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    Former players criticise India's poor show, call for changes

    New Delhi: India's meek surrender in two consecutive Tests against England on home turf was Sunday lambasted by former players, who felt it was high time the selectors made players accountable for their shambolic performance. India lost by seven wickets in the third Test in Kolkata to concede an unassailable 2-1 series lead to England, who had earlier mauled the hosts by 10 wickets in the second match in Mumbai.

    "England were well-prepared while India were over confident. The Indian preparation for this important series was diabolical," said former captain and ex-chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar. "When we went to England we played one warm-up game before plunging into the Test series. The same happened when we went to Australia. By contrast England's preparations were very good. I hope the selectors show vision and courage of conviction. At least a couple of changes are expected straightaway," he said.

    Another former chief selector Kris Srikkanth directed his ire towards skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, calling him confused. "Definitely Dhoni is confused. He does not know what to do and when things go out of control he just lets them drift away," he said. Kiran More, also a former selector, said some changes should be made to the side ahead of the fourth Test starting on Thursday in Nagpur. "We were outplayed in all departments and if you don't score 450 plus in the first innings on a track that was provided, you are already on the backfoot. At this point of time you cannot have wholesale changes, may be one or two changes for the next Test match.

    "I don't want to blame the captain alone because it has been a collective failure," he said. "India's body language is just not good. I don't think they can win in Nagpur unless they show remarkable improvement," Boycott added. Former captain Mohammed Azharudding said,"It was a disappointing performance and it was time for youngsters to get a chance." Former coach Ajit Wadekar said the Indians seemed over-confident. "Indians' body language showed they were complacent while England had come well-prepared. They spent time in Dubai and Sri Lanka before coming here and were determined to do well.

    Our middle order failed miserably and their spinners Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann bowled much better than ours," he declared. "(Ravichandran) Ashwin seems to be a better batsman than a bowler and could be promoted up the batting order," he quipped. Raja Venkat, who was a national selector till two months back, feels that the quality of England team attack has made the difference. "Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar have bowled much much better than Ravichandran Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha. You need to understand that if you are clamouring for turning tracks then you are making it easier for the English spinners simply because they are far superior than our Indian counterparts.

    "Let's be honest, Swann is the best off-spinner in the world, keeping Saeed Ajmal in mind. Because Swann has the loveliest classical action that you can find and he is a far better off spinner than Ashwin." Another former chief selector Bapu Nadkarni termed it as a "batting failure" because, according to him, the Indian batsmen were satisfied to make 60-70 runs and then get out. "It was batting failure. It was poor batting on a pitch that was not difficult to bat on and was a slow turner. Our batsmen have forgotten the art of playing Test match and are satisfied with a 30-40 or 60-70," said the former left-arm spinner.

    "It's a question of patience. Cricket Test matches are a test of patience," said Nadkarni who also blamed the limited over mentality for the bowlers' inability to stick to a consistent line and length. "Tell me how many bowlers are consistent in their line and length? Bowling in a 50-over or T20 game is different to bowling in Tests. When the one-day game had come I had said it is not very good for Test cricket. Now the T20 game has taken it further," he remarked. He, however, left it to the cricket administrators to deal with issues like T20 cricket and wanted the individual players to decide what was good for them.

    "It's an open field. It's upto the individual players to decide whether to concentrate on playing for the country or on other things. It's upto the cricket administrators to decide about T20 cricket schedule," he said. Former Test and ODI swing bowler Balwinder Singh Sandhu praised England for their superior preparedness for the series. "We thought by making turning wickets we would win but they played better cricket on the same wickets. They were better prepared. They handled spin bowling much better," said Sandhu, a member of teh 1983 World Cup winning squad.