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'Indian cricket must stop idolising greats, should build for future'

January 21, 2012 16:00 IST

Under-siege India will lose "more than just respect" if they don't stop idolising their ageing cricket greats and find a fresh core of fast bowlers and batsmen who specialise in all three formats of the game, feels former Australian batsman Dean Jones.

India currently trail a four-match Test series against Australia 0-3, failing to take even a single game to five days.

"This Indian team craves respect, but the way India are going about it, they will lose more than just respect. The Indians look tired and too slow in the field. They must stop idolising their greats, and start looking to the future.

"The Indians have had a tough 13 months. They have played 16 Tests, 38 One-Day Internationals, four Twenty20 matches and many IPL matches. India have won a World Cup, but lost massively when they play overseas," said Jones.

"If India want to be No.1 in the world in all forms of the game, they must find a great core of fast bowlers and batsmen who specialise in all formats," he added.

Jones said a team can be judged by how well its tail can bat and Indian tailenders look fragile.

"You can tell how any team is playing by the way its tail is batting. If bowlers are putting in the hard yards with the bat, that tells me this team wants to win.

"India's lower order is so fragile it has become a laughing stock. They don't look like they want to be there, and are not prepared to wear one for their country," Jones was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald.

The former cricketer also said India would have to take some hard decisions regarding the seniors in the side.

"India have to put up with some pain by retiring some senior players. Or maybe some senior players might have to specialise in one format of the game. It is time that Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Zaheer Khan and VVS Laxman made up their minds on what format of the game they think they can still excel in.

"The workload in this cricket environment is too much for players over the age of 34. They must make a decision and start to specialise," Jones pointed out.

Insisting that India don't know how to win Test matches, Jones said, "They need bowlers who bowl over 145km/h, unless you are a cagey bowler like a Zaheer. If you look at recent history, with the success of the West Indies (1979-95), Australia (1995-2005), England (since 2006) and this Australian team, all have three or more bowlers who bowl over 145km/h. That's why they have been winners.

"Spinners help you win, no doubt, but ultimately the quicks who bowl over 145km/h frighten everyone, especially the tail! India needs to start a widespread search for fast bowlers. They are there in India, there are 1.2 billion people who live there."

The 50-year-old Aussie said India should keep grass on the pitches at home in order to do well abroad.

"India should try is to keep the grass on their pitches. Trust me, I know they can grow grass on their pitches. I have seen many pitches with grass on them, and they are great tracks to play on.

"If the Board of Control for Cricket in India introduced this policy then more kids would want to bowl fast."

Insisting that India would have to take risks if they wanted to win in the fourth Test, starting on January 24, Jones said, "They need five bowlers to get Australia out on a flat deck in Adelaide. If I were India, I would drop Laxman and Vinay Kumar. India will need three quicks, and should look at playing their two spinners in Ravichandran Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha in Adelaide.

"That means, Virat Kohli would bat at five and M S Dhoni at six. It is supposed to be a flat track. So it is time that some heat was put on the senior Indian batsmen to make some runs. They need to stand up, and history tells me they all love batting at Adelaide. The Indians will have to make some hard decisions."

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