Srikkanth says fatigue not an issue
Kris Srikkanth, India's chief selector, has blamed the collective batting failure for series defeat in England, and said the loss had nothing to do with fatigue or poor preparation.
"If you see the FTP, all countries are playing cricket 365 days a year whether England or Australia," Srikkanth said. "It is not the Indians only. The fact is that cricket is being played the whole year in whatever format - Test, ODI or Twenty20. So I don't think that it is the fatigue factor for the performance in England."
However in the last 12 months India have played more Tests than any other team and more one-day games than anyone except Pakistan. In addition to 14 Tests and 29 ODIs over the past year, India's players also took part in the gruelling IPL, which began within a week of the World Cup final.
In the first three Tests this series, India have not managed to post a total in excess of 300, and Rahul Dravid is the only batsman to have averaged more than 40. Srikkanth said the batting had failed to perform as a unit. "The batting did not click for us. In the Indian side, if batting clicks everything clicks. We also did not do well in bowling and fielding. England bowling attack is ideally suited for the conditions.
"It is a fact that our top five batsmen have not clicked in the series so far. But the same bunch of cricketers have been doing well during the last couple of years. The same combination had defeated South Africa in South Africa. It our bad luck that in this particular tour nothing has clicked for us."
India had England struggling at 124 for 8 in the first innings at Trent Bridge, but a ninth-wicket 74-run partnership between Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann played a crucial role in England getting to 221. Srikkanth said India's failure to capitalise on the opportunity was one of the key turning points in the series. "It is a question of mental toughness and our cricketers are mentally very tough ... [but] at 124 for 8, if you look at it psychologically ... psychologically there we lost the battle," he told NDTV.
The BCCI has been criticised by former cricketers for its failure to prioritise Test cricket, but Srikkanth defended the Indian board. "Let us not indulge in the blame game - on the players or the administrators or the BCCI. Nobody is to be blamed and it's not the time for that. It is just that we are going through a bad phase."
England have replaced India at the top of the Test rankings, but while Srikkanth was confident India would be able to bounce back, he said it was time to rebuild the team. "We have to learn from the series in England, look into what went wrong. We also have to identify and support new talent when the time comes," he said.
"We all have to put our heads together and plan for the future," Srikkanth told the Times of India. "We have to start the process all over again without complaining. We have to try our various combinations to get the best team like we did before the World Cup. We even dropped Yuvraj Singh, who came back strongly into the ODI team and left a huge impact on the tournament. We want to do similar things now."