semi-final against New Zealand at Old Trafford in Manchester by 18 runs. Matt Henry and Trent Boult bowled beautifully and destroyed the Indian top order.

Now New Zealand will face England in the World Cup 2019 final at Lords in London on July 14. 

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma