Sunil Gavaskar has slammed India for going down to an innings defeat in the second Test in Ahmedabad and raised questions about the players' priorities. His comments come in the wake of India's cricketers being criticised for devoting more time to the Indian Premier League build-up than to the Test series.
"Disappointing as the performance is, the question that is being asked is whether the Indian team was prepared for the second Test," Gavaskar wrote in his syndicated column a couple of days after India's humiliating innings-and-90-run defeat in Ahmedabad. "Even after considering that the teams spent five hot and humid days in Chennai, the absence of some players for two whole days out of the three rest days between the two Tests was strange to say the least.
"In the squad are players who have hardly played any Test cricket since end of January. Yes, there were some who went on to play the Commonwealth Bank tri-series in Australia but hadn't done much and so could have done with an extra session at the nets rather than dancing at the launch of their franchise."
Gavaskar also urged the new coach, Gary Kirsten, to put the house in order. "One can even understand that it helps if players go back to their families especially if they have been away for a long time. But after just a week away from home, where is the need for players to go home? Gary Kirsten better crack the whip, else some of the guys will ride roughshod over him.
"If a player who has got more than 600 wickets [Anil Kumble] can practice on the optional practice day, why can't a player who has got a pasting in the previous Test? And pray what is optional practice? A player like [Virender] Sehwag, who got 319, being given a day off from practice is fine, or, for that matter, a bowler who has bowled a lot, but those guys who hardly got a wicket and looked unlikely to get one, opting not to practice doesn't speak highly of their commitment.
"They should have been going hard at the nets, trying to get their wrist position and footwork right rather than practicing their dancing steps. It's about time they realised that they are what they are because of cricket."