New Delhi: India's team culture drew severe criticism from World Cup-winning former all-rounder Yuvraj Singh, who told ODI vice-captain Rohit Sharma that there aren't enough role models in the side, which lacks a sense of respect for the seniors and is prone to being distracted by social media.
The two were in conversation during an instagram live chat on Tuesday night. The context of Yuvraj's observation was Rohit's question on the difference between the current team and the ones in which the swashbuckling left-hander turned up.
"When I came into the team or when you (Rohit) came into the team, our seniors were very disciplined. Obviously there was no social media so there were no distractions," said Yuvraj.
"There was a certain behaviour that we boys had to carry, how they talk to people, how they talk to media. Because they were the ambassadors of the game and India."
But it is not the same anymore, feels Yuvraj.
"So that is what I had told you guys. After playing for India, you have to be more careful about your image. But I feel the third generation. There are only you two seniors, Virat and you, who are playing all the formats, rest of the guys are coming and going," he said.
"I just feel there are very few guys to look up to and I feel that a sense of respect towards seniors, that has become a thin line now. Koi bhi kisiko kuch bhi keh deta hai (anyone can say anything to anyone)," said Yuvraj.
Yuvraj said players during his time were more conscious about how they were perceived by the seniors in the side.
"I think juniors, because of social media, party scenes, these things, we could not even think about that in our time. Because we had that fear that if we do some mistake our senior will tell us that do not do this, this is not right," he said.
Commenting on the infamous incident involving Hardik Pandya and K L Rahul, who were suspended for loose talk on women on a chat show, Yuvraj added: "That incident could not have happened in our time."
Rohit, on his part, did not say anything to contradict Yuvraj.
"When I came into the team, there were so many seniors. I think I was the only youngster alongside Piyush Chawla and Suresh Raina. The atmosphere is light now. I keep talking to the youngsters, the five-six of them," he said.
"I speak to Rishabh (Pant) a lot. There was so much scrutiny on him and he got worked up. Media should also think before writing about him. But scrutiny will be there as long as you are playing for India."
On the mindset of the younger generation, Yuvraj said most of the upcoming lot only want to play limited-overs cricket.
"Sachin paaji told me once 'if you perform on field, everything else will follow'. I was at NCA once and I interacted with the younger lot. I felt most of them did not want to play Test cricket which is real cricket. They are happy playing one-day cricket," he recalled.
"I feel even the players who have already played for India should play domestic cricket when they are not on national duty.
"It would give them valuable experience of playing on different surfaces around the country," Yuvraj added.