Former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar strongly criticised the team's work ethic following their one-wicket loss to Pakistan in the Asia Cup on Sunday, which has virtually put India out of contention from reaching the finals. Gavaskar said he was against the idea of an optional practice session and that it had let the team down. (Match report)
"India's work ethic has been pretty abysmal. It has let the team down. They have not practised well and there can nothing be something like optional practice. There was no excuse for anyone apart from Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli to miss practice," Gavaskar told NDTV in an exclusive chat. (Watch video)
India were reduced to 103/4 after 23.2 overs after being put in to bat and managed to set a 246-run target for Pakistan with fifties from Rohit Sharma (56), Ambati Rayudu (58) and Ravindra Jadeja (52). The spinners, Ravichandran Ashwin (3/44) and Amit Mishra (2/28) made it interesting during Pakistan's chase but two back-to-back sixes in the last over helped them snatch a famous win at Mirpur. (Highlights)
Gavaskar defended stand-in skipper Virat Kohli, however, and said that he had done well as someone who was leading the Indian side in a major tournament for the first time. Former Indian wicketkeeper Nayan Mongia also said he was enjoying watching Kohli as a captain in the Asia Cup. "For somebody who is captaining for the first time in a major tournament, (Virat) Kohli has done well and shown promise. Losses to both Sri Lanka and Pakistan were suffered in the last over," said Gavaskar. (Pics)
"Kohli is going to learn a lot for the future. He was very cool and calm on the field. I enjoyed watching him," Mongia told NDTV. (Points Table)
Gavaskar, along with Mongia, also criticised how the top order was over-confident and failed in terms of shot-selection. "India threw away a couple of wickets unnecessarily and every time Pakistan have been asked to chase 250 recently, they have failed. So, we were a few runs short," said the former Indian captain.
Gavaskar even admitted that it was very easy for the batsmen to hit sixes on the Sher-e-Bangla cricket stadium in Mirpur, where the match was played, and that the boundaries needed to be a bit longer.
"The boundaries should be a bit longer. Sixes were hit easily on this stadium," he said.
Former Indian wicketkeeper Mongia was unhappy with wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik's performance, who is playing as cover for permanent captain-wicketkeeper MS Dhoni, and said he had a long way to go as far as developing key skills was concerned.
"(Dinesh) Karthik is good as a wicketkeeper but his basics are wrong. He cannot judge the ball a lot of times," he said.
Mathematically, India still have a slight chance to make the Asia Cup final, but for that they will have to rely on the other teams. Pakistan and Sri Lanka need to lose their remaining games and India needs to win against Afghanistan with a bonus point.