Given the sequence of events, India look set to lose the Test series to England and with it their No. 1 status. The loss would also mean surrendering the Pataudi Trophy.
A distraught onlooker, Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, the illustrious son of Iftikhar Ali Khan Pataudi, after whom the trophy is named, spoke to HT on India’s expected slide from the summit.
The first India captain to win a Test series overseas, it was an upset ‘Tiger’ Pataudi as he said: “I don't agree with (MS) Dhoni that the players are overworked and tired. If you are a professional cricketer, you are supposed to only play cricket. Playing too many matches cannot be an excuse,” he said over the phone from Pataudi near Delhi.
He said the team was not mentally and physically fit and noted that they found the going tough even against a 'weak' side like the West Indies during the tour of the Caribbean.
“If we are relying so heavily on Zaheer Khan, there is something wrong. Being a No 1 side, you can't depend on individuals,” said the 70-year-old stylish cricketer of yesteryears.
Pataudi still counts the West Indies of the 1960s, '70s and '80s and the Australia team of the '90s as the true world champions.
“They won in every country, under all conditions, against all opponents,” he said.
While maintaining that India were yet to overcome their weakness on bouncy pitches, he defended the inclusion of Virender Sehwag in the Edgbaston Test.
Sehwag was a gamble
“It was a gamble. Had Sehwag not got out early, the scenario would have changed. He has that kind of influence on a match,” he said.
Pataudi was candid when asked about the controversy surrounding Ravi Shastri and Sunil Gavaskar over their conflicting interests as commentators and being contracted by the BCCI.
“If I had taken money from somebody, even I would find it difficult to speak against that person or organisation,” he said.