Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar blamed poor technique for India’s dismal show in the Test series in England, saying the tourists looked like a ‘school boys team’.
India went 2-0 down in the four-match series after losing to England by 319 runs on the fourth day at Trent Bridge. Drawn games in the last two matches will enable England to dethrone MS Dhoni’s Indians as the top-ranked Test team.
“India were totally outplayed by England in the second Test so much so that it looked like a contest between a professional team and a school boys team,” said the former opener. “The batting has failed to get to 300 in four innings and the bowling in both Tests has faded away after a bright beginning.
“India’s lower order is just not technically sound enough, and if a player knows he is technically struggling then mentally he stops fighting too,” said Gavaskar, the first batsman to score 10,000 Test runs. “Not that the top order has shown any great technique, especially the youngsters who plunder millions of runs on Indian pitches getting onto the front foot and then suddenly find that when it comes to overseas pitches and the quicker bowlers, they just don’t know how to play off the back foot.”
Rahul Dravid has looked the best Indian batsman on the tour with two hundreds, while VVS Laxman has made two half-centuries and Sachin Tendulkar one.
‘India needs hunger to win’
India can bounce back in the ongoing four-Test series in England if they get their ‘hunger and intent back’, says former captain and leg-spin great Anil Kumble.
Injuries to key players Zaheer Khan, Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh also added to their woes in the last two Tests at Lord’s and Trent Bridge. Hard-hitting opener Sehwag is set to return for the last two matches, while Gambhir and Zaheer are expected to be fit for the third Test starting at Edgbaston on August 10.
“I am hoping Zaheer, and everyone else in the squad, will be 100 per cent fit,” said Kumble the world’s third-highest wicket-taker in Tests. “Sehwag will help for obvious reasons, so I am confident this team can bounce back.
“India are capable of winning the next Test but they have to get that hunger and intent back. The 10-day break, as well as the fact that Sehwag and Gambhir are coming in, will definitely help because the batting will look more settled,” he added.
“The guys scoring the runs are those who have honed their technique on the longer version of the game. Others, who destroy bowling where the ball does not come above the waist, are finding how tough Test cricket really is.”
“The way we lost hurt more than the loss itself. These are the same players who have taken Indian cricket to such great heights. Sehwag joins the team and even if he fails in the two-day warm-up game he must still play in the next Test.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th, 2011.
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