Mohammad Azharuddin
Mohammad Azharuddin (IANS Photo)

Former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin has questioned the role of India coaching staff after repeated batting failures have resulted in yet another Test series defeat. At Southampton, chasing 245, India were bowled out for 184 which handed a 3-1 series clinching victory to England with a Test remaining.

“We lost the series because of poor batting and our batsmen were committing the same mistakes throughout. What is our coaching staff doing?” Azharuddin was quoted as saying by The Times of India on Tuesday.

While Virat Kohli has scored in excess of 500 runs across eight innings so far, has has found little to no support from his teammates. The top order has found itself at sea when the conditions have been swing-friendly exposing the middle-order to the new ball much earlier than needed. This has resulted in batting multiple batting collapses.

“Technically, our batsmen were found wanting. We didn’t play the moving ball well. We can’t depend only on Virat Kohli. Openers like Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul too didn’t get runs. The middle-order was left with too much to do. We should have taken at least a 100-run lead after Cheteshwar Pujara’s hundred [in the fourth Test],” Azhar observed.

With a pace battery that has outshined England so far on the tour, India boast of one of the best bowling attacks and it has time and again delivered. However, the batsmen haven’t been up to the task meaning India missed out on their ‘best chance to win the series’.

“We could have done better. This was our best chance to win the series because we had the best bowling attack and in every game they got those 20 wickets and gave our team a chance to throttle the opposition,” said Azhar who played 99 Tests in his 15-year career.

Dropping Cheteshwar Pujara from the series opener at the Edgbaston, playing an extra spinner in damp and swing-friendly conditions at Lord’s are among the few key decisions that swung the game in favour of England. These have come under severe criticism but Azhar believes that pointing fingers won’t work as it’s a team that wins you matches.

“I can’t say if there was any selection error or not because I wasn’t there to see what prompted the India team management to make those changes. But the entire batting unit didn’t respond well to the challenges. I have to compliment the way Kohli batted throughout the series. But it boils down to one thing. It’s a team game and all the other batsmen need to complement their captain,” he said.