New Zealand vs India: Lack of bench strength worrying for visitors, says Dilip Vengsarkar
While questioning the Indian team management's 'rigidity' against trying new players, former chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar says not enough is being done to fast-track the selection of Under-19, Under-22 players in the national team.
With back-to-back overseas series losses for Team India, the road to the 2015 World Cup has turned into an uphill task for Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his teammates. The 4-0 loss in the five-match series against New Zealand, and the manner in which the team has failed to cope with conditions overseas, has left cricket pundits worried. (Read: India must stick to Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, says Wasim Jaffer)
Former India skipper Dilip Vengsarkar in particular, has slammed the team management for not giving chances to new players.
India's batting came a cropper more often than not in the five matches and the figures revealed the shocking form. Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina and Ambati Rayudu had just one fifty between them - a 79 by Rohit in the third ODI.
"It is strange that (Cheteshwar) Pujara is being kept out. There appears to be a lack of vision among the selectors. The team management appears stubborn when it comes to trying out new players. Why are the same set of bowlers being played and ground to dust? How long will they back the same under-performing batsmen? What is the role of the coach and bowling coach?," Vengsarkar was quoted as saying by a national daily.
Vengsarkar, a former chief selector, is ruing 'lack of vision' in the current national selection panel. "It's a scary situation because there seems to be no bench strength. I don't see a single bowler or batsman at the U-19 or U-22 level who appears talented enough to be fast-tracked into the team. There are no left-arm spinners or leg-spinners coming up. There are no new pacers, which means we haven't been looking. The India A side seems to be for those who are always on the sidelines," he said.
The 57-year-old, one of India's best No.3 batsmen in Tests, feels not enough is being done to groom good cricketers. (Watch: New Zealand debacle should be a lesson for Indian team management, selectors)
"The ones like Gambhir and Sehwag who have been dropped are not scoring consistently enough at the domestic level. Is enough being done to groom cricketers? Are India hopefuls motivated enough to improve their game or are they content with the T20 spotlight? Has the feeder line been compromised because of lack of attention?" he added. (Read: Openers ruined India in New Zealand, says Sunil Gavaskar)
A veteran of 116 Tests with 17 tons to his name, including 3 consecutive hundreds at Lord's, Vengsarkar has urged the Indian Cricket Board to be more proactive on the on-field issues along with being anxious about other administrative matters.
"The BCCI, unfortunately, is preoccupied with other matters but this is a wake-up call. They must do more to improve the standard of cricket and for that they must show interest, invest more time and money," he said.