Former captains fear slide for India

“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.”

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.”

Chief selector Kris Srikkanth blamed India’s collective batting failure for their poor performances, and said it had nothing to do with fatigue or poor preparation in the lead-up to the series.

“If you see the FTP, all countries are playing cricket 365 days a year whether England or Australia,” Srikkanth told PTI. “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.

“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.”

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