Dhoni & Co skipped practice for sightseeing?
New Delhi: Former captain Sunil Gavaskar on Friday came down hard on Indian cricketers, who had skipped practice sessions during the ongoing Test series against Australia, saying they have not gone there for "sightseeing but to play cricket".
Gavaskar was critical of some of the Indian players` "attitude" towards practice, which he said was one of the reasons for the visitors` humiliating losses in the first two Tests of the four-match series.
"Christmas is big in Australia and it`s understandable for Australian players taking off after first Test. But what were our players doing? Why were not they doing practice? Have they gone there for sightseeing or play cricket?" asked a furious Gavaskar.
"The first Test ended on the fourth day and it`s OK they took off on the fifth day but why don`t they do practice after that. I don`t know what is the attitude of the players. While on tour they should practice, practice and practice to have in proper frame of mind to be competitive. Why nobody is asking questions? These questions should be asked," he said.
Australia took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-match series after defeating India by an innings and 68 runs in Sydney on Friday. The visitors had earlier lost the series opener in Melbourne by a huge 122 runs.
The former India skipper also criticised the Cricket Board (BCCI) for not including tour games in between the four Test matches.
"It`s OK you have two practice matches before the start of the series. But why not in between second and third Test in Perth. There is a week in between second and third Test and no tour game is there. There is another seven days in between third and fourth Test and no practice game is planned," Gavaskar told a TV channel.
"If the (BCCI) technical committee is not taken into confidence when the fixture is planned what is the point of having the committee," he fumed.
Gavaskar said that the home series against the West Indies should have been planned in reverse order with the ODIs held first before the Test matches so that the players go to Australia in Test cricket mode.
India lost their sixth consecutive Test abroad with an innings and 68-run defeat in the second Test against Australia in Sydney today and Gavaskar blamed it on too much of limited overs cricket.
"We played too much of limited over cricket. We play in slow and low pitches whereas in Australia the pitches are very hard. It`s not easy to adjust from playing on frontfoot to playing at backfoot," he said.
Gavaskar said pacer Praveen Kumar, who missed Australia tour due to an injury, should be sent there if he is fit.
"I think the selectors picked the best available team barring Praveen Kumar who of course could not go to Australia due to injury. But from the way Ben Hilfenhaus was swinging the ball Praveen Kumar should have done well," he said.
"Praveen is slower than Hilfenhaus but he should have swung the ball. I don`t know his fitness status but PK should be sent now if he is fit after doing whatever fitness test on him," said the former captain.
Gavaskar also advised the media not to focus on Sachin Tendulkar`s elusive 100th international ton but said the veteran batsman should have played in the ODI series against the West Indies to notch up the feat so that "monkey was off from his back".
"We have been talking about Tendulkar`s impending 100th international ton for the past nine months. He himself has said that it`s just a number and not worried about scoring or not scoring the 100th century.
"I would advise the media not to mention a single word on his 100th ton. But he should have played against West Indies in ODI series. He could have scored his 100th ton and could have gone to Australia without this hype," said Gavaskar.
"The monkey would have been off from his back if he had scored his 100th ton against West Indies," he added.