The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Kartik got a raw deal: Bedi
- Masters’ encouragement session for left-armer

Calcutta: It was a happy dinner break for most of the thousands who had gathered at the cauldron that was Eden Gardens on Tuesday evening. But one man seemed to have detached himself from all the hullabaloo. He was concentrating on business too.

Murali Kartik may have cut a lonely figure after being dropped from the touring party to Australia. But the masters of the art of spin bowling chose the dinner break offer some invaluable tips to the left-arm spinner.

Kartik had come up to the third floor of the Eden Gardens clubhouse, looking for Bishan Singh Bedi and Erapalli Prasanna and the masters were ready to oblige. The three had a 45-minute session as Bedi and Prasanna told Kartik, who finished with figures of one for 30, what to do in the future and how to prepare for tough assignments.

As the Indian team came out to bat, Kartik had to leave. “I have to go down and join my teammates,” was all the Railways spinner said as he rushed down to watch Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag take guard.

But Bedi gave The Telegraph details of the discussion. “Temperament is the key to the success of a spinner. And we told him he should not lose composure in spite of being dropped from the squad,” the left-arm spin legend said.

He said ignoring Kartik was one of the worst decisions by the selectors in recent times. “Kartik is so good and he is going through a purple patch. The whole world knows what big injustice has been done on a quality spinner,” Bedi added.

But what were his tips'

“Don’t lose heart, your chance will come. That was the point we harped on,” Prasanna added. “We also told him if loses his cool, his balance of mind will go wrong. And that can be quite disastrous for a spinner,” he added.

Bedi felt Kartik could get his chance during the Australia tour itself. “It’s a long tour, and I’m quite confident he’ll be called as the tour goes on,” Bedi commented. He said such a long trip demanded three spinners.

The masters also instructed that length is the key to success. “Bowl a little slow and the right length. You’ll surely go to great heights,” Bedi added. The champion spinner of yesteryears instructed him on what length to bowl, illustrating on a writing pad borrowed from a spectator.

Bedi had some real words of encouragement for the spinner. “We told him he is one of the best in the business. In fact, Kartik is better than Daniel Vettori,” Bedi opined. “Vettori goes too wide of the stumps and his hand movements are also not too relaxed. Kartik scores over Vettori, or for that matter most left-arm spinners in the world, on that count,” Bedi felt.

Aussie coaching offer

Both Bedi and Prasanna will leave for Australia on Sunday to train upcoming spinners in Australia. “We have been invited by Cricket Australia and we’re looking forward to working with them,” Bedi said. “The Aussies are a hard-working lot and I’m confident it’ll be an interesting session,” Prasanna said.

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