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."