London: India's whitewash against England at the Oval on Monday; their first since the 1999-2000 (0-2) loss against South Africa has been heavily crticised by former players. Former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar and pace bowler Balwinder Singh Sandhu were devastated at the 0-4 whitewash.
"It was a very embarrassing performance. It is our worst defeat in recent times. We were completely outplayed. Right from the word go, everything went against us. Zaheer Khan, who was bowling beautifully, got injured at a crucial time.
"We dropped many catches on the first day of the first Test at Lord's. Thereafter, we lost the advantage under overcast conditions. England piled up a big total and that put pressure on our batsmen," Vengsarkar told MiD DAY.
Former India pacer Balwinder Singh Sandhu said India were grossly under-prepared for the Test series. "It is certainly a big disappointment. We did not expect a whitewash. If you don't do your homework, you will never be comfortable in the classroom. That's exactly what happened with the Indian team," said Sandhu.
Vengsarkar, however, emphasised on better planning henceforth. "Rather than looking at what went wrong, we should look ahead to the future and plan things in a better way. We need to have a pool of players and talent-spotters. We shouldn't be digging the well for water only when we lose.
"We have to get our bench strength in shape. This will make it easier to absorb the shock of such heavy defeats," said the former chairman of selectors.
Sandhu was annoyed to see MS Dhoni's men surrendering meekly. "What annoys me is that very few players put up a fight. Agreed that failures are a part of every sport, but going down without putting a fight, is not a good sign from a world champion team. Each team member is answerable for such a bad show," he said.
Former India coach Anshuman Gaekwad, however, said it was a one-off bad show from the Indian team. "We are not such a bad team. Our players are not that bad. This bad series is just a one-off. Every team goes through such a phase.
"Though we did not expect them to lose so badly, we shouldn't react so strongly because these are the same cricketers who have given us ample joy in the last few years. Nothing worked for us in this series. We did not have the time to acclimatise to English conditions," he lamented.
Gaekwad refused to blame coach Duncan Fletcher, for whom it was the first major assignment since taking over. "We should not blame Duncan Fletcher just yet. We have to give him time. He has to first understand the players and that takes time. We cannot expect miracles overnight," he said.
Hopes are now piled on winning the five-match ODI series against England starting September 3. However, Sandhu does not think it will compensate for the humiliating loss in the Test series. "No way can a better performance in the ODIs compensate for the whitewash in Tests. Nothing can beat Test performances," Sandhu concluded.