Former India captain Rahul Dravid was scathing in his criticism after India’s abject surrender in the Kolkata Test, questioning the “skill, ability and talent” of the players who are representing the country.
“People talk about attitude and say (the players) don’t care because there is too much money in the Indian Premier League (IPL). That’s one side of things but the main thing is their lack of skill and ability, which is more worrying for me. It raises questions as to the talent and quality of players coming through,” Dravid told BBC Test Match Special.
“One of the challenges India face is that our domestic cricket is not of the quality to allow players to seamlessly move into international cricket.”
There is a lot of anger among the cricket-crazy Indian fans and the veteran of 164 Tests and 13,288 runs feels that it is absolutely justified.
“A lot of people are upset not just by losing but the manner of the defeats. India won three tosses and had the wicket in their favour in Mumbai and the best of the batting conditions here in Kolkata but they just haven’t been able to capitalise or put up a fight,” said Dravid, who had retired from international cricket last March.
Dravid along with Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, Anil Kumble and Virender Sehwag formed the core of a solid Indian Test team that reached the pinnacle of success winning in Australia, England, Pakistan, West Indies, New Zealand.
“England have put a mirror up to the Indian cricket team and shown them the challenges that they face. Successful teams have a group of players who come through together and peak at the same time.”
The ‘Wall’ feels that ‘A’ tours are becoming increasingly more important.
“I think having ‘A’ tours and the academy system is becoming more and more important and I think England have been pretty good with that in the way that the academy travels every winter to different parts of the world. I think that is something India can learn from England,” Dravid said.
“It is about recognising that the Indian team is in a bit of transition and working out how to bring through young players who have the skill, technique, temperament and desire to play Test cricket.”
Dravid also admitted that Ravichandran Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha didn’t deliver as per expectations.
“India have been outbowled in the spin department and that’s a worrying sign because spin has been our strength.”
Although he is thoroughly disappointed with the Indian team’s effort in the field and their general fitness standards, he was blunt in stating that it can’t be used as an excuse.
“India have been poor in the field and their physical fitness is disappointing me. That’s not an excuse. You can’t demand runs, but you can at least demand accountability in terms of intensity and effort.”
There is always a possibility that the Indian team would come back stronger and level the series in the final Test in Nagpur but the 40-year-old feels that there is a need for long-term planning.
“Irrespective of what happens in Nagpur, the lessons need to be learned from the series if India wants to be a consistently successful team and challenge again for the number one ranking,” he concluded.