A collective failure, says chief selector Srikkanth
Kris Srikkanth, India's chief selector, has called India's losses in Australia "devastating" but saying the selectors had picked the best possible squad. Srikkanth said the 0-3 scoreline in the Test series in Australia - with one Test to play - was the result of a collective failure and the selectors alone were not to blame.
"Everybody can list any number of reasons for why the team has done badly. But don't you agree that this was the best squad available?" Srikkanth asked reporters after India's defeat in Perth by an innings and 37 runs. "If you people want me, as the chairman of the selection committee, to take the blame I am ready to do that. But will that solve the problem? We picked players who have scored 8000-10,000 runs in Test cricket and all of a sudden the top six are failing together. You can't blame an individual for this. This is a collective failure."
Srikkanth stuck to his belief that the failure of the batting line-up was behind India's abject performance on the tours of England and Australia, though he said it was too soon for a post-mortem of the series. "It is the same problem that we had during the England series. In the last two series, the batsmen have struggled to find form. I don't think too much of a post-mortem will lead us anywhere.
Meanwhile, Rajiv Shukla, the BCCI vice-president and IPL chairman, dismissed the suggestion that India's test decline was caused, at least in part, by the importance the board attached to the IPL. Shukla said all teams had players involved in the IPL, so that could not be used as an excuse for India's poor performance.
"It is wrong to blame the IPL for everything," Shukla said. "The Australia players such as David Warner and Shane Watson also play in the IPL, how are they performing well? [Watson has not played a part in the Test series against India].
"It is also wrong to say that the players are tired. The IPL ended in May and so many series have passed since. There is no compulsion on any player to play all matches."
Shukla said all teams had disappointing periods in cricket, and that the Indian team management would take steps to ensure a better performance on the rest of the tour. "We admit that the team's performance has not been up to expectations," he said. "But it happens with all teams. Recently, former world champions Sri Lanka were all out for just 47 [43, against South Africa in Paarl].
"We have won on foreign soil in the past. No one says anything then; all this criticism has been raked up due to defeats in England and Australia. Corrective measures will be taken by the team management so that the team does better in the final Test and the ODI tri-series."
**0830 GMT, Jan 16: A quote attributed to the BCCI president N Srinivasan was removed after he denied making it