Birmingham: Former India captain Sourav Ganguly feels that the Indian cricket team has sunk to a new low in the Test series against England and said he has not seen the side like this in the last 10 years.
Indians have looked completely off-colour in the Test series so far and particularly in the third Test – dropping catches, bowling without menace and letting England take a lead of 486 runs.
After getting bundled out for 224 in the first innings of the on-going third Test, India allowed England to score a massive 710 for seven to pose a huge challenge to the visitors to save the match, the series and their number one Test status.
"I agree (with the criticism), and let us accept we were very ordinary. The worst day was Thursday (second day of the match where India could take only three wickets for 372 runs from 90 overs). I have not seen an Indian team like this in the last 10 years," one of India`s most successful captains told BBC`s Test Match Special programme in an interview.
Already trailing 0-2 in the four-match Test series with the third Test also almost over for them, the Indian team has been criticised of suffering from fatigue, a lack of interest in Test cricket from players who can, and do, earn much more money through playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
But Ganguly believes that it was the lack of preparation which has resulted in India`s dismal performance in the series.
"You cannot just turn up and win Test series against good sides," said the cricketer-turned-commentator.
"I`ve felt that when we guys from the subcontinent went to England, Australia or South Africa we needed two warm-up games (India had just the one practice match before this series). And look at England in Australia a few months ago: they had three proper warm-up games and had other guys out there as well on standby," he added.
Insisting that the end of The England series would not be the end of the careers for the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, the former Test cricketer said, "We have a tour of Australia this winter and really need to take the likes of Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman there.”
"This is the first series we have done poorly, home or away, for the last seven or eight years. It is just one of those series that haven`t gone well for India."
He, however, admitted that it was disappointing that players of the calibre of Tendulkar, so far, has looked so ordinary.
"But, yes, it is disappointing because I can tell you that, as Indians, we really look forward to this tour. People like Dravid and Tendulkar take a lot of pride in performing over here.”
"Test cricket matters to us. Indian people still want their team to be No 1 in Test cricket. The World Cup is special for any country. But Test cricket is the format of the game," he insisted.
Ganguly said while the new coach Duncan Fletcher might be finding it difficult to deal with huge personalities in the dressing room but maintained that once everything starts to fall in place, the coach could be in for a treat.
"These are very mature boys. And I guarantee you, Duncan Fletcher will have a good time looking after them. He`s had a tough time so far this series. But I bet once they start winning he will have a great time because they are well behaved, professional people," Ganguly said.