Bedi pitches for new Test captain in place of Dhoni

Blaming Mahendra Singh Dhoni for the apparent 'rift' in the Indian cricket team in Australia, former captain Bishan Singh Bedi today said that time has now come for the side to have a new Test skipper.

Bedi felt that Dhoni had failed to maintain harmony in the Indian team in Australia by stating that the three senior openers could not be in the team together as they were slow fielders.

Asked if Dhoni should be removed from Test captaincy, Bedi said, "This is the job of selectors and I don't wish to pressurise them. But personally speaking Dhoni might have his day. I think there is definitely room for a new Test captain.

"To a certain extent, the dissensions in the team in Australia has undermined his captaincy. He (Dhoni) created it (dissension) by himself. He was the first one to speak to the media," Bedi told Karan Thapar in CNN-IBN's 'Devil's Advocate' programme.

"Most definitely things have gone out of control of Dhoni and so he should be replaced," he added.

Asked if Dhoni leadership was found wanting in Australia, Bedi said, "Dhoni was struggling as a leader. A leader's job is to keep the team together and not to allow drift among players in different directions. He did not show the leadership which was desired.

"He (Dhoni) should not have made those negative comments (of senior players being slow fielders). Not at all. The same thing (Virender) Sehwag did after Dhoni. Two wrongs do not make one right and the boys, especially the youngsters, were all over the place," said Bedi.

"But there are too many conflicting interests here. Dhoni plays for Chennai Super Kings in IPL, a team owned by BCCI President and chief selector as a brand ambassador," he said.

Bedi said that apart from the lack of leadership qualities, Dhoni was not performing consistently in the Test arena as a wicketkeeper and a batsman. "It's not a question of temperament. Somebody had said captaincy is 90 per cent luck and 10 per cent ability. Here is a case in which the entire thing depends on luck. I think his performance in front and behind wicket leaves a lot to be desired," Bedi said.
"Anyways, I was never a great fan of Dhoni as Test or ODI captain because he is far too negative in his approach to be a captain of India," said the former spinner.
Bedi also said that Sachin Tendulkar should be given at least two months' time to decide on his future and if he does not take a decision before India's next series, the BCCI should take a call on his fate.

Bedi said that considering the contribution Tendulkar has made for the game in the country, he would prefer the senior batsman to decide when to retire.
"I know lot many people have said a lot many things about Tendulkar. We (media, former cricketers) are in fact pygmies as compared to a giant called Tendulkar. The only person who can sit in judgement of Tendulkar is Tendulkar himself whether he wants to carry on or quit.

"Having said that. I feel that the Board must have gumption to take on Tendulkar and Tendulkar himself should be able to decide on his future," said Bedi.

Asked whether the BCCI should tell Tendulkar it's time for his departure if he does not take a decision on his own, Bedi said, "Why not? I prefer Tendulkar taking his own decision but if he does not decide then the Board should decide. It's the Board's prerogative then.

"But my only apprehension is that whether the Board has that character to tell Tendulkar," he said.

Asked how much time Tendulkar should be given to decide on his future, Bedi said, "Let him come back from Australia and give him time. No series coming up some time and give him a month or two. "Don't make him decide his future under pressure. We as a nation can't forget the contribution he has made. But before the next series he should make up his mind," Bedi said.

Bedi also felt that the current selectors, except for Mohinder Amarnath, do not have the guts and character to tell some senior players to quit following the Test debacle in Australia.

"You think the selectors have the guts to do it. No, they don't have. They are all zonal based selectors. Apart from Mohinder Amarnath I can't think the four others have got the capacity, acumen and guts to take that kind of decision. The selectors don't have the character to do something for the good of Indian cricket," he said.
Asked if the selectors were acting as dummies for some people behind the scene, Bedi said, "Some people are calling the shots for sure. I don't want to pull the ground like that but they (selectors) are listless for sure. The BCCI president is far too powerful."

Bedi felt that the Indian cricket team in Australia is in a "doghouse" and the responsibility for the mess lies on the incompetence of BCCI officials.
"The team is not in crisis now. They are in doghouse if I may say so. How to get out of it is what they should think about," he said.

"It's more than a calamity. It's a very depressing phase for Indian cricket. We were on top of world in Test and ODI. What have we done to stay there? India became far too complacent. I don't blame the players. It's the system which allows them to be complacent," he added.

Asked who should bear the responsibility for the present state of Indian cricket, Bedi said, "Primarily with the BCCI because they are the ones who call the shots. I don't see any player to be complacent on their own or coach should not have any say in real running of the game that is taking charge of exact performance on field.

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