Undercooked India lack fight - Sourav Ganguly

By Sam SheringhamBBC Sport at Trent Bridge
Sourav Ganguly
Ganguly says India, bar Rahul Dravid, have been 'very ordinary' so far

Former India captain Sourav Ganguly has criticised the current side for being under-prepared and said the batsmen need to "put their bodies on the line" if they are to salvage anything from their Test series in England.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni's struggling team followed a 196-run defeat at Lord's with a 319-run loss at Trent Bridge on Monday to go 2-0 down in the series with two Tests to play.

Ganguly, who captained India to more Test victories (21) than any other skipper, said their under-par displays were partly due to the decision to play just one-warm up game in England before the start of the series.

"I am a firm believer that every time you tour you need at least two warm-up games, and they absolutely could have played an extra game," Ganguly told BBC Sport.

"They have been very ordinary. I expected a lot more from this team, especially they way they performed here in 2002 and 2007."

Ganguly, who played 113 Tests and 311 one-day internationals for India between 1992 and 2008external-link, was particularly critical of the batsmen, with India yet to reach 300 in any of their four innings and only Rahul Dravid making a century, albeit on two occasions.

"Sachin Tendulkarexternal-link hasn't really got going yet, VVS Laxmanexternal-link has been on and off, the openers have struggled," he said. "Dravid is the only player who has really batted well.

"When you see 500 runs on the board and a game slipping away you need characters to stand up. They haven't done that yet, but there are two Test matches to go and hopefully they can turn it around.

"I believe they can. But they need to be determined, bat better and put their bodies on the line."

The series resumes at Edgbaston on 10 August with England knowing another victory would ensure they usurp India as the number one Test side in the world.

"I'm not a big believer in the rankings but I honestly don't know if India is the number one team in the world - to be number one you have to win in England and in Australia," added Ganguly.

"This was a series between two teams that could be number one and if England win they will deserve it."

A series defeat would inevitably lead to criticism of Dhoni in cricket-mad India, but according to former opener Ravi Shastriexternal-link, the captain's job is safe after he led them to World Cup victory in April and to the top of the Test rankings.

"Dhoni will get away with losing the series - he won't have a gun to his head," Shastri told BBC Test Match Special.

"His performance over the last three years has been magnificent. He just looks a little mentally jaded and it is reflecting on some of the players."