Trent Bridge (Nottingham): A bitterly disappointed coach Gary Kirsten has blamed "the timing of Indian Premier League" for India's debacle in the Twenty20 World Cup and hinted at skipping the IPL to be ready for the next edition in 2010.
Kirsten said the fatigue factor and injuries sustained by the players in IPL were the main reasons for Team India's early exit.
"A lot of our cricketers carried niggles in this tournament. We picked up niggles in the IPL and lost contact with them," Kirsten said.
"India's schedule ahead of the next Twenty20 in the West Indies in nine months time isn't going to be any different. If I'm still around, we would do some good planning and if need be, pull guys out of the IPL. We want when the real competition comes along, the people are ready for it," he said.
Incidentally, captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni had admitted in his pre-departure press conference for the T20 World Cup that the team was tired but claimed IPL was a good practice for the young players and they also learnt to handle pressure situation during the tournament.
India managed easy wins against minnows Bangladesh and Ireland in the preliminary stages of the T20 World Cup while losing against the West Indies and England to end their campaign in the tournament.
But Kirsten minced no words and said Indian team was not fresh and fit to take on tough opponents after the IPL, which came close on the heels of excessive international cricket
"We were not as energetic as we were in New Zealand. We were relatively tired when we arrived here. We have been on the road since end of January,” Kirsten said.
"We were not sure if we should increase the training or give sufficient rest. In the end, we gave them as much rest as we could so that they could be pumped up for important games. But then we had relatively easy games against Bangladesh and Ireland. We then came up against the West Indies and were found wanting. We realised how tough the battle could be against a high quality international side," he added.
Kirsten claimed that because of niggles a lot of his players were not in the best of form and their problems against short-pitched deliveries thus got magnified.
"If we could have executed our skills the way we wanted to, we could have won the game. In Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina we have two incredibly talented young cricketers for India. And for one the going has been especially tough in this tournament,” he said.
Kirsten had only words of praise for Dhoni whom he described as one of the most exceptional leaders that he had seen in his life.
"He is an extremely professional cricketer. He is one of the most exceptional leaders that I have seen in any walk of my life. He is able to separate the other things from his cricket and is extremely focused. He is one of the greatest finishers in the game of cricket,” he said.
"We feel in high profile game he is the one who can close out game for us. We wanted to save Yuvraj, Dhoni and Pathan for the final 12 overs of the innings," he added.
Kirsten though admitted that Dhoni was still just about figuring out his game in Twenty20 cricket. "In 50-overs game, he is one of the greatest finishers the game has seen. He is trying to do it in Twenty20 cricket as well. He also wants to balance it with his big hitting. His batting is improving, he is a fast learner and he would come good," he said.