Bishan Singh Bedi backs ex-Team Director for chief coach's role; Shastri applies for the job along with presentation
Ravi Shastri, who applied for the job of Team India's head coach yesterday morning, found some wholesome support for his candidature from fellow left-arm spinner and his 1990 Cricket Manager, Bishan Singh Bedi. "I am happy to learn Ravi has applied for the post. I have a lot of time for him and he has done a reasonable job in his time as Team Director. It is visible that he has infused a positive attitude in the dressing room," Bedi told mid-day yesterday.
Bishan Singh Bedi
Shastri was quoted as saying by PTI that, "whatever is required by the BCCI, I have provided them. If you ask me whether I am confident or not, all I can say is that my job was to apply for the post and I have done that. I cannot comment on anything else."
Bedi didn't want to see a foreigner getting Indian cricket's top off-field job. "Look, I don't wish to sound prejudiced. But I feel an Indian must handle it. This is an Indian concern. We don't give respect and dignity to an Indian, but are willing to bow to a foreigner. We have seen foreign coaches and it's difficult to see the same intensity," said Bedi, who managed the Indian team on their 1990 tour of England where Mohammed Azharuddin's team lost the Test series 0-1 but won the two-match ODI series 2-0.
'Why not an Indian?'
"Why not an Indian," roared Bedi. "In any case, coaching is a misnomer. You don't coach individuals. You are cricket manager. They (players) have reached a stage where they are expected to be their own coaches and have the technical and temperamental know-how. The players know the three Ws," exclaimed Bedi. He was not referring to Worrell, Weekes and Walcott, but What, When and Why they must do certain things.
Then Team India director Ravi Shastri (right) with limited overs skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (centre) and Virat Kohli during a training session on the eve of the third Twenty20 international against South Africa at Eden Gardens in Kolkata last October. Pic/AFP
Bedi, a great believer in the power of domestic cricket, blasted the BCCI's technical committee for recommending that Ranji Trophy matches should be played at neutral venues so that the host team doesn't get an unfair advantage through the kind of surface. "These recommendations are diabolical. As it is, there are no crowds to watch first-class cricket. For example, who will watch Delhi playing against Himachal Pradesh at Bangalore? This is nothing else but willingly lending more credibility to the Indian Premier League.
"We are always in a rush to ape other countries. Even the Australian cricketers are not convinced about the new ball but we have decided to play a pink ball Test. Why not give importance to the Duleep Trophy instead of toying with this important tournament all the time," said Bedi.
Dwelling more on the neutral venue issue for the Ranji Trophy, the former India captain wondered what the 'Ground and Pitches Committee' was there if not to ensure that host teams don't prepare pitches to suit them. "It's like going to the physiotherapist to treat cancer," Bedi concluded.