M. S. Dhoni: It’s a comprehensive victory

The result marked India’s third series win in this land, after the World Championship of Cricket in 1985 and the CB Series of 2008.

"We have closed the series really well," said Indian skipper M. S. Dhoni.   -  AP

This may have been a second-string Australian team, but India’s 3-0 victory in the KFC T20 Series still augurs well in the lead up to the World T20. The result marked India’s third series win in this land, after the World Championship of Cricket in 1985 and the CB Series of 2008. Last summer, India did not win a single game — either in the Tests or the triangular series that followed — during its two months here before the World Cup.

> Listen to M. S. Dhoni's interaction with the media at the SCG

“For a long time we have been struggling in Australia,” M. S. Dhoni said after the third and final T20 at the SCG. “The last time we came, we were told in Press Conferences to at least compete even if we can’t win. The fact, though, is nobody is happy with just competing. It’s a comprehensive victory. Winning 3-0 against Australia in Australia is always a big one.”

India overhauled a total of 197, the highest successful run chase (in 27 T20Is) against Australia in Australia. “When we lost Virat’s wicket, the game got close and we had a few dot balls after that,” Dhoni said. “But overall, we never thought that it is something beyond a par score. We have closed the series really well. We were always lacking that one extra step that was needed. On this tour, especially from the Sydney ODI, the bowlers have turned it around.”

Suresh Raina, India’s highest run-scorer in Twenty20 cricket, was pushed up to two drop on Sunday, where he made a match-winning 49. Dhoni spoke of him in glowing terms, indicating that the arrangement could continue even during the World T20. “We are also rewarding the IPL performances,” he explained. “Suresh Raina’s performances have not been about one or two seasons. In eight seasons of the IPL, he has batted at No. 3 and scored the most number of runs. When he batted at No. 3 for us in one of the World T20s (in 2010), he scored a century (vs. South Africa). The only reason we couldn’t give him that slot is because there were others who could do similar jobs at that slot, but there was nobody else who could bat like him at No. 5 or No. 6. The conditions we play in now (at the World T20) will be quite similar to what we get during IPL, so we want to cash in on that aggression. And Yuvi can just go and express himself at No. 5. There will be less pressure on him. And as he plays more and more games, he’ll just open up more.”

Meanwhile, Shane Watson felt India was always the favourite for the World T20 irrespective of the outcome of the series. “No matter how things panned out here, they were always going to be favorites,” he said. “The way they handled the pressure in their own World Cup in 2011, they know how to play well at home in big tournaments. There’s no surprises with them going in as favorites.”