New Delhi

Indias humiliating series loss and surrendering of world number one Test spot to England came under severe criticism from former cricketers who said the country needs introspection on how to avert the ” demise of the side

“. Former captain Sourav Ganguly said that losing three successive Tests was unthinkable and India will have to ensure that it was just a one- off affair.

” You can lose Test matches but losing three in a row and not scoring any big total, it is something to be worried about. Is it a one- off affair or the beginning of the demise of the side we have to see,” said Ganguly.

Another former captain Anil Kumble said that India now need to groom four or five young players to replace veterans like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and V V Laxman.

” You need to spot four- five players and invest on them, to ensure that they carry the responsibility of Indian cricket in future in place of the veterans.

We have Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Gautam Gambhir,” Kumble said.

” They have to be given a long rope. You may not see India to come back at the top in quick time. But we have to ensure that with these youngsters, we remained in top three and climb to top spot after a few years,” he said.

Former India Test opener Arun Lal was scathing in his attack on Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his men and said that the country cannot rely on the 35- plus cricketers for long.

” England are decidedly far better side in the series, there is no doubt about it. It did not matter if India had some of the top cricketers in the world but under the conditions England were way way ahead,” Lal said.

” We need to bring in new blood. 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.

Lal blamed lack of preparation before the series as the main reason for Indias poor show at English conditions where the ball swings to the discomfort of the visiting batsmen.

” We have to ensure that we have enough preparation before such tough series. We will have to have enough time and matches before series in Australia, South Africa and England where the conditions are alien to us. In India the wickets are slow and low and there is no swing.

So Indian players face problems while playing in swinging conditions.” ” The series loss and world number Test rankings slipping away is in a way good. We need an awakening now,” said Lal.

Former captain Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, whose name the trophy of the India- England series bears, said he does not see much change in the way the BCCI works even after the humiliating series loss.

” I donalt39t want to sound a pessimist but I am actually fair that players are going to say that its only a bad dream, just forget it and get on. 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,” Pataudi said.

He refused to criticise Virender Sehwag for the unimpressive comeback following a shoulder injury.

” Even if you look at Tiger Woods, it is difficult to make comeback in international sport and score immediately it takes time,” Pataudi said.

Blaming lack of preparation as the main reason for the series drubbing, former Test player Vinod Kambli said the Indian players were more focussed on the Indian Premier League.

” Indian team was not prepared like England. Right after the World Cup our team was more focused on the IPL and then the series against the West Indies. People thought we are prepared for England tour after the victory in the West Indies. They didnalt39t get enough time for preparation but that cannot be an excuse,” Kambli said.

Kambli conceded that his childhood friend and batting icon Sachin Tendulkar struggled like never before in the series.

” This is a big failure in his career, and I have never seen him struggle like this. H

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