Optional training sessions are now in the firing line after no end to India's recent woes. Former India coaches S Madan Lal and Anshuman Gaekwad have joined Sunil Gavaskar, who reckoned optional training should be done away with.

India are virtually out of the ongoing Asia Cup after suffering a one-wicket loss to Pakistan on Sunday. Prior to that, Virat Kohli's men lost to Sri Lanka in another tight finish.

Madan Lal stressed the importance of having good work ethic for a team to succeed. "This chalta hai sort of attitude is hurting Team India badly. It is important to have a proper work ethic and discipline in the team.

I don't know whether we should blame the captain, coach or the team management. You either have a practice session or you don't have it. Simple," Madan, who coached India from September 1996 to October 1997, told mid-day.

Abysmal work ethic

Gavaskar, talking to a news channel after India's loss to Pakistan, said: "India's work ethic has been pretty abysmal. It has let the team down. They have not practiced well and there can be nothing like optional practice. There was no excuse for anyone apart from Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli to miss practice.

"This business of optional practice has to be thrown out of the window. This is not the case only in this tournament, but throughout. You are not here to be in your hotel rooms or to be out in the shops. You are here to represent India, something which the team management has not been saying for the past two-three years."

Madan Lal said: "I don't think the Indian team enjoy their training sessions like other teams. When you do half-hearted work, it will always harm you."
Why pick and choose?

Gaekwad said practice sessions shouldn't be left to individuals in a team sport. "I agree that India is playing a lot of cricket and you have optional training so that your body gets enough rest and time to switch off.

But when the team is performing inconsistently, it is the players who need to on their own go out there and practice harder. After all, practice makes you perfect. The practice sessions can be for one or two hours," said Gaekwad.

The former opener recalled an incident in Sri Lanka during his stint as the coach when Mohd Azharuddin was the captain in 1998: "We landed around 12 noon and I told the boys we would go to the ground at around 4 pm for some light training. A senior player said he wasn't feeling well and would not like to come.

"I insisted on his presence because it would help in building team cohesion. "Nowadays, players are left alone. They no more share rooms. So, the only time they get together is during a practice session and during matches," he concluded.

Courtesy: Mid Day

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