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Dhoni needs to be aggressive: Bedi
- Former captain advises India to use ‘necktop’ as well
A TELEGRAPH EXCLUSIVE

New Delhi: Former India captain Bishan Singh Bedi, outspoken at the best of times, spoke to The Telegraph in neighbouring Noida on Tuesday evening.

The following are excerpts

Q India after their first three matches...

A We could have done better... Instead of forcing a tie against England, we should have won that match... Then, the other day, we almost made a mess of things against Ireland.

Weak links...

(Animatedly) Fielding and bowling... I don’t quite approve of the captain (Mahendra Singh Dhoni) publicly saying that some of his fielders won’t improve. Such things are best left for the dressing room... As for our bowling, we need to look for wickets, instead of being obsessed with dot balls... Because of the fielding and bowling, our batsmen will have to score 60-70 more to provide for a cushion.

If the bowlers have a mindset problem...

Not the bowlers, but the captain... I think he’s only looking for dot balls... People must realise that a wicket automatically becomes a dot ball plus, at the same time, the bowler sees the back of a batsman... Clearly, our spinners must go for the kill.

Yuvraj Singh’s form...

Even after 268 ODIs, Yuvraj still thinks of himself as a part-time bowler... Fact is he’s the only left-arm spinner we have... He has to be used to the fullest, in every match, and the captain has to give him confidence.

Specialist spinners not delivering...

It’s a big worry.

The fielding...

When we’re on the field, the ball goes everywhere, through the gaps... In the last match, when Ireland were fielding, the ball only went to fielders... Instead of 11 on the field, we need 15-20... Except for Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina, who isn’t in the XI, nobody is a spring chicken... This isn’t the inaugural World Cup (1975) where a lousy fielder and a slow mover like me could be ‘hidden’... That can’t be done today, not with so many cameras focusing on whether you’re following the ball or picking your nose!

India playing seven specialist batsmen...

But why? Look, if six batsmen can’t do the job, then the seventh won’t either... I would have five specialist bowlers. I’m not a big one for bits-and-pieces players.

Captaincy by Dhoni...

Dhoni’s ultra-defensive... He needs to be aggressive... Richie Benaud once said that captaincy is 90 per cent luck and 10 per cent ability... He also said he wouldn’t go for one with that 90 per cent if that vital 10 per cent wasn’t there. Dhoni has been lucky and nobody can take away his achievements. However, in crunch situations, you’ve got to make your own luck instead of waiting for things to happen... Dhoni’s been blessed with a wonderfully cool head, but that head has to function, right? Something between the ears has to click... For all his coolness, I found him quite flustered in the last few overs of the England match. In my view, he has to broaden his cricketing outlook and display a killer-instinct, which I haven’t seen in the first three matches.

India’s way of preparing...

I think they’re going far too much by the laptop... They should follow the dictates of the ‘necktop’ as well... Laptops are fine, but who invented them? Man, not machine. Use technology, by all means, but don’t become a slave... Also, I don’t understand this business of playing football and volleyball during practice sessions. For God’s sake, just bat, bowl and field at nets.

Chances...

Definitely good, but the loopholes must be quickly plugged... We’ve got to keep winning, as that will leave the others awe-struck. This team has to create that special thing.

Whether any captain has stood out in this World Cup...

No.

Take on the edition so far...

(Promptly) Very mediocre.

Finally, if the likes of Ireland should feature in future World Cups...

Absolutely. When you talk of globalisation, how can you keep them out? They’ve qualified for this edition and the ICC didn’t do them a favour... The Test-playing nations, I’d like to point out, must have time for them.

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