By Ashish Shukla
London: Aug 26, 2011
Former West Indian captain Clive Lloyd said that he was surprised in India's 0-4 whitewash in the Test series against England and blamed poor preparation of Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men as the main reason for the debacle.
"Nobody expected England to beat India 4-0. But you can't not come to any country and play just one warm up game," said Lloyd who, as chairman of ICC Cricket Committee, was here to announce the names of shortlisted players for various awards for the ICC Awards ceremony on September 12.
"Young players especially need 3-4 four-day games before Tests and couple in between. If you are out of form, you don't get your form in nets," he said.
Lloyd gave the example of Virender Sehwag to drive him his point that without preparation a player howesover big would struggle.
"You don't get runs by walking straight in. I don't care how good you are, you don't get it. You are not going to run into form in Test matches. You need to get your timing right, the foot movement, picking the ball properly," he said.
Lloyd, who led possibly the strongest cricket team ever in the history of the game in the 1970s and 80s, also criticised a few senior players for giving the series against West Indies before the England tour a complete miss.
"Those who went to the Caribbean, people like Dravid, they did well (here). You need games as you are older, you need to train harder and play more games. The mistake they made is not to have played enough games .. a few of your top players should have gone to West Indies," he said.
Lloyd described the current Indian bowling attack, especially the spinners, as the weakest he has seen during his years of association with the game.
"Spin-wise, it looks the weakest. You always had good spinners. As for fast bowlers, anyone would break down with the sort of workload which (Ishant) Sharma had. They needed to use him sparingly and not so often. Other bowlers offered no support. He needed spinners to bowl for long periods. Your spinners always did so in the past," said Lloyd.
The bespectacled former cricketer, however, was not too concerned by the relatively poor form of Sachin Tendulkar and said the Indian maestro would eventually will get his 100th international ton.
"He should be alright. If you get 99 international hundred, you would get the 100th one as well. He's been phenomenal. He's been the batting God," he said.
Lloyd felt Indian cricket administrators and players need to worry about the future and draw the blueprint straightaway.
"Dhoni has been good for India. You obviously look terrible when you are losing. It's how you regroup, how they came out of it (which would be interesting). England have an elite squad of 25 which is close to the standards of Test cricket. India too needs to have it, your young players must play outside. The 'A' tours are a very good point. How players perform outside India, that should be the goal for the future," he said.
Lloyd warned that the sponsors might start to pull out if India perform poorly on a regular basis in Test cricket.
"I hope people realize it. Nobody wants losers. Sponsors can pull out. For 15 years, we (in the West Indies) have been trying to get back. Players need to train a little harder, work at their games. There is lot of money in cricket but money is subsidiary. The more you win, the more people would like to be involved."
Now that England is the number one Test team, Lloyd was asked if he would be tempted to include a few of their players in his all-time great team of the 70s and 80s.
"James Anderson, for he makes you play. Stuart Broad has a nice action and he gets a good bounce and he is learning all the time. I would not exchange for England's openers," he said.
"Cook is a good player but he has had just two good tours. He needs to be tried and tested against some good fast bowling. He has a front foot technique and playing fast bowling on front foot is difficult. But whatever time they have been playing, they have done extremely well." (PTI)