Sunil Gavaskar was left distressed after another poor day on the field by India in the ongoing final Test against England at The Oval. Despite a better show by the bowlers, MS Dhoni's side allowed the hosts to finish the second day with a massive lead of 237 runs. (Day 2 Report | Highlights)
Gavaskar, who has been balanced with his criticism of the Indian team throughout the five-match series in England, finally conceded the current crop is not good enough to win Tests regularly overseas and lamented the waste of a good opportunity to claim a historic series win in what has been traditionally a difficult country to tour for India. (Alastair Cook benefits from butter-fingered Indian fielders)
"The Indian players don't have it in them to win regularly abroad. They might win the odd Test but because it is a five-Test series and because of the shortcomings they have, the opposition will be allowed to get back. They will keep winning at home because of the comfort factor. This is a great opportunity lost after beating England at Lord's to take the series lead," Gavaskar told NDTV on Saturday. (Dhoni shows why Virat Kohli has miles to go)
Gavaskar was not impressed with the lack of effort from the fielders and batmen, pulling them up for repeatingÂ mistakes that are about to cost India a Test series. There were the usual dropped chances in the slip cordon, a day after the batsmen had been found guilty of pushing too hard at deliveries that should have been left alone or played late.
Gavaskar, a perfectionist through his playing career, was aghast.
"The slip cordon is an area of concern because the Indians are not prepared to learn from their mistakes.
"The Indian batsmen are committing the same mistakes, getting out in the same manner. This is a team of talent; some of the players are world class. Errors do creep in, but how you get over them is important," Gavaskar said.
There was a glimmer of hope for India, after Varun Aaron, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ishant Sharma snared two wickets apiece to rock England's middle-order, before a fluent partnership between Joe Root (92 not out) and Jos Buttler (45) helped the home side run away with a distinct advantage. Gavaskar said that happened because India had dropped their guard in the last session, after bowling wonderfully post lunch.
"It was not the kind of fightback that would have helped India get back into the game. They looked listless in the post tea session when they looked like they were going through the motion. Had they bowled and fielded like they had in the post lunch session, then England could have been restricted to a lesser lead. But now the series has gone out of the bag."
India are on the verge of losing the series in England, and Gavaskar refused to be too optimistic about the future. Dhoni's team will take on the West Indies at home for Tests, ODIs and a T20, before embarking on a tour of Australia and the cricketer-turned-commentator felt, the country should be prepared for the worst possibleÂ result Down Under.
"I don't think you can make too many changes in this current lot. We must not go by what happens in the Test series in India. We should be mentally prepared for a drubbing in Australia. Maybe our bowlers will do well and restrict Australia, but I don't think we have the batting to take on Australia," Gavaskar said.