Former India wicketkeeper Farokh Engineer lashed out at MS Dhoni's batsmen over their insipid show on the first day of the fourth Test at Old Trafford against England after the tourists were shot out for a mere 152. (India batsmen equal record zeroes in single Test innings)
India were reduced to 8/4 inside the first six overs after comeback man Gautam Gambhir was removed for four by Stuart Broad, who eventually finished with 6/25. Murali Vijay, Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara then followed for ducks as the visitors' scorecard cut a sorry sight. Engineer questioned Dhoni's decision to bat first on a lightning fast track after winning the toss and ridiculed the performance from the top order, calling it a joke. (Manchester Test Day 1 Updates | Scorecard)
"No person in his right mind would win the toss and bat on a pitch like this. Our bowlers can match England's bowlers. Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Chris Woakes and Chris Jordan are a handful in these conditions but the Indian bowlers have shown they can deliver too. The momentum was with England (after their victory in Southampton) and it was up to us to take the fight back to the English camp. The way we batted this morning and decided to bat, was a joke," Engineer told NDTV.
Engineer, who is now based out of Manchester, also appeared miffed that nobody from the team management bothered to approach him for tips to play at a ground, which has traditionally not been a happy hunting ground for India.
"India were playing a Test at Old Trafford after 24 years. It was all shambles this morning. India had the advantage after winning the toss on a fast pitch. There was plenty of grass. I have played here all my life and know every blade of grass at Old Trafford and no one bothered to ask me for advice.
"I would gladly do it for my country. It was almost embarrassing (to see the batting debacle). India could have batted better.Â I would blame the management. Doesn't Duncan Fletcher talk tactics in the dressing-room? India's approach mind-boggling," said the 76-year-old Engineer, who retired from international cricket in 1975.
Engineer, like Sunil Gavaskar, was sharply critical of India's technique and said the batting lacked sense. He said even Dhoni, who top-scored with 71, gave chances early on in his innings and had one of them been taken, it would have been a complete disaster for the Indians. (If something is wrong, I will go against it, says MS Dhoni)
"There is no excuse for losing all those wickets. It was not very sensible batting. You have to come behind the ball and play. They needed good technique to bat on this wicket. Even Dhoni gave a couple of chances.
"We were chasing the ball outside the off-stump. Our batsmen are not experienced in English conditions."
India made three changes to their team for the crucial penultimate match but that did not impress Engineer, who said off-spinner R Ashwin got his chance in the wrong Test. He insisted that the Tamil Nadu lad should have played at Southampton, where Moeen Ali's six wickets in the second innings hastened India's defeat.