New Delhi – India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni faced criticism from the nation's press Sunday for his “bizarre” tactics during the side's humiliating loss to England, while his batsmen were slammed for their “spineless surrender”.
Lacklustre India lost the fourth Test at Old Trafford on Saturday by an innings and 54 runs, handing England an unbeatable 2-1 lead in the five-match series.
Under the back-page headline “Spineless Surrender”, the Times of India lashed out at the country's batsmen for refusing to fight back in their second innings.
The newspaper said the batsmen had made millions of dollars playing “slam-bang” limited-overs cricket, but failed to hone their skills for Test matches, the sport's most demanding format.
“Faced with the onerous task of saving the match, India's 'Young Millionaires' did not even attempt to save face,” its correspondent wrote.
“Instead they flaunted a flamboyant approach, so typical of limited-overs cricket, to bring about a quick end to the fourth Test.
“So pathetic was India's display that their second innings lasted just 43 overs.”
The press praised England's “focus and determination”, singling out Stuart Broad for his “heroic bowling”. Broad, who retired hurt after breaking his nose while batting early on Saturday, was named man of the match.
Dhoni came under fire for his “bizarre team tactics” that included failing to start India's bowling attack on Saturday with top-performing seamers Varun Aaron and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the Hindustan Times said.
With the headline “Fold Trafford”, the Sunday Express said that although Dhoni batted well during the match, he “desperately needs a crash course in the art of Test match captaincy”.
India were praised last month when they won the second Test match against England at Lord's, securing the team's first overseas victory for three years.
That win eased pressure on Dhoni, who was facing calls to quit, and raised hope that India had turned the corner after poor performances since the retirement of batting greats including Sachin Tendulkar.
But the media said on Sunday that it seemed this was “just an illusion” and India's problems persisted.
“Old Trafford proved that this was indeed India of old a side that faltered abroad, filled with batsmen who couldn't survive pace, spin or pressure,” the Express newspaper said.
“India's batters neither adapted nor adjusted. And their bowlers were unidimensional and far from having a Plan B.
“India need a massive rethink,” it said. – Sapa-AFP