PERTH: India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said lessons learned on past Australian tours were holding his side in good stead in their World Cup title defence.
India remained unbeaten after four outings in the tournament when they edged past the West Indies by four wickets at the WACA ground on Friday, ensuring a quarter-final place in the process.
Their sparkling form that has them set to top Pool B is a far cry from their preceding tour of Australia, when they didn’t win a single match and failed to reach the final of the triangular one-day series against the home nation and England.
It also follows a winless tour of New Zealand 12 months earlier.
Dhoni said his players were applying the lessons learned on those tours to good effect in the World Cup.
“They learned a lot out of the tri-series, and also from the away tours,” he said.
“We didn’t win single game in New Zealand, but still what I felt was the players were learning what really needs to be done, and it’s all a reflection of all of that.
“At times people get too busy about, no, we have to win, we have to win, but what’s more important is the bowlers or the batsmen, they have to learn what to do so that they can consistently win outside (India).
“I feel to some extent it’s a reflection of learning of all those things, the difficult phase that we all went through, and after that you can to some extent say this is the fruitful period for us where everything has clicked.”
Dhoni said much of the credit for their improved performances had to go to the bowling attack.
“What the bowlers are doing really well right now is they are hunting in packs,” he said.
“We are backing one good over followed by another good over.
That actually increases the pressure, and finally you get a wicket out of it.
“I feel the contribution of all the bowlers is superb.”
Dhoni said he expected to stick with two spinners for the upcoming matches against Ireland and Zimbabwe in New Zealand.
He also challenged all-rounder Ravi Jadeja to improve his performances with the bat after again failing against the West Indies.
“I think he needs to improve,” he said.
“He needs to step up really because we have a lot of faith in him, but at the end of the day you can’t really play with hope.
“What you want is actually performance on the field.
He has that capability.”