'Future of Test cricket is in danger'

'Future of Test cricket is in danger'

'Future of Test cricket is in danger'

G R Viswanath is rarely scathing in his criticism of players. But even the normally measured batting great felt India’s performance against England was abysmal. The Karnataka stalwart felt lack of technique and temperament to play a long innings and M S Dhoni’s poor captaincy combined to cook India’s goose.

The legend spoke to Madhu Jawali of Deccan Herald. Excerpts:

What are the reasons that did our batsmen in?

Basically it’s (lack of) technique. Of course, James Anderson and Stuart Broad bowled really well but at the same time, our players played the line which they weren’t supposed to do. Yes, the line was probing but getting out in the same manner over an extended period can’t happen at that level and most of our batsmen committed the same mistakes. One-day cricket is different because you go for your strokes but Test cricket is a format where your skill comes out.

What do you have to say about the manner in which we lost the series?

It’s been a long time they have played five Tests in a series and that too in England. But one thing I am very disappointed is, after the win at Lord’s, where everything suited their (England) bowling, we threw it all away. I don’t know what the problem was… You had an upper hand and that was the time you should have gone for the kill. Instead, it was England who fought back and once they had us down, they never allowed us to come back. That’s the attitude we needed having been in front. You can’t get away scoring hundred odd or less than 100 runs every time. Forget winning, you can’t even save the match. It’s not that we didn’t have a bad day or a bad match during our time. It does happen to every team. The current players never adjusted after playing so well at Lord’s.BCCI needs  give more importance to domestic cricket.

What about M S Dhoni’s captaincy, do you think he should be replaced?

Virat Kohli is there but he is very low in confidence and then there is Gautam Gambhir who didn’t do well either. While I agree Dhoni will have to stay on as captain for some time to come, I feel he has to bring something new to the table as a strategist. His field placements and selections are also strange. Earlier in his captaincy, he got results in his favour but that doesn’t mean it will keep on happening without doing anything. He needs to more pro-active.

Do you agree T20 cricket has affected our batsmen, both technically and mentally?

If you are a good player — I am not even saying great — you got to adjust to different formats. And these are very good players. But they will have to come out of their shell and play long innings. In the beginning of the series it may (affect) to an extent but if it’s a five-Test series and you got to come out of that mind-set. It’s not that any game was washed out and they were denied the chance of gauging the conditions.

How did you prepare for series outside of sub-continent?

We worked really hard. I am not saying these boys don’t but we practiced with tennis ball, wet ball and then had someone throw the ball from 15 yards so that we could adjust to the steep bounce. We never had these modern techniques but we worked in our own way with whatever was available to us. Most of us from the  South played on matting wickets. Basically, we were back foot players and played our strokes. In a way (playing on mats), it did help us.

Do you fear for the future of Test cricket?

If it continues this way, I really think the future of Test cricket is in danger. It’s not good for Indian cricket and it’s not good for world cricket. You got to play more and more Test matches, only then do you get the confidence and develop that mindset to play a long innings. These
players are very low on confidence.

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