The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘We must always play two spinners’
- The Australians are definitely beatable, feels Bishan Singh Bedi

Adelaide: The Australians are “definitely beatable,” but Team India “must always” have two spinners. Former captain Bishan Singh Bedi made both points rather emphatically on Monday. By the way, it was under his captaincy that India won two Tests (Melbourne and Sydney) in the 1977-78 series.

On a private visit, Bedi told The Telegraph: “Without Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne and Brett Lee, the home team is definitely beatable and, really, we’re in a position of much strength in the second Test. However, we should always field two spinners, instead of one. Full marks to Ajit Agarkar but, here, I would have played Murali Kartik in place of Irfan Pathan...”

Kartik has been added to the touring party as a ‘cover’ for Harbhajan Singh. In fact, with the latter expected to undergo surgery, Kartik is unofficially occupying the second spinner’s slot.

“Harbhajan made a mistake by not undergoing surgery in May... Today, he is depressed, but I’ve reminded him that injuries can’t be avoided... I’ve also said he must mentally prepare for an operation (on the right index finger),” Bedi pointed out.

Lauding Rahul Dravid and V.V.S. Laxman for their sterling effort, he continued: “In my opinion, Laxman is the in-form batsman on either side... Dravid remains top class but, somehow, I get the feeling he underestimates his ability. He must back himself for more...”

Turning to Sachin Tendulkar, Bedi argued he shouldn’t try to “hit” his way out of trouble. “I accept Sachin got a poor decision in Brisbane (first Test), but he must stay at the wicket and gain confidence, not play a poor shot outside off... That way, he’s not going to reduce pressure.”

Of course, while ending our conversation, he had a word of advice for captain Sourav Ganguly: “Quickly get into the shall-win mode and don’t panic... There’s lots of time, lots of overs... This chance shouldn’t be lost.”

Incidentally, Bedi’s children from his late first wife (Glen) are settled in Melbourne. Daughter Gillinder is a doctor, while son Gavasinder is a computer pro.

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