India were overconfident and under-prepared: Vengsarkar
Mumbai: Slamming the Indian team for its lack of preparedness for the four-Test England series, in which the home team is down 1-2 with one game to go at Nagpur next week, former chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar said the onus is on the selectors to make at least a couple of changes to the side.
"England were well-prepared while India were over confident. The Indian preparation for this important series was diabolical," former captain Vengsarkar said after the visitors beat the hosts by seven wickets in the third and penultimate Test at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
"I hope the selectors show vision and courage of conviction. At least a couple of changes are expected straightaway," he added.
Vengsarkar pointed out that while England played three practice games in the run-up to the series to get acclimatised to the conditions, the Indian board did not field the Board President`s XI in any of the games.
"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. In contrast, England`s preparations were very good," the 116-Test veteran insisted.
Concurring with Vengsarkar`s views, another ex-captain Ajit Wadekar said that the Indians were complacent in their approach to the series.
"Indians` body language showed they were complacent while England had come well-prepared. 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," Wadekar quipped, more in jest.
Asked what should be the next step forward, More said,
"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."
Former batsman Kirti Azad ridiculed the team`s performance and praised the Englishmen for adapting to the conditions.
"It is not just the batsmen, it is the entire team. 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," he said.
Azad said the team lacks consistent performers.
"I think we have the best team on paper. 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," he said.
Former England captain Geoffery Boycott said India were "out-batted, out-bowled, out-fielded and out-energised by the England team."
"England showed remarkable comeback after the Ahmedabad Test. It was a huge challenge for them. In Ahmedabad, they lost because of the scoreboard pressure," he said.
Analysing Inida`s problems, Boycott said, "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.
"India`s body language is just not good. I don`t think they can win in Nagpur unless they show remarkable improvement," Boycott added.
Former captain Mohammed Azharudding said,"It was a disappointing performance and it was time for youngsters to get a chance."
Former coach Ajit Wadekar said the Indians seemed over-confident.
"Indians` body language showed they were complacent while England had come well-prepared. 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," he declared.
"(Ravichandran) Ashwin seems to be a better batsman than a bowler and could be promoted up the batting order," he quipped.
Raja Venkat, who was a national selector till two months back, feels that the quality of England team attack has made the difference.
"Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar have bowled much much better than Ravichandran Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha. 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."
Another former chief selector Bapu Nadkarni termed it as a "batting failure" because, according to him, the Indian batsmen were satisfied to make 60-70 runs and then get out.
"It was batting failure. 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," said the former left-arm spinner.
"It`s a question of patience. Cricket Test matches are a test of patience," said Nadkarni who also blamed the limited over mentality for the bowlers` inability to stick to a consistent line and length.
"Tell me how many bowlers are consistent in their line and length? 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 remarked.
He, however, left it to the cricket administrators to deal with issues like T20 cricket and wanted the individual players to decide what was good for them.
"It`s an open field. 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," he said.
Former Test and ODI swing bowler Balwinder Singh Sandhu praised England for their superior preparedness for the series.
"We thought by making turning wickets we would win but they played better cricket on the same wickets. They were better prepared. They handled spin bowling much better," said Sandhu, a member of teh 1983 World Cup winning squad.