Former Indian captain Kapil Dev lashed out at the Indian players for lacking team spirit in the ongoing Test series against England and also criticised senior cricketers, including captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar, for not motivating the youngsters in the team.
The former all-rounder, who led India to its maiden World Cup title in 1983, slammed Dhoni`s men for "going through the motion more than their love for the game" during the ongoing four-match series which England have already pocketed 3-0.
"Indian players did not play as a team. I am not trying to blame anybody but I think they played too much cricket. Within four days of winning the World Cup you play IPL. They then travel to West Indies for a tour and then from there to England. I think our players were going through the motion more than their love for the game", Kapil said in an interview.
Asked whether there were any other reason for the humiliating defeat against England which has dislodged India from the number one position, Kapil said the seniors have not played a role in guiding the youngsters during the tour.
"No cricketer walked up to young bowlers to advise them on what line to bowl. Dhoni could go up to Ishant and tell this. Media termed him as `Captain Cool`. He says everybody should know their job.
"In Indian sports, we have not reached that level where all the players know what they should do. We still look up to captain and senior players. We need somebody with aggression. All the senior players have become so senior that they do not want to be aggressive", he said.
Following are the excerpts from Kapil Dev`s interview.
Q: What is your take on Dhoni and team spirit?
Kapil: Everybody go ga ga about Sachin Tendulkar that `I learn from him and so on`. If you ask Virender Sehwag who is your guru he will say Sachin. If you ask Yuvraj, he will say Sachin. But I have never seen Sehwag or Sachin or Laxman, with their bundle of experience in batting, walking up to the bowlers to advise them the correct line to bowl. I do not know whether I am making sense or not.
But in my opinion, the new theory in Indian cricket is that bowlers have to work themselves and batsmen need to do everything by themselves. The required guidance is not there. May be I cannot see that what they talk about. I was not on the ground or in the dressing room. My observations are totally based on what I see on television.
Q: Are the Indian cricketers too tired now ?
Kapil: No. Not tiredness. When you play well there is nothing like you are tired. When you don`t play well then all those negative thinking sets in your mind. England played very good cricket, perhaps it is after 15 or 20 years that England looks like an English team in every sense. The difference between England and India is that England has great all-rounders, who can bat in between and bowl well. They have two or three such cricketers in their team. They are the trump cards in their team and they are the strength. From 80 for eight they were good enough to make 250 or 270. Unfortunately our team looked totally lost because we do not have a single all-rounder.
Q: Do you think the selectors should have given rest to some of the players by picking youngsters who had played for India earlier?
Kapil: If players are injured, what can you do. All such questions are raised when we fail to perform. If youngsters are given chances and still we lose, you would ask why Sachin or Rahul are not played and why all youngsters to England. Such arguments will become endless. It is easy to talk all these things from outside. Easiest thing in this world is to do post-mortem.
Q: Do you think the conditions in England were to the disadvantage of India?
Kapil: The bottomline for the series loss is that the English bowlers were attuned to their job and they bowled together and did not give up their goals. We have five cricketers who have on average played more than 15 Tests in English conditions and they have not delivered.
Q: Any other reason for India`s poor performance?
Kapil: The sad part throughout the series was that on the second day of a Test, Dhoni was bowling. I am not saying whether should he bowl or not. But, the situation when he bowled was different when you are having four bowlers. You are not playing in the sub-continent where after 70 or 80 overs you can say light is bad and match could be called off. We have to play 90 overs and all the main bowlers have to bowl minimum 20 overs each. Are they used to bowl 20-overs each? Unfortunately, they are not used to. If one bowler is injured then other main bowlers should bowl at least 25 overs each. Then the captain has to call the all-rounder to bowl for a brief period. In the past, Sehwag or Ganguly used to bowl when the pressure was less. Neither them nor Sachin could bowl 20 overs on the trot.
Q: Why India did not cash in on the chances they got?
Kapil: We did get our chances. In the second Test also, we had a chance but we did not avail those chances. We were totally lost and England outplayed us in every department.
Q: The blame game has started and who do you think is responsible for the debacle?
Kapil: I do not want to get in to that. Only thing is that these boys are good enough and they are still doing well. As long as they can play, we should support them. I think that that call has to be taken by the Board and the selectors.
Q: What is your advise to the players?
Kapil: Ten years ago, I said to Sachin to enjoy his game. He has said to newspapers that he is enjoying his game. But according to me he is enjoying his game only during the last two years. I think Sachin played his best cricket during the last two years. His knocks were unparallelled in the manner in which he set new records. Had he not been enjoying his game, there would have been few runs but his approach to the game would have been different. Now I can see that he is enjoying. So, it is entirely up to him to decide as to what to do and achieve it too.
Q: What do you think is needed in order to reduce the
number of matches played by India in a season?
Kapil: The fixture of four years is already set. I had talked to Rajiv Shukla on this and he says that the players are at liberty to take rest whenever they require to. But, nobody would like to take rest because they are unsure of their place in the team if they opt out as the next player would seal his berth. It is for the Board to decide as to how much cricket that they want to give to players.
Q: What is your view on setting norms for becoming Selection Panel members that he should have played for India?
Kapil: I think it is not a bad idea to set some qualification norms for such posts. It always gives you better results. People who have played for the country also deserve to be in the other posts in the Board.