Sunil Gavaskar said India will need to take some firm decisions after crashing to their second successive innings defeat, losing the five-Test series 3-1 against England at The Oval on Sunday. (India's jelly-like resistance embarrassing: Sunil Gavaskar)
Batting in their second innings after conceding a 338-run to England, India were shot out for 94 in 29.2 overs, after losing eight wickets in a session. Gavaskar, who had defended the Indian team, citing inexperience and youth, was less forgiving on Sunday, and urged the powers-that-be to take some tough calls. (James Anderson elated after 'happy ending' to English Summer)
"Even two days back, I was defending the team. But you see them today, they have made the same mistakes over and over again. It means the team is not learning. Do they care about it? I don't know. Most of these players have played in South Africa, New Zealand and England. How much of a rope do you give a young player. I think somewhere down the line some firm decisions have to be taken. I don't know if they will be taken," Gavaskar told NDTV after India's innings and 244-run defeat. (Alastair Cook lauds England's character in series win)
Gavaskar said teams remain successful because of their ability to take tough decisions when they are down in the dumps: "One of the reasons why Australia have clawed back to the top spot is that they take tough calls and that is the need of the hour for India." (India lost confidence, says MS Dhoni)
Gavaskar for his part suggested that India stopped playing Test cricket altogether for while. He said the A squads should be sent overseas for two month long tours to prepare young players for the challenges of top drawer cricket
Â However, Gavaskar did not remain too optimistic about any changes in the setup, despite a hat-trick of embarrassing defeats. The coach Duncan Fletcher has drawn the ire of former cricketers and the media in the past, but the BCCI responded by extending his contract till the 2015 World Cup in Australia. The former England coach has done precious little as India continue to hit new lows in every overseas tour. (Livid Dhoni slams batsmen, ducks questions on captaincy)
"Nothing is going to change. Certainly nothing is going to change till the end of the World Cup. So there really is no point talking about it," said Gavaskar.
Gavaskar's main fear was that this series defeat could soon be forgotten and no remedial actions would be taken. India next play England in an ODI series and a one-off T20 to mark the end of the tour on September 7. If the world champions do well in the limited overs matches, the horror and shame of the Test routing could soon be emotions of the past.
"If we do well in the one-dayers which follow in a week's time, the Test series will be forgotten and that is the tragedy of Indian cricket. The tragedy of Indian cricket isÂ that a lot of the Test defeats are swept under the carpet. At the end of the day, however well you do in limited overs cricket, it is Test cricket that defines you as a cricketer, defines your place in the history of the game.
"If you are going to have all the Test wins and all the Test losses swept under the carpet, then you are not going to make any progress," Gavaskar said.
Gavaskar said he was demoralised to see India crash to one defeat after another after the highs of Lord's and blamed lack of application and intent from the team. Will India wake up and listen or will the young players continue to dazzle at cash-rich T20 tournaments at home, before their next date with the horrors of Test cricket abroad?