London:Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni apologised to the nation for his champion team's early ouster from the T20 World Cup and admitted sending Ravindra Jadeja ahead of Yuvraj Singh in their Super 8 match against England was a mistake.
"We are more disappointed (than you) and we respect the emotions of our fans and the country. We gave our best and we say that with an open heart, we have nothing to hide. But the next Twenty20 world cup is coming again in nine months and we would have an opportunity of proving ourselves," said a dejected Dhoni after India's heart-breaking three-run loss at Lord's last night.
Dhoni sent Jadeja ahead of Yuvraj and himself but the young all-rounder consumed 35 balls for his 25 in the middle overs to put pressure on his batting partners which ultimately led to India losing the match by three runs to crash out of the tournament.
"Sometimes you don't know what would happen. We thought Jadeja could stabilise the innings as well as go after the bowling. He did try but somehow he always found the fielders. It was unfortunate it didn't work for us. We needed somebody to play percentage cricket at that stage."
Dhoni, however, defended his decision to include Jadeja in the playing eleven in place of Pragyan Ojha, as well as his opting to field after winning the toss.
"We were looking at a combination in which our batting could be lengthened. We need lower order bats to contribute. Ojha may be a better bowler but Jadeja is an excellent fielder and both bat and bowl well. It also encourages us to include an extra fast bowler," he said.
"As for fielding first, we realised that under lights the wicket became better for batting."
The India captain held his batting colleagues responsible for the team's loss and said there cannot be any excuse for their failure to chase down a modest target of 154.
"We failed in batting. If the opposition scores 153 and you cannot achieve that on a track like this, I don't think there can be any excuse. You just cannot explain that," Dhoni curtly said.
"We lost simply because we did not bat well. I'm rather happy with the performance of the bowlers," he added. Dhoni was candid enough to admit that England bowlers had bounced India out of the match, sending down short-pitch stuff quite consistently.
"They started really well. They looked aggressive and used the bouncers really well. All of a sudden our batsmen could not change their game plan.
"They used short deliveries very well -- bouncers and slow bouncers. That really did the job for them," he said.