Adelaide India were on the verge of a 4- 0 whitewash after stumbling to 166/ 6 on Day 4, still 334 runs short of the target set by Australia.
With another massive defeat staring them in the face in the final Test in Adelaide, the knives are out for the senior players who have been a disaster on the tour.
Former captain Sunil Gavaskar was the first to sound the bugle and indicated that at least three senior players may not be selected in the future Test squad.
‘I think at least three or four players might have played probably their last Test in Australia. I am saying this because the next Test is six to eight months away. Now is the time to pick up youngsters who will serve the country years down the line,’Gavaskar said.
The first player to heed Gavaskars call was Rahul Dravid, who is expected to announce his retirement shortly. Preferring to hang his boots rather than face an ignominious exit, 39- year- old Dravid is believed to have told some of his teammates that he had decided to call it a day. He could not be reached for his comments, however.
Dravid, like most other Indian batsmen, has had a poor run in the current series, which will conclude on Saturday. He has already announced his retirement from one- day cricket and Twenty20.
There is a question mark over another veteran V V S Laxman who too had a miserable run against Australia in the current series. There was no word about his future plans. He seems to be hanging on, possibly waiting for a formal sack order. Gavaskar feels that seniors must pave the way for younger players, especially the likes of Kohli, who struck a century in the Adelaide test; Kohli needs to cement his place in the side and possibly promoted to number three.
‘Virat scored a hundred in Australia, the only player to do so. He could have been elevated earlier. May be his confidence could have stemmed the rot and protected the senior players who have been sorely out of form.
Protected by Virat, the senior players would have done better in the last couple of days in Adelaide,’he said.
‘India missed out on the chance to experiment with Kohli. The same thing happened in the West Indies and England. With some extra zip, India could have won the series in the West Indies 3- 0. In England, they were flat- footed not only on the field but also in their thinking.’A sarcastic Gavaskar said that India finally has the opportunity to score more runs than Australia in any innings during the Test series, if they score two more runs on Saturday.
‘Australia declared their second innings at 166 for five and India were 166 for six at stumps on Friday. So if India score two more runs on Saturday, they will be ahead of Australia in the second innings,’he said.
Asked if he remembers any other instance when Indian batsmen tied themselves in knots while facing a slow bowler, as was the case against Australian off- spinner Nathan Lyon, Gavaskar said, ‘Indian batsmen got bogged down under pressure. There is some sort of defeatist attitude, even the most experienced players have been affected by it.”There was an air of resignation. There was nothing like alt145 lets fight backalt39, alt145 get down to doing somethingalt39. That is why they are on the verge of their eight successive Test defeat overseas,’he told NDTV.