India’s overconfidence after winning the first Test led to their downfall
Former cricketers have slammed the national team for their poor performance against England during the four-Test series, stating that the Indians should have taken command and kept the visitors under pressure after winning the first Test in Ahmedabad by nine wickets.
The players noted that the national selectors had to take a tougher stance on any member of the team not pulling their weight instead of continuing to turn a blind eye to these endless shambolic performances.
Former captain and ex-chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar gave full credit to England for taking the time to prepare themselves, while India stayed lazy, thinking that they had the series in the bag since they were playing at home.
“England were well-prepared while India were over confident,” Vengsarkar said. “The Indian preparation for this important series was diabolical.
“When we went to England we played one warm-up game before plunging into the Test series. The same happened when we went to Australia. By contrast England’s preparations were very good. I hope the selectors show vision and courage of conviction. At least a couple of changes are expected straightaway.”
Another former chief selector Kris Srikkanth was unimpressed by captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s performance throughout the series and noted that he seemed to be extremely confused about his priorities as skipper.
“Definitely Dhoni is confused,” Srikkanth added. “He does not know what to do and when things go out of control he just lets them drift away.”
Kiran More, who is also a former national selector, believes that some drastic changes are needed if India’s fortunes are to turn around.
“We were outplayed in all departments and if you don’t score 450 plus in the first innings on a track that was provided, you are already on the backfoot,” More said. “At this point of time you cannot have wholesale changes, I don’t want to blame the captain alone because it has been a collective failure.
“It is a difficult phase we are going through but this rebuilding stage will continue for another 2-3 years minimum. Till then you need to have confidence in the set up and also back the youngsters who will be playing the longer version.”
Ex-India batsman Kirti Azad praised England for rapidly adapting to the conditions and using the turning pitches, requested by Dhoni, against India.
“It is not just the batsmen, it is the entire team,” Azad said. “I fail to understand that our spinners were struggling to take wickets but look at the spinners of the England team. They have bowled to a very good line. They are not trying anything because the wicket is helpful.
“They have managed to put batsmen under a lot of pressure and you could see that even the God of cricket struggled to get into form. I have heard Niranjan Shah say that this team can do wonders. Sure it can but only in the dressing room I suppose.”
Azad pointed out that India lacked consistent players, which was a key reason why England managed to claw their way back into the series and end up winning it 2-1.
“I think we have the best team on paper,” Azad said. “I hope we are not reduced to paper tigers. We have some great players in the side but it seems they are supporting each other rather than trying to support and make a good Indian team.
“We have good players who can perform well but then your greatness is known by your consistency, if you don’t have consistency than you old records will not help you.”
Former England captain Geoffrey Boycott simply stated that India were “out-batted, out-bowled, out-fielded and out-energised by the England team”.
“England showed remarkable comeback after the Ahmedabad Test,” Boycott added. “It was a huge challenge for them. In Ahmedabad, they lost because of the scoreboard pressure.
“Look at your best players last year. Virat Kohli, he has been out five times to aweful shots. Somebody should talk to him and ask what is going on here. If I were a selector, I would sit down with the team and talk to them.”
Boycott also criticised India’s body language throughout the entire series and said: “India’s body language is just not good.”
Ex-India captain Mohammad Azharuddin was “disappointed” with India’s appalling performance and stated that it was time for some of the younger players to get an opportunity.
“It was a disappointing performance and it was time for youngsters to get a chance,” Azharuddin said.
Former India coach Ajit Wadekar was disgusted with India’s overconfident attitude, especially after winning the first Test in Ahmedabad.
“Indians’ body language showed they were complacent while England had come well-prepared,” Wadekar added. “They spent time in Dubai and Sri Lanka before coming here and were determined to do well. Our middle order failed miserably and their spinners Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann bowled much better than ours.
“(Ravichandran) Ashwin seems to be a better batsman than a bowler and could be promoted up the batting order.”
Raja Venkat, yet another former national selector, believes that the England spin attack completely dominated throughout the series, while the Indian spin duo of Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha continued to falter.
“Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar have bowled much much better than Ravichandran Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha,” Venkat said. “You need to understand that if you are clamouring for turning tracks then you are making it easier for the English spinners simply because they are far superior than our Indian counterparts.
“Let’s be honest, Swann is the best off-spinner in the world, keeping Saeed Ajmal in mind. Because Swann has the loveliest classical action that you can find and he is a far better off spinner than Ashwin.”
Ex-chief selector Bapu Nadkarni noted that the India constantly suffered “batting failures” since they were not able to convert their half-centuries into triple figure scores.
“It was batting failure,” Nadkarni said. “It was poor batting on a pitch that was not difficult to bat on and was a slow turner. Our batsmen have forgotten the art of playing Test match and are satisfied with a 30-40 or 60-70. It’s a question of patience. Test matches are a test of patience.”
Nadkarni also blamed the growing number of limited overs matches for bowlers being unable to maintain a consistent line and length.
“Tell me how many bowlers are consistent in their line and length?” Nadkarni added. “Bowling in a 50-over or T20 game is different to bowling in Tests. When the one-day game had come I had said it is not very good for Test cricket. Now the T20 game has taken it further.”
He stated that it was now up to the national selectors and players themselves to decide on how much limited overs cricket they wanted to play.
“It’s an open field,” he said. “It’s upto the individual players to decide whether to concentrate on playing for the country or on other things. It’s upto the cricket administrators to decide about T20 cricket schedule.”
Former India pace bowler Balwinder Singh Sandhu hailed England for having practised and prepared like there was no tomorrow prior to the start of the series.
“We thought by making turning wickets we would win but they played better cricket on the same wickets,” Sandhu said. “They were better prepared. They handled spin bowling much better.”