Virender Sehwag believes there is no need for any of India's under-performing senior batsmen to retire in the wake of India's disastrous 4-0 series thrashing at the hands of Australia.
Speaking after his side was knocked over in its second dig for 201 to surrender the fourth Test at Adelaide Oval by 298 runs early on the fifth day, acting captain Sehwag, flanked by India media manager GS Walia, backed India's senior players to decide their own destiny.
"I don't think there is a need for retirement of any player in this team," Sehwag said.
"They will take their call when they're needed and when they think their time is up."
Walia hit out at 'baseless' media speculation that a member of the team had retired after the Adelaide Test.
"The team takes note of the stories in the media suggesting the imminent retirement of a member of the India team," said Walia, reading from a prepared statement.
"We would like to clarify that situation by stating categorically that these are not correct and are baseless."
"No further questions on this."
When prompted, Walia and Sehwag declined to name the player at the centre of the rumours, but it is believed to be Rahul Dravid.
Reports emerged from the subcontinent late Friday and early Saturday that Dravid, at 39 the oldest member of the squad, had told team-mates he was pulling up stumps on his grand international career.
Dravid, Test cricket's second greatest run-scorer behind only Sachin Tendulkar, had a poor series, averaging just 24.25 and having his stumps knocked over six times in eight dismissals.
He wasn't alone though. Among the tourists, only youngsters Virat Kohli and R Ashwin can be said to have advanced their batting credentials, while veteran Zaheer Khan and exciting Umesh Yadav were the only bowlers who could possibly earn a pass mark.
"We have to look at ourselves and what went wrong and then make the calls," Sehwag said after India's second consecutive 4-0 series loss on overseas soil, after being thumped by the same margin by England last year.
"There are experienced players in our team, they are well aware of that and they are working on that, one bad series doesn't make any difference for them."
"They are working hard on their batting skills and they'll find a way."
Sehwag believes the best way to move forward is to start with a fresh canvas.
"The best way out is to forget what happened and concentrate on what we will do in coming matches and coming series," he said. "Practice hard, plan well and execute your plans in the game."
"It's difficult to explain what went wrong. We didn't bat well, we didn't give a good start as openers, hopefully we will do well in coming series."
When asked what coach Duncan Fletcher has brought to the Indian team, Sehwag flinched.
"It's difficult to tell you," Sehwag said of Fletcher, who presided over England's similarly disastrous 5-0 series sweep in Australia five years ago.
"I will not comment on that."
One man who has been short of comment throughout the tour has been Tendulkar and Sehwag revealed the reason for the Little Master's reticence to chat with the media.
"He never gives interviews before and during or after the series," Sehwag said.
"He only comes to the media when he scores runs."
"Whenever he scores a 100 or more he comes in and handle the media."
Sehwag is prepared for the frosty reception that will inevitably come India's way when they return home, but wants the cricket-mad public to maintain its support.
"They should be upset with our performances and I totally agree with them," he said.
"But this is the time the fans should back the team."
"When we won the World Cup everyone was happy and cheering for Team India, and now the time we need the support of the fans and everybody, they should back their own team."
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 28 January, 2012 5:52PM AEST