Smith backs Dhoni
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Player:GC Smith, MS Dhoni
Event:ICC World Twenty20 2009

DateLine: 16th June 2009


South Africa skipper Graeme Smith offered his support to under-fire India skipper MS Dhoni.


India who entered the tournament as defending champions crashed out of the ICC World Twenty20 and even failed to make it to the last four.


The team's three-run defeat to hosts England at Lord's sparked an avalanche of criticism aimed at Dhoni and his tactical decision making came under special scrutiny by fans and experts alike.


"Mahendra is a very composed person but a few tactical decisions of theirs have come under scrutiny and that's always difficult to deal with as a leader," said Smith whose team face India in their final Super Eights match at Trent Bridge on Tuesday.


"If you've captained for long enough, you've been through those phases of your career. As a leader, when things aren't going to plan, they will turn on you. How you handle yourself and handle those situations is a sign of the type of character you are and where you're going in your career.


"I certainly had a few moments like that but hopefully we won't be facing that in this competition. Maybe it's someone else's turn." Smith added: "We all know India, on paper, are a supremely talented team with lots of options so it was a surprise to see them not perform to that standard in Super Eights."


South Africa have already sealed their place in the semi-finals are almost certain to play their last-four match on Thursday as Group E winners. Smith said that though their place in the semis is all but booked, they would still want to enter the semifinals with another win under their belt.


"(Tuesday's match) is not important to the competition but we still want to go out and play well," said Smith.


"In terms of the levels which you are playing and in terms of your combinations it is important for our semi-final.


"It is about challenging ourselves to play at the levels we have been. The challenge for us is to maintain our level of play; it's a very difficult competition if you don't do that.


"It's important, no matter what the result that we play at the level we are comfortable with.


"Twenty20 is all about adapting to situations, committing to your skills and being well-prepared tactically."


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