Ganguly still has a lot to learn as captain: Bedi

Published: Tuesday, April 10, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi: Former India cricket captain Bishan Singh Bedi said skipper Saurav Ganguly "has a lot to learn" and his captaincy "did not make any difference" to the result of the recently concluded series against Australia. "Captaincy is not everybody's cup of tea. He (Ganguly) has a lot to learn," Bedi told IANS in an interview. India won the Test series 2-1, but lost the Limited Overs version 2-3. Bedi, not one to mince words, ascribed the Test victory to "sheer providence". He, however, refused to comment on who should lead the Indian team on its tour to Zimbabwe next month. "That is entirely up to the selectors. Let them scratch their brains and decide," he said. On Ganguly's lack of form throughout the Test and Limited Overs series, Bedi said the Bengal player had a "poor run. He scored 74 in the fifth and last One-dayer, which is neither here nor there", he said, adding that "a captain must earn respect though his performance. I do not think captaincy made any difference to the result of the Test series". "In Indian cricket, everything happens by sheer providence," the 54-year-old Bedi, one of the greatest left-arm spinners ever, quipped. As for the Limited Overs series, Bedi said, "It was an anti-climax. It (the series) was not interesting. All the matches were one-sided, barring the fifth, which was contested somewhat. (But) I did not really expect India to win," Bedi said. "Both teams were tired after the Test series, and the fatigue showed (in their performance) after constant traveling and playing." Asked if India has found a match-winner in off spinner Harbhajan Singh, especially in the absence of injured leg spinner Anil Kumble, Bedi answered in the negative and again cautioned against reading too much into the Test triumph. At the same time, Bedi wanted cricket experts to spend some time with the Jalandhar-based Singh, who set up the rare triumph along with prolific scorer Vangipurappu Venkata Sai Laxman, so that he could prove his mettle in the long run. Bedi also praised Singh's performance, saying his emergence was the best thing to have happened in the circumstances. "He came good at the right time," Bedi said. "His 32 wickets in the three Tests is an amazingly good phenomenon. But it is too early to judge him. Let us see. Let us give this kid some time to prove himself." Bedi further said the Australian batsmen's inability to play spin bowling was exposed during the series. "I think the Australians attacked him (Singh) too much without being technically well equipped to do so," he remarked. Bedi also lauded the efforts of Laxman, whose knock of 281 in the second innings at Kolkata, when India followed on, turned the Test series on its head. "It made all the difference," he said. "It was one of the most crucial innings of all time by an Indian. It was one of the main reasons for the result the home team achieved ultimately." Bedi agreed that the Australians were overconfident in the Test series. "Yes, they were too cocky for their own good," he quipped. "And they were put in their places by the game itself, and not by any player. They paid the price for being too cocky." Commenting on the pitches provided for the series, Bedi said they were good enough for Test cricket. "Except, perhaps, for the first Test in Mumbai, the pitches in Kolkata and Chennai were result-oriented and we got the results," he added.

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