Indian cricketing greats slammed the national selectors for making too many changes
Indian cricketing greats slammed the national selectors for making too many changes and accused them of bowing down to skipper Virat Kohli, with Sunil Gavaskar calling them "lame ducks" ahead of the West Indies series.
Pressure has mounted since India lost their World Cup semi-final against New Zealand, with former captains Gavaskar and Sourav Ganguly leading the criticism.
India have brought in a host of younger players for their three Twenty20 internationals, three one-day matches and two Tests starting on Saturday.
Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, K.L. Rahul, Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja are the only players selected in all three formats for the tour, while rising stars Manish Pandey and Shreyas Iyer are in the limited-overs team.
"I'm opposed to too many players being moved around. I'm for stability, not a stop-start type of an environment," Ganguly told The Print news website. "We haven't won a global tournament since the 2013 Champions Trophy. We have to find a way to move beyond the last-four stage. Look at what England did in the recent World Cup. Learning from 2015, they transformed themselves into world beaters."
Ganguly said there had to be "clear" communications between the selectors, team management and players.
"We don't need cameos only, we need match-winning innings or spells. Learn from Virat, Rohit (Sharma) and (Jasprit) Bumrah... Mohammed Shami too," he said.
Gavaskar launched his "lame ducks" attack because Kohli's appointment as skipper for the West Indies did not go through the normal protocol.
He said the selection committee, led by former wicketkeeper MSK Prasad, did not meet to reappoint Kohli as captain.
"That they selected the team for West Indies without first having a meeting to select the captain brings up the question of whether Virat Kohli is the captain of the team at his or the selection committee's pleasure," Gavaskar wrote in the Mid-Day newspaper. "To the best of our knowledge his appointment was till the World Cup. After that, it was incumbent on the selectors to meet even if it was for five minutes for his reappointment."
He added: "By bypassing the procedure, the message that goes out is that while the players like Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik get dropped after below expectations performance, the captain continues despite much below par expectations where the team did not even reach the final."
Kohli in turn had to reject reports of a "rift" with Rohit Sharma as "absolutely ridiculous" in his final press conference before heading to the West Indies.
Some see Sharma, captain of the Mumbai Indians IPL champions, as a rival to Kohli for the leadership role.
However, Ganguly said talk of infighting always hangs over national teams.
"I've heard such stuff in the past and, no doubt, will hear it again. If the team wins, all is fine. Lose a big semi-final, and the whispers begin," he said.