Former India cricketer and chief selector Sandeep Patil has lashed out at current skipper Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri for the team's spineless performance so far in the ongoing five-match Test series against England.
The visitors lost the first Test by a whisker in Edgbaston but the abject performance of the batsmen once again came to the fore at Lord's where India succumbed to a humiliating innings defeat in the second Test.
Patil, in his column for the Quint, took special note of Kohli's 'coffee' comment, which the Indian skipper had made before leaving for England. During the press-conference on the eve of India's flight to England, Kohli had said: "People have forgotten the Champions Trophy was also played in England. I was asked what I would do when I landed there, and I said I wanted to walk around the streets with a cup of coffee. My thinking is very different."
"We all clearly remember captain Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri’s joint press conference before leaving for the tour of England earlier this summer. One bold statement stood out, 'We have enough days to acclimatise in England and we are going to enjoy coffee'," wrote Patil.
"Seeing the performance of the Indian team in the first two Tests so far, the team really seems to have taken their skipper’s statement seriously – they are truly only enjoying the coffee in English conditions," he added.
Patil was also critical of the fact that the Indian team opted for a break before the Test series and played just one warm-up match, which too was changed from being a four-day game to just a three-day match.
"It is puzzling that when the BCCI provided the team the opportunity to play practice games, as was requested, coach Ravi Shastri and captain Kohli instead felt that rest was the best option for the team and played just a truncated three-day practice game in the 14 days between the ODI and Test series," wrote Patil.
"Great Indian cricketing idols Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly all voiced their concerns, but the current Indian team never felt like taking their advice."
Patil felt that the Indian cricketers have been playing in fear and their performances in England seem like that of a player who has just made his maiden senior bow at the international level.
"We are 2-0 down in the series with three more matches to go and I do feel especially bad because all these players who have extraordinary talent got themselves selected during my tenure as chief selector," wrote Patil.
"It amazes me that these extremely-talented cricketers, in the two Tests so far, have been looking like they are playing in fear, as if they are playing their debut match! As I said earlier, cricket is a cruel game. A game of glorious uncertainties. Yesterday’s heroes have become today’s zeroes. Seventy percent of this England tour is already over and we are still sipping coffee."