London: India head coach Ravi Shastri has claimed that sending M.S. Dhoni to bat at No. 7 in their 18-run World Cup semi-final loss to New Zealand was a team decision. In the first semi-final, which was played over two days due to rain in Manchester, India restricted the Black Caps to 239/8 in 50 overs. But chasing a modest 240 for a place in the final, India were blown away by the Kiwi bowlers led by Matt Henry (3/37) on the reserve day. India lost four top order batsmen for just 24 runs inside 10 overs before Ravindra Jadeja (77) and Dhoni (50) shared a 116-run seventh wicket stand to raise hopes of an unlikely victory. However, it wasn’t enough in the end as India fell short by 18 runs. But Dhoni was sent in to bat after Dinesh Karthik who came in at No. 5 followed by Hardik Pandya, raising quite a few eyebrows. Also Read – Squadrons which participated in Balakot air strike awarded citations on IAF Day”It was a team decision. Everyone was in with it — and it was a simple decision, too. Last thing you wanted was Dhoni coming out to bat early and getting out — that would have killed the chase,” Shastri was quoted as saying. “We needed his experience later. He is the greatest finisher of all time — and it would have been criminal to not make use of him in that way. The whole team was clear on it,” Shastri reasoned. Asked about India’s long standing problem of finding a stable No. 4 batsman, Shastri admitted that has been a area of concern and in the long run, the team needs a solid batter there. Also Read – SC declines Oil Min request to stay sharing of documents on Reliance penalty”In hindsight, yes, we did need a solid batsman out there in the middle order. But now, that’s something for the future. That’s a position that was always giving us problems, but we just couldn’t nail it. (K.L.) Rahul was there but then Shikhar Dhawan got injured. Then Vijay Shankar was there, and he got injured. We just couldn’t control it.” Shastri added that this Indian team is on the right path and with a couple of youngsters in the batting order, it would be more stronger.”This is a tough team. A magnificent team. Look at how we bowled. The way the batsmen batted. A couple of youngsters might come in the middle and make this even more stronger. It’s a team on the right path a” they know it. It was in the semi-final that they stumbled and Shastri, like skipper Virat Kohli and vice-captain Rohit Sharma, said that 30 minutes of bad cricket cannot undermine the fact that India were good throughout the campaign.
The effect of this, coupled with the acceptance of several new (and expensive) aircraft, a depreciation of the Rupee and other currencies against the USD (the majority of airline costs are in USD) saw a weakening of the balance sheet. Contrary to reports in the press, the management of SriLankan Airlines pointed out today that since the unity Government was formed, the airline’s losses have been dramatically reduced. The airline says that Rs. 91.8 billion in losses suffered between 2011 and 2015 had reduced to a fraction of this colossal number by 2017.A statement by the airline said that a fuel price reduction of 2015 saw a drop in ticket prices that did not recover when fuel increased again. The runway re-surfacing project at Colombo Airport, which was absolutely necessary, also forced the national carrier to cancel over 600 flights, equivalent to two entire weeks of scheduled services, in the first three months of 2017. These factors combined to worsen the performance of what could have been a successful financial year in 2016/17. Further restructuring is required in order to reduce the cost base and make the company competitive in this extremely challenging market.The Directors and management team are confident that with the support of the shareholder, the recovery of the national airline will continue and the positive trend will be further improved upon. (Colombo Gazette) The airline says it continues to pay a heavy price for the extremely high lease rental agreements entered into by the previous government. The cost of terminating the leases on four A350-900 aircraft that were grossly overpriced and completely unsuitable for the national carrier, imposed a further burden on the airline. (One-off items in table above).The airline is now undergoing a modest recovery in revenues and is about to launch significant regional expansion. Three new destinations in India, direct flights to Hong Kong and Guangzhou and a long awaited non-stop service to Australia are all planned in the coming months.