'We also won 2-0 in India'
India continue to keep bringing up their home record in response to their back-to-back 0-4 whitewashes in England and Australia. The moment the question about the whitewashes was asked, Virender Sehwag shot back even before it could be finished, "We also won 2-0 in India."
Sehwag didn't see a big difference in the way the team has been performing, just that the "time is not good". "Everybody is practising hard at home, and then we came here and practised really hard," he said. "We make our own plans, and it didn't click. It happens with every team, with every player. The time is not good for Indian team, for individuals, so maybe that's why we are not scoring runs.
"The moment the time changes, the next year we will see, or in the coming series, we will see our top order giving starts and middle order coming in and score big hundreds. It happens. If I am making any plans I won't tell you guys. I will go and execute in the ground rather than telling you."
Sehwag said this is the same team that has been doing well for the last few years. "Our batting has been the same for last couple of years," he said. "We were doing well in 2007, 2008, 2009. We performed really well as a team and as a batting unit. But unfortunately we didn't do well in these two series. We were looking forward to these series and suddenly didn't do well and we let down our team. It's individual responsibility to go out there and play for themselves and play for the team. And to make sure we end up with a good total of at least 300 or 400, and then our bowlers can do the job. So it's disappointment for everybody."
Sehwag also revealed that the fan and media reaction might have got to the team. "They should be upset with our performances, and I agree with them," he said. "But this is the time the fans should back the team, back the players. When we won the World Cup everybody was happy, and everybody was cheering for India.
"Now is the time we need the support from fans and everybody. They should back their own team. Which [is what] every media did. Even England media or Australia media or South Africa media, they back their teams. They criticise in such a manner that the player will not go down. They criticise their performances but they don't criticise in such a manner that the team will go down when they read the articles and see the television."
Sehwag said it was unfair to say that the India team didn't care about these defeats. "It's very unfair. Everybody cares about their performance. We are very passionate about the game, and we are passionate about the team. It's a shame if somebody is writing like that, saying like that. If you lose the game, you should go out there and work it out and what went wrong and come back and perform well in next game. We are trying that, but it is not happening. It doesn't mean that we are happy to lose."
Sehwag said there were no technical flaws with the Indian batsmen, who he said were the main reason why India went down. "I don't think technically there is a fault," he said. "Nobody was working on their technical thing because they think they have played enough cricket and they have experience and they can handle. I think they realised they were making mistakes, and they were trying to not make the same mistakes in the next games."
Sehwag accepted responsibility for his failures overseas. He has not scored a century outside the subcontinent in four years. "It's important for an opener to do well overseas, and I haven't done well. So I need to look at myself and make a good plan for the next time I go overseas. That's true."
Sehwag was asked if Indian cricket needed the kind of review Australia went through after their Ashes defeat last year. "We have to look at ourselves. What went wrong with us. And then we have to take a call." When asked what kind of review it should be, Sehwag focussed more on the individual than a systemic overhaul.
"It's an individual thing," he said. "I haven't performed well overseas, I haven't scored a hundred overseas for the last couple of tours. I have to look at myself and see what I need to do when I go to Australia or England or South Africa or New Zealand. It's my personal thing. Nothing related with the team."
The general refrain, though, remained that India didn't need big changes. "Because we were playing the same team in the last couple of years and we became the No. 1 team with the same batting line-up, the same bowling line-up."
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo