Fans bay for Dhoni, Laxman, Dravid’s blood, demand their sacking

The 4-0 thrashing by the Aussies has left Indian cricket fans back home angry and baying for blood. An HT Online opinion poll showed fans wanted captain MS Dhoni, middle-order batsman VVS Laxman and Dravid dropped from the team. The fans were willing to give Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag a longer-but not that much longer -rope.

In a measure of the anger felt by cricket lovers, more than a third of the respondents wanted even Tendulkar, regarded as the greatest batsman of all times after Sir Don Bradman, dropped.

As all hopes of a last gasp show of defiance from India vanished in the baking Adelaide sun on Friday and a second successive overseas whitewash loomed large, Sunil Gavaskar vented his anger at India's lack of application. “At least three or four players might have played their last Test. The selectors should pick youngsters who would serve the country in the years down the line,” he told a TV channel.

Meanwhile, according to reports in newspapers, by Friday evening, there were whispers, reportedly emanating from within the Indian camp in Australia, that Rahul Dravid would announce his retirement from Tests on Saturday.

In the meantime, R Ashwin was again ‘handpicked’ by the team management on Friday to do perform defensive duty as seniors preferred to stay put in the dressing room, says a report in Hindustan Times. Ashwin admitted to a collective failure. “It’s a team game. We have failed as unit. If batsmen haven’t got runs, they haven’t given enough time to bowlers to recover. If the bowlers have not done well, they haven’t given enough to batsmen in the dressing room,” Ashwin explained at the press conference.

Harsha Bhogle in his column in The Times Of India, has attributed the whitewash to the problems emanating right from the top. “Much of the diagnosis has focused on the seniors, far too little time has been spent discussing the opening pair. In 16 innings India’s openers have put on 63, 19,0,6,8,0,8,49,22,17,0,18,4,24,26 and 14; one half century together. When the foundation is brittle, the walls are rarely strong. Meanwhile, the Australian bowling was relentless, bowling lovely lengths and constantly interrogating the batsmen.  The cricket world is going to see a lot of James Pattinson and Peter Siddle, in my short list for the player of the series, could well become another Australian bowling star,” he writes.

According to a report in The Age, Virat Kohli said that India's ageing batting kings shouldn't be treated as has-beens for their flops in Australia. Taking aim at critics of Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag and VVS Laxman, Kohli said: "You don't just curse the legends of the game for (performances in) five, six Test matches. What about the 100, 80 Test matches that came before this? The criticism and the praise -- shouldn't be like you make them kings and then treat them like total failures if they don't do well.”