Adelaide: Facing intense criticism for failing to put up even a semblance of fight in the 0-4 Test series loss to Australia, stand-in Indian skipper Virender Sehwag today tried to defend the team`s performance, insisting that such debacles happen to every international side.
Sehwag urged the fans and media to back the team when it is down in the dumps after India lost the final Test by 298 runs at Adelaide Oval today to sign off with a 0-4 scoreline.
"If you look at even Australia, they lost the Ashes and were all out for 47 in South Africa. It happens to every team," said Sehwag when asked about the abject surrender, their second successive series defeat on foreign soil after the disaster in England last year.
"They (fans and media) should be upset with our performance, I agree. But this is the time fans should back team and players. This is the time we need support from fans and everybody should back their team," said Sehwag as he faced a barrage of questions.
"When we won the World Cup, everybody was happy and cheering Team India. This is the time we need support. Every other media does it, be it England, South Africa or Australia. They criticise in a manner the player doesn`t go down. They don`t do it in the manner that a team and a player goes down when they read articles and watch television."
Trying to explain the debacle, the opener, who is himself under scrutiny for his poor form and reckless shot selection, defended his senior teammates -- all of whom came a cropper.
"We didn`t bat well there (in England) and we also didn`t` bat well here. Our top 6-7 batsmen didn`t` score enough runs for bowlers to win the games. In England, Rahul (Dravid) scored three hundreds. Here only Virat Kohli did it," he said.
"We were not able to convert our 50 partnerships into 100s, 200s and 300s. That was lacking. There are couple of examples. In the first Test, when Dravid and Sachin were batting, there were good stands. Suddenly Sachin got out to a good ball and next day Dravid was out", Sehwag said.
"We did well in this regard in the past. In Adelaide too in the past (in 2003-04), we were 80 for 4 when Rahul and Laxman put together over 300 runs," he added.
Sehwag didn`t believe the team missed the opportunity of not looking at technical issues confronting them in the series.
"Nobody was working on techniques because they were experienced. They can handle it, they were making mistakes, making note of it and trying not to repeat it."
India`s performance on the placid Adelaide track was particularly disappointing. Also the manner Sehwag got out to full tosses in both innings.
"Yes, I was disappointed. Even in the first innings I got out to a full toss. The moment I saw a full toss, I thought it was the ball to be hit for a four or a six. I tried to hit it and got out. It was disappointing but that`s the way I play," he conceded.
"This wicket was like a typical Indian wicket to go out and score runs. There was nothing happening for the bowlers on the first two days. It`s difficult to explain what went wrong.”
"We didn`t bat well, we didn`t give good starts as openers."
Sehwag gave credit to Australia as better of the two teams and look at his own failings as a batsman.
"They are better than us that`s why they won the series. They played better than us. It`s important for Indian players to do well overseas. I have not done well so I have to look at myself and plan when I come back and go overseas next.”
"The best way is to forget what happened and concentrate on what you would do in coming matches and series. You have to practice had, plan well and execute it in the game."
Sehwag backed the seniors insisting that the retirement call was entirely up to the individuals and the juniors need to earn their spots.
"Our batting is the same for the last couple of years. We did really well in 2007-09. Unfortunately, we didn`t do well in two big overseas series.”
"We were looking forward to it and suddenly we didn`t do well and let down the team. It`s individual`s responsibility to play for self and team and end up with big total, at least 300-400 and then bowlers can do the job. It`s disappointing to everyone," he said.
"We have to look at ourselves. What went wrong with us and then we have to take a call. It`s an individual`s call like, I didn`t perform overseas, I haven`t scored a hundred overseas for the last couple of years. So I have to look at myself what I have to do when I go to England, South Africa and Australia. It`s an individual thing."
"The retirement -- that`s the team management and selectors would decide. It`s not me or anyone else would decide. If they think it needs to change, they would do it. If they want them to carry on and wait to see other players to perform, they would take the call.”
"As for juniors, it depends when they get the chance to play Test cricket, only then they would do well."
Sehwag believed it was unfair to hit out at coach Duncan Fletcher, who has failed miserably on two successive overseas tours or to criticise the cricketers as if they didn`t care.
"It`s unfair. Everyone cares for his performance and when the team loses. We are passionate about our game, we are passionate about our team. We are trying but it`s not happening. It doesn`t mean we are happy to lose here”.
"Fletcher is a good coach. He`s talking to a lot of batsmen, giving them inputs, making strategies...players have let the team down, not the supporting staff. They are doing everything, they are throwing to top 7-8 players. They are making sure players would perform," he said.