BCCI refuses to comment about team's schedule

BCCI chief Shashank Manohar says he doesn’t want to react to criticisms regarding team India’s schedule on the tour Getty Images

Mumbai: Aug 3, 2011

The BCCI on Wednesday refused to react to widespread criticism about the lack of preparation by the Indian team in the run-up to the Test series against England which it is trailing 0-2 right now.

“I don’t react to media criticisms. I don’t want to react to anything,” BCCI Chief Shashank Manohar told PTI from Nagpur.

India, fighting to retain the world number one ranking, have been thrashed by huge margins in the first two Tests by hosts England and are in clear danger of losing the four-match series.

England need to win the rubber by a two-match margin to overtake India and shoot to the top of the official ICC Test rankings.

Among the strong critics was Dhoni’s predecessor Sourav Ganguly, who blamed the absence of enough warm-up games for the team’s predicament.

“I am a firm believer that every time you tour, you need at least two warm-up games and they absolutely could have played an extra game,” said the Bengal stalwart, who retired from international cricket a few years ago.

India captain Dhoni, under fire after having lost the first match at Lord’s, the 100th encounter between the two rivals, by 196 runs and the next at Trent Bridge by 319 runs, conceded yesterday that the preparations for the series had not been ideal.

“It’s a mental thing as well, because for some of us it’s been a seven-match Test series with hardly a gap. The preparation needs to be slightly different which is why we are saying the next ten days are important for us not only physically but mentally as well,” the Ranchi-born wicket keeper batsman said in England yesterday, the scheduled fifth day of the second Test.

The Indians went into the high-profile Test rubber after a lone three-day warm-up game against Somerset that Dhoni skipped totally while iconic batsman Sachin Tendulkar and pace spearhead Zaheer Khan batted and bowled only in the first innings.

Khan, who missed the entire Caribbean visit due to an ankle injury, later pulled up with a hamstring strain after bowling only 13 full overs in the Lord’s Test, which reduced India to a three-man attack in the match.

Dhoni has been shoddy with his glove work and out of touch with the bat while champion batsman Tendulkar showed signs of slowly getting into the groove during his well-crafted half century in the second innings of the Nottingham match but is still waiting for his 100th international hundred. Khan missed the second Test.

Off spinner Harbhajan Singh, who completed 400 Test wickets at Lord’s after giving away over 200 runs and was a virtual passenger with the ball in the Trent Bridge tie, also complained of an abdominal strain during the England second innings.

The Indians now have a two-day tour game in Northampton before the do-or-die third Test of the rubber scheduled in Edgebaston, Birmingham, from August 10.

The fourth and last Test is to be played at The Oval from August 18.