Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar criticised the selection committee for making Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh scapegoats as the duo were omitted from the squad for the Nagpur Test against England.
India were crushed by seven wickets in Kolkata Sunday in the third Test and now trail England 1-2 in the four-match series.
"If you ask me, Zaheer's exclusion was expected but I believe that Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh have been made scapegoats," Gavaskar was quoted as saying by NDTV.
"If you look at Harbhajan's performance in Mumbai, he got to bowl some 20-odd overs (21) and also got two wickets. If India lost in Mumbai, it was a collective failure. Yuvraj also got into 30s. If you want to drop them, then why not some of the others who have also not performed. Both Yuvraj and Harbhajan are soft targets," Gavaskar said.
"I think a good idea would have been if chairman of selection committee (Sandip Patil) would have gone to the dressing room and spoken with the players who haven't played some good shots to get out. Also with the bowlers. The defeat should hurt them. But sadly, I saw some of the players joking around and playing football as if nothing has happened. That's not a good attitude."
Gavaskar also backed Mahendra Singh Dhoni to continue as captain and said that there was no point in taking decisions hastily.
"A captain is as good as his team. I don't think we have any alternative of Dhoni at the moment. If you want to change the captain for the heck of it, then it's different," he opined.
Talking about the selection of young and upcoming pacer Parvinder Awana for the fourth Test, Gavaskar said: "I don't know his domestic performance but if he has done well in domestic cricket, I have no issues. But IPL can't be a yardstick for selection in national team. India cap should be earned the hard way."