Former India international cricketer Sandeep Patil has reacted to India's miserable performances in New Zealand by launching a scathing attack on head coach of the team Ravi Shastri, batting coach Vikram Rathor, and one of India's key batsman Ajinkya Rahane. His main objection was to the lack of scoring intent shown by Rahane and the inability of the support staff to help him.
"I heard about this (slow batting) when he was playing for Mumbai this season. This happens due to the fear of failure. He has led India, he's got a tremendous overseas record, but all that's history. Now that he's been labeled only as a Test player, been out of India's limited-overs team, human nature is such that one wants to establish himself as a Test specialist. He's trying to prove a point.
"By doing that, you try to show that I'll be technically correct. I'll try to occupy the crease. If you want to just occupy,' you can call a security guard! Who'll score the runs? I'm not saying throw your bat around. However, when you've so many hundreds behind you, this approach is not acceptable," Patil told TOI in an interview.
But the former India Test cricketer and member of the 1983 World Cup winning team didn't stop there. He went ahead and targeted Ravi Shastri and Vikram Rathor also for not intervening to help Rahane.
"If Rahane isn't understanding this, what is Shastri, and the batting coach doing? If one batsman goes into a shell, the others follow, and the team suffers. Those who bats after such batsmen feel that the bowling is too good," Patil added.
This type of criticism has its merit but one also has to give credit to New Zealand bowlers, who are genuinely world-class, for having created so much trouble for the Virat Kohli-led team. Also, if one looks closely at how the series panned out, one cannot say with certainty that a more 'positive' approach would have yielded better results. After all, Kohli failed in all four innings too.
The Indian captain had mentioned that some of his players didn't show enough scoring intent. However, Cheteshwar Pujara, who bats in a conservative manner, did get a half-century in the second Test and was only dismissed when he went for an extravagant pull shot. So, perhaps, being overly aggressive was also not a good option.
Still, when a former player like Patil, who also knows the likes of Shastri and Rathor, speaks about such an issue, one has to pay attention to it.