Skipper MS Dhoni and Gautam Gambhir walk off the field during lunch on the first day of fourth cricket test match between England and India in Nagpur on Thursday. PTI Photo
Former skipper Bishan Singh Bedi has slammed MS Dhoni for his defensive captaincy and criticised the cricket board for taking no action to remove him and install fresh blood.
Speaking to the Hindustan Times, Bedi said: “Dhoni was never a Test skipper. He is far too negative, especially while setting fields. His success had a lot to do with providence.”
Bedi felt it is time to push Virat Kohli into the hot seat, backing the view of another former skipper, Sunil Gavaskar. Counterpoint
The former spin great said the BCCI could be influenced by financial considerations and that could be a reason why Dhoni was being retained as skipper.
The wicketkeeper is also the skipper and brand ambassador of Chennai Super Kings, the Indian Premier League team owned by BCCI president, N Srinivasan.
And it is not just captaincy. Dhoni's wicketkeeping too is not upto scratch, feels Bedi. “He wanted turning tracks. I think he would have struggled to keep wickets on such tracks going by his declining skills.”
The spin legend isn't really surprised with India's recent failures in Tests.
“Preparations weren't enough. After the World Cup, they've been sitting in a comfort zone. To stay on top, you need to do a little more. We didn't travel to England and Australia with strategies. Here, we were just busy debating on the kind of pitches we want.”
While India were banking on the kind of wickets that would be laid out, England were busy preparing for the series.
“They had a proper camp in Dubai. It shows they were prepared and had the confidence to take on India,” says former India skipper.
Fitness an aspect
Known to be a taskmaster as a coach when it came to fitness, Bedi said that area remained the biggest concern.
“I am concerned with the basic physical fitness of the team. You can only call Virat Kohli a fit player. Bowlers especially look very unfit. You have to put in the hard yards.”Bedi, in fact, feel a lack of fitness is also to be blamed for the spinners' failure. The other factor for the spinners not being up to the mark was due to the over emphasis on Twenty20 cricket.
“At the highest level, you have to bowl consistently and bowl plenty of overs. How many times have these spinners bowled 40-45 overs in a Ranji game? You get the confidence and learn the tricks, especially on what all things you need to do when faced with a problem, only by playing first-class cricket. I am afraid all these bowlers look more like 4-over bowlers fit for T20. That's why they struggle against quality batsmen.”
Bedi, as coach, is particular about the attitude of his wards and he is known to be strict by not allowing players to wear shades on the field. “It reflects badly when there is no need for it and you are losing. You look at Ravindra Jadeja. You already had a McEnroe in the team in Sreesanth. Why do you need another one?”