Napier:Criticising stand-in skipper Virender Sehwag for his poor leadership, former New Zealand captain Martin Crowe said India's performance in the on-going second Test in Napier is a far cry from their attempt at becoming the world's number one team.
Crowe claimed regular captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni - he is out with a back injury - was being sorely missed and pin pointed Sehwag's leadership as one of the prime reasons for India's desperate situation against the Kiwis in the second Test, which the visitors are trailing by 267 runs after following on.
"The Indian team effort was pretty sloppy. There was a resigned feel about what the Indian side were obviously thinking in terms of looking to draw this match and to retain that 1-0 advantage," said Crowe.
"But these are troubled signs for India. They have almost taken their eyes off the ball. The Virender Sehwag shot was very irresponsible. Gautam Gambhir was lucky to survive a run-out, and the stroke that he played to get out. All this does not become of an experienced side that wants to be No. 1 in the world. Their fielding again was just slack. Nothing much changed and MS Dhoni was badly missed," Crowe wrote in his column for a cricket website.
He blasted Sehwag for his tactics and termed the Delhi dasher's decisions as "unfocused thinking".
"Sending out a nightwatchman was always unnecessary and shows further muddled and unfocused thinking," Crowe said. "I have never seen captaincy so bad as I saw with Virender Sehwag," he added.
The 46-year-old right-hander said Dhoni altogether has a different approach towards the game and pointed out that even senior players like Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid stood as silent spectators on Friday when the New Zealand batsmen were on a run rout.
"Clearly the loss of Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been a massive turnaround for them because their attitude has disappeared completely. For a side that wants to be the No. 1 team in the world, I was quite surprised at their whole approach, particularly after lunch on the opening day," he said.
"Obviously Dhoni has got the Midas touch, he has got that ability to motivate the team. But what surprises me is the fact even with Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar on the park they are not able to rally the troops," Crowe said.
He also criticised India's decision to arrive late in Napier for the second Test and said it left the visitors with very little time to settle down with the conditions.
"India should look back at the decision to arrive late in Napier. It's hard to tell if that is what is showing up on the field as well. But this late arrival has gone against the norm," said Crowe.
"I don t know if its arrogance or not, it's probably ill-planned. No one can predict that Dhoni was going to be injured, but they just seemed to as a group just gone off the boil which has allowed New Zealand to lift their confidence and belief that maybe they can pull off an upset and take the remaining wickets necessary to win the Test," he said.