England v India, 2nd npower Test, Trent Bridge August 2, 2011

Ganguly rips into India's build-up

ESPNcricinfo staff

Former India captain Sourav Ganguly has slammed the team's preparations for the high-profile England tour, saying the amount of cricket being played cannot be used as an excuse for their poor show in the first two Tests. His comments came shortly after MS Dhoni had suggested that the start of the tour less than a week after three back-to-back Tests in the Caribbean had affected India's performance.

"I'm too fed up hearing this "time to recover" [excuse] - don't play for India then, you know this is what it is, you have to come back and play a Test series," Ganguly told Indian news channel Headlines Today / Aaj Tak. "And it was an important Test series, it was a marquee Test series to decide who was the No. 1 Test side in the world and you cannot say that. Okay you've lost and you haven't played well, the matter ends there, just accept that and move on."

India's No. 1 ranking is now in jeopardy after two thumping defeats to England, who now only need to draw the remaining Tests to take the top spot. Ganguly urged the Indian players to move on from the demoralising two weeks.

"You have to put it behind ... You are 28, 29, 30, you won't get to play for India all your life. Make the most when you get it, once it goes, you won't get it back, even how much you want it."

Ganguly also lashed out at India's "soft cricket" and the long-standing failings against the bouncer, singling out the younger batsmen who are yet to cement their place. "The number of batsmen who got out to the short deliveries today was appalling," he said. "Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Abhinav Mukund - it was an opportunity for them to establish themselves, Raina and Yuvraj are fighting for a place in the Test squad to get that No. 6 slot which is still vacant for a long long time now."

At Trent Bridge, Gautam Gambhir's absence due to injury disrupted India's batting order, pushing Rahul Dravid to the opening spot and VVS Laxman to No. 3 - a position Ganguly felt Laxman was unsuited for in seaming conditions. "Laxman is comfortable against the bouncing ball because that's his technique, he hangs back. But the moment the ball starts swinging, he doesn't get on the front foot. He should be batting five or six."

He also questioned the absence of a back-up opener in the squad, especially after Virender Sehwag was ruled out of the first two Tests. "You must remember - every time you travel abroad, you have to carry three openers. They knew Sehwag was injured, and you needed to carry some, what's wrong with Wasim Jaffer? What wrong has that kid done?"

Another source of disappointment for Ganguly was the batting of the Indian tail-enders. While India's final four wickets contributed only 118 runs in the two innings at Trent Bridge - most of those runs coming too late to impact the course of the game - England's tail put on 338. "You look at [Stuart] Broad, [Tim] Bresnan, [Graeme] Swann they had put a price on their wicket; but that was not the case with Praveen Kumar, Sreesanth, even Harbhajan Singh until he did in the second innings," he said. "Rahul Dravid was stuck with them in the first innings and they kept falling like nine pins. In the second innings, we saw today Sachin Tendulkar was batting and they kept getting out."

The series and the No. 1 ranking are still not lost for India, and they will be boosted by the return of Gambhir for the third Test, and two other key players - Sehwag and Zaheer Khan - could also be back. "India need to quickly recover from this; they have a Test match in Birmingham in a week's time, and have a lot of issues to settle."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jay on August 5, 2011, 22:58 GMT

    I agree completely with Ganguly.

  • ankur on August 5, 2011, 19:58 GMT

    I for sure do not think England are the #1 side...they beat a weak Australian team & half a 2nd string Indian Team who are coming out of the World Cup, IPL & West Indies tour. What has England done since the World Cup? They have a fully fit team & aren't suffering from fatigue. Sure Dad shouldn't be the one complaining of the short ball but it is try why is everyone so sublime to it, just duck or move or pull. Sehwag plays it well & yes Dhoni needs to contribute but he has done everything right till now so give him a break & give Harbhajan a wake up call by dropping him. Come on let's back our Indian team they deserve remember the Dhoni 6 to win the WCUP...I say 2-2 series draw what are the odds..

  • Stud on August 5, 2011, 11:05 GMT

    No synergy, No Team work, no fighting spirit by the bowlers. Nothing done right. If Bhaji is not suited to bowl then why is he in the team. Tired of seeing the young batsmen's poor test cricket techniques. The bowlers have no penetration. Even in English conditions Indian bowlers can't get wickets. Bowlers need to take more responsibility.

  • Dummy4 on August 5, 2011, 8:43 GMT

    Wasim Jaffer EXCELLENT INDIAN BATSMAN Bring Him On

  • indy on August 5, 2011, 7:02 GMT

    India is running out of LUCK... SL played way better than in ENG...I remember some Indian fans were making comments like What SL has achieved... Well now what ur team have achieved in ENG.. 2 losses..

  • Ramana Kumar on August 4, 2011, 21:54 GMT

    For people cursing Ganguly, look at his statistics please. He has a career average of 42.17 with 16 centuries and 35 fifties at his position down. Nobody cares whether he could play short balls or not. But, he could stay at the crease and score runs. Usually at a brisk pace. Handling short balls is not always playing pull shorts. Leaving them and surviving against them is the most important thinkg. He did that reasonably everywhere. Check cricinfo http://tinyurl.com/GangulyTestStatistics He averages 65 in England infact. Now, look at Dhoni's statistics. http://tinyurl.com/DhoniTestStatistics and look at his statistics especially overseas. Only in Bangladesh, he has a good average. I am not surprised with similar stats against Yuvraj too. Raina is new and needs to give him a bit more time. If Dada gives a wake up call, wake up Indian team/board ! Btw, why no call for overseas specialist Rohit Sharma yet? Why Kohli again who was exposed against short pitched bowling in WI?

  • Dummy4 on August 4, 2011, 21:01 GMT

    Poor performance of India team will continue until Indian batsmen are OK playing pace pitcches. Very few technically correct batmen like Dravid ,VVSL,Gambir,Sunny G knows how to face face comming balls. Sachin also capable but not performing whever needed. Saurav is correct some way. Dhonis excueses are not real excuses . Why can't Inida have 1 or 2 pace pitches build for practice.Willl be helpful for pace bowlers also.No money is it so? Currently Engalnd team is better .I am not sure India can make next 2 test matches draw atleast.

  • Shankar on August 4, 2011, 19:25 GMT

    Ganguly is trying is best to become part of the management team,if not the manager. But, what he says makes some sense. But, it is indeed quite surprising that umpires did not stop the flurry of short-balls. I had thought that they could only bowl one bouncer per over. Has this rule changed?

  • Sachin on August 4, 2011, 19:22 GMT

    does dhoni bring anything to the table apart from 'luck' and the occasional 50? Let alone stunning catches or even vague signs of batting consistency..

  • Prashant on August 4, 2011, 18:13 GMT

    Dada ma man. Everyone remembers how 'well' you played the short ball. Don't get me wrong, I have the utmost respect for you. But you, of all people, should know that it isn't easy for the Indian team (although I'm not sure why) to play short balls. Say they didn't prepare enough, I agree. Say they are quoting volume of cricket as excuse, I agree (to some extent). But don't make it sound like you were an absolutely awesome player of the short delivery and you just can't seem to understand why the current Indian team is unable to deal with it. Just back them. That's what the team needs right now. Everyone's backing. They won the freakin' WC just months ago for God's sake! 90% of these people who think they are qualified to make comments aren't good at anything they do in their lives. Yet these are the people that pass judgment on Indian players who have, for a fact, performed well on the field many a times.

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