Former cricketer Bishan Singh Bedi on Monday had some strong words for Indian captain Virat Kohli, and even revealed former skipper and wicketkeeper-batsman MS Dhoni as “half a captain”.
According to Bedi, Dhoni’s absence made Kohli ‘visibly rough’ on the field during the fourth ODI against Australia.
Dhoni has been rested for the last two games of the five-match series, which is tied at 2-2 going into the decider in New Delhi on Wednesday (March 13), and Bedi shared his thoughts on the situation with PTI at a reception organised in the national capital by the Australian High Commission for its cricket team.
“I am nobody to comment but we all are wondering that why Dhoni is being rested and his absence was felt yesterday, behind the stumps, with the bat and on field also. He is almost half a captain. Dhoni is not getting any younger, he is no spring chicken either but the team needs him. He has a calming influence on the side. The captain needs him by his side, he is visibly rough without him. It is not a good sign,” Bedi was quoted as saying.
Bedi also reckons that the 12th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), beginning on March 23, could pose serious problems for the team as it counts down to the World Cup, which takes place from 30 May to 14 July.
“Anyone of them can get injured during the IPL. You can’t expect them to not give 100 percent while playing for their respective franchises.”
Wrist-spinners have been the flavour of the limited overs game in recent times, with Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal leading the line for India. But Bedi batted for Ravindra Jadeja’s all-round abilities, despite the left-arm spinner not being the first-choice starter as things stand.
“I hope they are right about wrist spinners but I cannot figure if there is a better all-rounder than Jadeja. What is the need to undermine him?” he asked.
Rishabh Pant, who played his fourth ODI in Mohali on Sunday, was sloppy behind the stumps – which led Bedi to question the need for resting Dhoni while the series against Australia was still alive.
“Pant is a wild horse. Somebody has to tame him. Who is going to do that? The support staff should be able to do that. He is making the same mistakes again and again and behind stumps, too, he has a lot of work to do, honestly. Your chairman of selection committee (MSK Prasad) is a wicketkeeper, you talk to him at least,” Bedi added.
While speaking about the areas of improvement in the current team, he said: “Cricket sense must improve. Cricket ability and cricket sense are two different things. You have tonnes of ability but without sense there is not much you can do. Yesterday, it was such a good start from India yet they were struggling to last 50 overs while Australia finished with more than two overs to spare”.