MS Dhoni’s captaincy could come under scrutiny after India’s humbling by England in their five-match Test series, says Sourav Ganguly.
The visitors lost the final three matches by 266 runs, an innings and 54 runs, and an innings and 244 runs respectively to slip to a 3-1 defeat.
Former India captain Ganguly was bitterly disappointed by his country’s capitulation and says changes may have to be made in order to arrest the slide.
“There are question marks over Dhoni’s captaincy and that has been the case for four years now,” he told Sky Sports after India’s heavy reverse at The Oval on Sunday.
“He is a terrific captain in the one-day format but when it comes to Test matches, especially in England, I get the feeling he loses his way.
“India’s batting order has not changed and they have kept nicking off to slip, and yet when Ishant Sharma put on a 50-run partnership with the captain in the first innings he remained at No 11 in the second.
“We have not thought on our feet or tried to make a difference. It has been a terrible performance – and while I understand it is a young team and it is in a rebuilding phase, you need them to show more.”
“I was always worried, even after the win at Lord’s because I have seen this team in and out for the last four years, but while I am not surprised to see England win 3-1, I am still angry about it.”
Former England captains Andrew Strauss and Nasser Hussain also chipped in with their thoughts on India’s flagging fortunes, with the tourists failing to register a score of over 200 in the final two Tests, at Old Trafford and The Oval.
Strauss described India’s display in London as “shambolic”, while Hussain pinpointed some of the reasons why Dhoni and his charges saw the advantage they accrued at Lord's swiftly evaporate.
“I am always keen to highlight the positives and how well a side have played but India, in this Test in particular, were dreadful,” said Strauss.
“There were run-outs, unbelievable periods with the ball where England were going at 10-an-over and no-one got stuck in when they got bowled out for 94 on the final afternoon.
“It was shambolic.
“At some stage, even if you are losing the series, you want to see players show stomach for the fight and say: 'Even if everyone else is getting out, I want to show pride and get some runs,’ but no-one did that for India and that will really disappoint MS Dhoni.
“It will be so frustrating for the supporters who will now be asking: ‘Should we get rid of our players?’, ‘Was there any fight?’ and ‘Do they really want to be out there?’.
“You have to retain perspective and say that they got beaten by an increasingly confident England side and a lot of their players hadn’t played in English conditions before, but the manner of the defeat will hurt.”
Hussain added: “At Lord’s India showed England how to bat on a green top, with [Ajinkya] Rahane getting one of the best hundreds you will ever see, but for some reason the wheels have completely and utterly fallen off and their batting was rubbish.
“I think some of their players need to come and play county cricket and get used to the moving ball – if Sachin Tendulkar can do it so can these lads – while I think some of their selections were odd.
“Going back to Gautam Gambhir was fatal – you should always look forwards, not backwards – and playing bits-and-pieces cricketers in England, like Ravindra Jadeja and Stuart Binny, didn’t work.”