Mumbai, Aug 14: Indian cricketers had become a complacent lot after their recent good run and that is the prime reason behind their dismal performance against England in the ongoing Test series, feels former captain and ex-chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar.
Vengsarkar, who has the unique distinction of being the lone non-English cricketer to score three back-to-back tons at Lord's (on three tours), also felt the team had very little time to prepare for the arduous series against a formidable home outfit which was in the groove.
Following are excerpts from PTI's interview with Vengsarkar who had gone to England and watched the first two Tests of the series. India are trailing England 0-3 after suffering massive defeats in the best-of-four rubber.
Q: Did you expect the Indian team to perform so badly before the series? What is the reason for the poor display by the team which just four months ago had captured the World Cup in style?
Vengsarkar: To be honest, I knew that it will be a tough series for India considering the fact that they were up against a formidable team that's on song and consistent in their performance in recent times.Besides, they have better attack and as a team they had enough time to prepare themselves for the series. India on the other hand had come back from the grueling series in West Indies, had a very little time to prepare and adapt to English conditions. I guess, the Indians had become a bit complacent after their good run in the last few seasons.
Q: Do you feel that over-dependence on one bowler, Zaheer Khan, was not ideal for a team which had so many otherstrengths
A: Are there any options? Let's accept the fact that we don't have options either in batting or bowling especially when up against a tougher opposition. We depend on tried and tested players even though they are coming out of injuries and not having enough match practice. You just can't compete like that. Most of the players are in comfort zone and they know it well that they do not have competition at the highest level.
Q. Where did the team falter in England? Should it have played more warm-up games before the Lord's Test?
A: It's very important to have enough match practice before the first Test match to get acclimatised to the conditions when the team is touring out of Asia.
The conditions differ considerably from West Indies to England. The first Test of the series, more often than not, decides the fate of the series for the team that falters. It gets mentally demoralised, a situation that becomes difficult to rectify unless somebody comes up with an extraordinary performance.
Q. Were you happy with Dhoni's captaincy when you were there ? Or do you feel he could have done better in terms of field placements?
A: What can a captain do when the main bowlers are nursing injuries and the crucial catches being dropped? He made it amply clear by removing his wicket keeping gloves and start bowling at Lord's. PTI