England v India, 3rd npower Test, Edgbaston, 4th day August 14, 2011

Former captains fear slide for India

ESPNcricinfo staff

India's dismal performance in England has seen them lose the No. 1 ranking in Tests, and several former captains and players concur that it could be a while before they regain the position. A lack of preparation has been pointed out as one of the chief reasons for India's three consecutive losses, and Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, the former India captain, does not think the Indian board will learn their lesson and plan more meticulously for future series

"I don't want to sound like a pessimist but I fear the players are going to say it's only a bad dream, just forget it and get on," he told PTI. "The BCCI is not going to show a great deal of vision. Cricket will continue the way it is but I sincerely hope that some sense does come in."

Sourav Ganguly, who led India to a 1-1 draw in England in 2002, said the performances were worrying and may not just constitute a one-off bad tour. "You can lose Test matches but losing three in a row and not scoring any big total, it is something to be worried about," Ganguly said. "Is it a one-off affair or the beginning of the demise of the side? We have to see."

What is particularly worrying for India is that their batting has failed despite the presence of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, who have 37,769 Test runs between them. Anil Kumble said things would only get harder for India once those three retired, and the challenge now was just to stay near the top rather than reclaim the No. 1 ranking. "You need to spot four-five players and invest in them, to ensure that they carry the responsibility of Indian cricket in future in place of the veterans," Kumble said. "We have Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Gautam Gambhir

"They have to be given a long rope. You may not see India come back at the top in quick time. But we have to ensure that with these youngsters, we remained in the top three and climb to top spot after a few years."

Former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar said that apart from the fact that India had very little time to prepare for the series, complacency had also played a role in their defeat.

"I knew that it will be a tough series for India considering the fact that they were up against a formidable team that's on song and consistent in their performance in recent times," Vengsarkar said.

"Besides, they have a better attack and as a team they had enough time to prepare themselves for the series. India on the other hand had come back from the gruelling series in West Indies, had a very little time to prepare and adapt to English conditions.

"I guess, the Indians had become a bit complacent after their good run in the last few seasons," he said.

Kumble's sentiments on the need to blood youngsters were echoed by Arun Lal, the former India batsman, who also said the magnitude of the loss in England may serve as a much-needed wake-up call for India and ensure they are better prepared for future tours.

"You cannot go on with 35 or 38-year-olds till eternity. There might be slowing down of the reflexes, weakening of eyesight etc. So we need to infuse new talent," Lal said. "We have to ensure that we have enough preparation before such tough series. The series loss and World No. 1 Test ranking slipping away is in a way good. We need an awakening."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • NAZ on August 17, 2011, 9:14 GMT

    well , indians still at it with xcuses. you were simply, defeated by a far mor superior team.

  • John on August 16, 2011, 21:49 GMT

    The former Indian captains are right. By the time India host England in 2012 Dravid and Tendulkar will be 39, Laxman 38, Zaheer and Sehwag 34. That's a very old team, not just in batting and bowling but even more importantly in fielding. You've seen in this series that every time England has kept India out in the field for a couple of days, they've batted poorly. In another year and a quarter they'll be that much older and less able to cope with the physical demands. Dravid has started dropping catches and after scoring two centuries in his first three innings has had 3 low scores in a row. Laxman has been out to poor strokes, likewise Tendulkar. India has had its time in the sun, this tour has been a sign that the great days are over and it's time to rebuild.

  • giovaughn on August 16, 2011, 20:15 GMT

    a slide now would be very ironic seeing that BCCI has been quite disrespectful to 4 of the bottom teams in Test Cricket i.e. Pakistan,West Indies , Bangladesh & Zimbabwe by refusing to tour, denying access to ipl, selecting 2nd string teams etc. With the imminent retirement of key players & the scarcity of quality test class bowlers on the field a slide down the ranks (perhaps even below some of these 4) is not a worry to be scoffed at. I hope that they will be able to hold on 4 some time after Sachin, Laxman, Dravid, Sehwag & Zaheer retire as India is scheduled to play the most test cricket during the current Future tours program period if i remember correctly. a weak team playing regularly does not promise exciting test cricket. Test cricket needs India to stay strong as BCCI have the money & the power in world cricket & i strongly doubt they will seek the best interest of the highest form of the game if India is performing poorly.

  • sankalp on August 16, 2011, 19:43 GMT

    It will take a lot for India to bounce back. Indian fans should not be too dissapointed if India spends a couple of years ranked No. 5/6 while they rebuild the team. Sachin, Dravid, and Laxman are greats, but replacements will take time. Do not get too frustrated! Meanwhile, fingers crossed that we come back in the fourth test.

  • Srinivas on August 16, 2011, 18:49 GMT

    @rkannancrown, Dinesh Karthik failing against spinners must be an aberration. Even Sachin, Dravid, VVS failed against Mendis. Dinesh Karthik is a fully rounded tremendous batsman with no weaknesses against spin or pace on any track, in any conditions. And a very very good keeper as well. What more do we need? In any other country, his position as keeper-batsman would have been his own by now.

  • Ganesh on August 16, 2011, 16:51 GMT

    Our players dont use their brains when playing because they cant differentiate between test and one day matches otherwise what is the necesicity of Tendulakar backing up so much does he think that he is going to win a match for India never.Its time to give some notice to raina, he is not a test player and give chance to Badari, instead these selectors plays him in One day matchs which is not is cup of Tea.And also its time to retire for Harbhajan since he is not going to take any wickets in the absence of Great Kumble

  • Anny on August 16, 2011, 15:12 GMT

    well well indian selectors have the following list to select from :

    openers -------- gambhir sehwag mukund vijay dhawan jaffer uthappa

    middle order ------------ badri kohli pujara raina rohit yuvi manoj tiwary manish pandey rahane rayudu saurabh tiwary yusuf ashok menaria

    keeper ------ dhoni ppatel karthik saha cm gautham

    spinners --------

    aswin bhajji ohja misra bhargav bhatt iqbal abdulla chawla jakati

    medium/fast ----------- ishanth munaf praveen rp sreesanth dinda vinay kumar s tyagi mithun arvind varun aron irfan pathan gony balaji sangwan

  • Vincent on August 16, 2011, 11:15 GMT


  • R on August 16, 2011, 10:59 GMT

    Kumble & Lal are correct that India needs to blood youngsters & have faith in them. Somehow, Kumble missed Pujara who looks better than the ones he mentioned. We should not forget that Ganguly's first tour (Australia in 1991) was a dissater & he was written off. Raina, Kohli & Yuvi are capable middle order players. Rohit Sharma has talent but has rarely scored against good fast bowling and his fielding means he needs to average atleast 20 more than the others to be considered. I also think the selectors need to relook at Dinesh Kartik. He scored runs in SA & England opening the batting when sehwag was out of form. He has failed against spinners but is the only one of the youngsters who scored against fast bowlers on the same tracks where the more promising younsters have failed.

  • Dummy4 on August 16, 2011, 8:28 GMT

    I'm obviously delighted by the 3-0 scoreline but was really hoping for a more challenging series. Dravid has played well but Tendulkar, Laxman et al have been poor. While its great to have a long time veteran surely a team can only carry one 35+ player at a time, otherwise their decline/retirement leaves you in a real hole. Australia found that out. But really, its got to be the bowling. Are Indian pitches really so flat that you don't have any bowlers?

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