Vengsarkar slams Dhoni's captaincy; wants support staff to go
'I wonder what the batting, bowling and fielding coaches were doing on the tour?'
'It's very important for young cricketers to play in English County matches.'
'We do not have anybody to take over from Dhoni straightaway as our cupboards are absolutely empty.'
Former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar has demanded the immediate sacking of coach Duncan Fletcher and other support staff in the wake of the team’s humiliating Test series loss in England.
He also came down heavily on captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni for making "glaring mistakes".
Vengsarkar said Dhoni led the team poorly right through the series, with field placings and strategies that defied commonsense.
"Dhoni led the team poorly. His selection policy, strategy, field placing and bowling changes lacked commonsense. He made some glaring mistakes match after match for which India paid heavily," Vengsarkar said, on Monday.
"Unfortunately for him and India, he had Duncan Fletcher as the coach, who, it seems, is devoid of any ideas and has no clue as to how to turn things around. He, it seems, hardly motivated the young team," he added.
The 116-Test veteran said the support staff should be sacked immediately as they let down the team very badly.
"The support staff and the think-tank really let down the team very badly. I hope the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) sacks them immediately unless they go once again by what the senior players in the team feel about them," he said.
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Image: India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and head coach Duncan Fletcher during a nets session in England.
Photographs: Tony Marshall/Getty Images
'We do not have anybody to take over from Dhoni straightaway'
Vengsarkar was also scathing in his criticism of the selection panel, headed by Sandeep Patil, saying the committee lacked vision and failed to groom players for different slots.
"The glaring facts are that we do not have anybody to take over from Dhoni straightaway, as our cupboards are absolutely empty. We just haven't groomed players for different slots.
"If they have Indian cricket at heart, then it's time the BCCI must wear its thinking cap and at least plan for the future," he opined.
The 58-year-old former selection panel chief, who scored back-to-back hundreds at Lord's on the tours of 1979, 1982 and 1986, reflects on the latest debacle in England in the interview that follows.
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Image: Mahendra Singh Dhoni checks his bats during an India nets session at Lord's
Photographs: Scott Heavey/Getty Images
'The batsmen were hopelessly out of place'
What reasons do you attribute to this debacle in the five-Test series?
The first and foremost is that of late the BCCI is not giving much importance to Test cricket, as it was evident from the fact that there was hardly any preparation for the tour of five Test matches. Besides, the itinerary was poorly drawn, as there were no side games either before the Test series or in-between the Test matches that did not allow the out-of-form players to get back into form, and also those seven reserves sitting on the sidelines to get a much-needed match practice.
Mind you, we have taken a party of 18 players besides almost equal number of so-called support staff. The bowling looked incapable of getting 20 wickets to win the Test matches and the batsmen were hopelessly out of place. They not only lacked technique to combat the moving ball, but they lacked application, commitment and stomach to fight it out. They looked like hapless lambs to the slaughter. And the fact is that they committed the same mistakes innings after innings. I wonder what the batting, bowling and fielding coaches were doing on the tour?
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Image: Virat Kohli (left) and Murali Vijay relax during a nets session
Photographs: Philip Brown/Reuters
'If you do not have the guts to give it back, then Test cricket is not the place for you'
Were selections faulty in the first place and then in England?
Well, the selectors had the easiest job, as they picked the best possible available team of as many as 18 players, for they never bothered to create options. They lack vision, judgment and courage of conviction. They preferred an easier route to go with the tide.
Do you feel the team's focus was off a bit after the (Ravindra) Jadeja-(James) Anderson spat and India's insistence on getting Anderson banned, as suggested by some former cricketers like Michael Vaughan.
I don't think so. These things happen in Test cricket and are part and parcel of the game. If such things affect you, and if you do not have the guts to give it back, then Test cricket (is) not the place for you. In that case they can opt for a softer game and not Test match cricket. Test cricket surely separates men from the boys.
Would you advocate some of our players going and playing in the English county cricket?
It's very important for young cricketers to play in English County matches. It not only will give them experience to play in different conditions but the exposure they will get will surely stand them in good stead in future.
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Image: Ravindra Jadeja and James Anderson exchange words during Day 4 of the second Test at Lord's
Photographs: Gareth Copley/Getty Images
'It's very important to play side-on all the time'
How did you adapt to the English conditions? You were very successful on the tours to that place during your career?
One has to make adjustments in one's technique. One must not only push at the deliveries, but it’s very important to play side-on all the time (like Murali Vijay and Ajinkya Rahane). And, more importantly, one must be mentally ready to slug it out in the middle session after session and not give up.
What is the way out, short term and long term?
The glaring facts are that we do not have anybody to take over from Dhoni straightaway as our cupboards are absolutely empty. We just haven't groomed players for different slots. If they have Indian cricket at heart then it's time the BCCI must wear its thinking cap and at least plan for the future.
The tours of under-19s, A teams (under-23) must be planned to groom talent that can take the place of out-of-form or deadwoods in the team. The NCA must act as the supply line to Test cricket and must be revamped at the earliest. For the sake of Indian cricket I hope it's just not the wishful thinking.
Image: Ajinkya Rahane celebrates after scoring a hundred at Lord's
Photographs: Stu Forster/Getty Images