August 31, 2003

Bedi lashes out at BCCI

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Bishen Singh Bedi, one of the spin quartet that helped build the reputation of Indian cricket in the 1960s and '70s, launched a scathing attack on the Board of Control for Cricket in India for ignoring the coaching talent available within India. According to Bedi, too much reliance on technology went against "the Indian way", which had created stars like Ck Nayudu, Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar.

"Too much reliance on the lap top" was the general theme of his outburst, though he went on to say, "We have enough talent in the country, but no one wants to make full use of the expertise available."

Bedi was of the opinion that the Indian style of play was "artistic and not about express energy". "We cannot produce fast bowlers or sprinters," he says, perhaps forgetting names like Amar Singh, Mohammad Nissar, Javagal Srinath and, lately, Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra.

Bedi said, "I don't have any mental block learning from the Aussies or any one ... but no black and white rule books which say this is what the Australians are doing and we should do like this. We are temperamentally and physically different."

Bedi, who coached the Indian team in the early '90s, also couldn't resist a dig at Sourav Ganguly's reported trip to see Greg Chappell for some batting advice. "You have John Wright, employed by the BCCI, who himself was a left-handed batsman, but our captain goes to Greg Chappell to learn every thing in two hours," he said.

Bedi was speaking to the media ahead of a coaching camp at Jamia Milia University in Delhi from September 5 to October 3, where youngsters will learn from himself, Erapalli Prasanna, Hanumant Singh and Syed Kirmani. He added that the Bishen Singh Bedi coaching trust would bring out a film and a book on teaching cricket the Indian way.

Considering how much Indian cricket has improved in recent seasons with the increased emphasis on fitness and technology, you'd do well with take Bedi's words with a small shovelful of salt.