Kohli ‘Visibly Rough’ Without ‘Half a Captain’ Dhoni in Team: Bedi

Kohli ‘Visibly Rough’ Without ‘Half a Captain’ Dhoni in Team: Bedi

Cricket

Former captain Bishan Singh Bedi on Monday, 11 March, called Mahendra Singh Dhoni “half a captain” of India's limited overs team, and said his absence made skipper Virat 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, 13 March, 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.”
Bishan Singh Bedi

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The 72-year-old great, who took 266 wickets in 67 Tests and was part of India’s legendary spin quartet of the 1970s, stated that Dhoni’s “calming influence” still remains imperative for the Indian ODI team.

“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.”
Bishan Singh Bedi

Bedi was also dismissive of the Indian team’s experimentation in recent ODI series, as they look to lift India’s third title at the ICC World Cup 2019 in England.

India made four changes to their playing XI for the fourth ODI against Australia at Mohali on Sunday, 10 March – which they ended up losing despite scoring a massive 358.

“I would personally like them to live in the present. World Cup is still two and a half months away. Just play the game. For World Cup, we have been experimenting in the last one year and I am not happy with that at all.”
Bishan Singh Bedi
Rishabh Pant (right) replaced MS Dhoni in the Indian XI for the fourth ODI against Australia at Mohali, but was guilty of spurning two stumpings.
Rishabh Pant (right) replaced MS Dhoni in the Indian XI for the fourth ODI against Australia at Mohali, but was guilty of spurning two stumpings.
(Photo: AP)

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Bedi also reckons that the 12th edition of the Indian Premier League, beginning on 23 March, 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 a 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 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.”
Bishan Singh Bedi

Never one to mince his words, Bedi was frank about the areas of improvement for the present Indian ODI team as it looks ahead to the World Cup.

“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.”
Bishan Singh Bedi

“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,” he added.

(With inputs from PTI)

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