After India’s heart-breaking 31-run defeat against England in the first Test at Edgbaston, batting legend Sunil Gavaskar has come down heavy on opener Shikhar Dhawan's approach towards the traditional format of the game.
Dhawan failed miserably in the opening Test, amassing the scores of 26 and 13 in the first and second innings respectively.
"Shikhar simply does not want to change his game," Gavaskar quoted as saying by India Today.
"He believes in playing in the same manner which has brought him success till now. You can still get away with such shots in one-day cricket because there aren't many slips and the push or the edge goes for a boundary through the slip cordon. But in Tests, such shots will only result in a fall of wicket. Till a player makes a mental adjustment, he will continue to struggle against the red ball in overseas condition," he added.
When asked if Indian batsmen come to him for advice on how to play in seaming or swinging conditions, Gavaskar's response was shocking: "No batsman comes to me for advice now. Earlier, players like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag, VVS Laxman would often speak to me on tours but I guess this generation is different and they have different coaches and batting coaches. Only Ajinkya Rahane comes to me sometimes."
Virat Kohli was the lone warrior for India in both the innings, scoring 149 and 51 in the team total of 274 and 162 respectively. When asked if the Indian batsmen come to him for advice on how to counter the adverse English conditions, Gavaskar’s response was surprising.
"No batsman comes to me for advice now. Earlier, players like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag, VVS Laxman would often speak to me on tours but I guess this generation is different and they have different coaches and batting coaches. Only Ajinkya Rahane comes to me sometimes," the original Little Master remarked.
Gavaskar, who believes India should have played more warm-up games before the five-Test series, also felt that the team management had made a mistake by dropping from the series opener.
"I will play one more batsman at Lord's in the form of [Cheteshwar] Pujara. He has the technique and patience required for a Test match. Whose place he'll take will depend on the pitch. If the wicket isn't that green then I will play him in place of Umesh Yadav and stay with Hardik Pandya," he asserted.
Chasing 194, India were bundled out for 162 in the fourth innings of Edgbaston Test. Seeing the trend of world cricket nowadays, Gavaskar reckons even England would've struggled had they batted last.
"For India to win the Lord's Test, they need to win the toss and elect to bat first. Look what had happened in the third Test at Johannesburg last year when South Africa batting last against India collapsed before reaching 200. Most of the teams are struggling to chase even a total anywhere near 200 in the final innings. England too might have struggled if they were chasing in place of India in the first Test at Edgbaston," he concluded.