Sourav Ganguly is known to be straightforward about his views and it wasn't any different on Tuesday when he spoke his heart out in a free-wheeling chat with MiD DAY.
Do you expect India's batsmen to struggle at The Oval too?
I definitely hope not! The Oval wicket is usually very good for the batsmen, and I expect them to continue playing like that. I am sure there will not be the same swing and seam movement like at Lord's, Nottingham and Birmingham. But, whatever the case, India have to score a minimum of 400 runs. That should be the first step for revival.
What has gone wrong with this batting line-up?
I don't think it's that bad a team that cannot bat for even 60 overs. It's a pity that we have not even scored 300 runs in any of the last six innings. When you look at the experience and the amount of career runs in this side, that's what hurts the most. First and foremost, our batsmen have to consolidate our position by staying at the wicket. Play for pride.
Is this the best English attack you have seen?
It's definitely right up there. But I have not seen an English attack so organised and consistent. They are strong lads with good intent.
What's your take on Fletcher saying that he has never seen so much swing and seam in his life?
I don't buy the idea that Fletcher did not see such ferocious swing bowling in his life. We won at Nottingham (in 2007), and at Leeds (in 2002), and on both occasions, the ball swung like anything. We should send him video cassettes of those victories.
Why have our bowlers looked so ordinary (when compared to England's)?
I think the absence of Zaheer and Harbhajan has really hurt us. They are our two frontline bowlers. Naturally, their absence will be felt. The others could not rise to the occasion. It is also true when you don't have enough runs on the board, the bowlers do struggle. If our batsmen had piled on the runs, we would have seen a different Ishant Sharma or Sreesanth. It's a team game, and requires efforts from all departments.
What is the spark that is needed to turn things around?
If India have to win The Oval Test, they need a solid opening partnership. If Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir can fire at the top of the order, the others will suddenly feel better about their batting. Sometimes that's all it takes ? one blazing century by Viru (Sehwag), and suddenly things will change.
How do you compare this loss to the whitewash against Australia (in 1999)?
That Australian team was a much better side than this English team. The likes of Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne were at their peak, and we were absolutely drubbed (in 1999). This time around, the score line reads 0-3 but it's not been as bad as 1999. That will surely be the more forgettable of the two tours.