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India vs England 3rd Test at Southampton: Ravichandran Ashwin should play, says Bishen Singh Bedi

Ashwin, waiting for his chance to his first Test in England © Getty Images
Ravichandran Ashwin is waiting for the chance to his first Test in England © Getty Images

New Delhi: Jul 23, 2014

Impressed by India’s brilliant showing at Lord’s, spin legend Bishen Singh Bedi feels the only trick the team has missed so far in England is not playing Ravichandran Ashwin. “Ideally, Ashwin should have played in the both the games. Again it’s not Stuart Binny’s fault that he’s been thrust there. He has no utility when he doesn’t even get an over in the second innings,” Bedi told.

“It’s not about a winning combination, it’s about getting your act together. You don’t pick Ashwin and get Murali [Vijay] to bowl off-spinners, it doesn’t make sense. Both teams missed out on this front. Of course, England missed out more and India capitalised on it,” said the former left-arm spinner. Bedi said England are looking “helplessly hopeless” and playing below par cricket but that cannot take anything away from India’s brilliant showing at Lord’s.

“Let’s not take anything away from India. They played brilliantly. And don’t forget they lost the toss also. England played much below par. They look pretty directionless. They look helplessly hopeless,” Bedi said. If England veterans like Cook, Ian Bell and Stuart Bell were left struggling then Indian youngsters rose to the occasion, he noted. Bedi said while Indian players are peaking at the right time the English cricketers have had their time.

“When you touch the peak then there is nothing beyond that. You can stay at the top if you are willing but if not then there is no other way than the way down. What goes up must come down. So the England veterans like Cook, Broad, Andersen, Bell, Prior have all past their peak. But in the case of Indians — Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar — their peak is ahead of them. They haven’t peaked yet, they are on their way up. It is a cycle and Indians have stayed low for quite sometime. So they can only go up from here,” the spin legend said.

Reacting strongly to the interpretation of the term all-rounder, Bedi was quick to clarify that he does not consider Ravindra Jadeja or Stuart Binny as genuine all-rounders. “They are not the answer to an all-rounder. Even Bhuvneshwar Kumar can score runs. Let’s not confuse this term called an all-rounder. The one who can find his way into the side purely for his batting and purely for his bowling is a true all-rounder. Same for Ashwin or Jadeja or Binny or Kumar,” he said.

“Ray Lindwall scored two Test hundreds against England but nobody called him an all-rounder. He was a bowler. Gary Sobers, Imran Khan, Kapil Dev, Richard Hadlee, Ian Botham they were genuine all-rounders. Let’s not insult the term all-rounder,” said Bedi. He also came down heavily on England captain Cook saying that it is time for the veteran opener to start thinking as a leader.

“We have seen it against Australia, against Sri Lanka and we have seen it here. He is pretty much bereft of cricketing ideas. He definitely is a good enough player to be in the XI. You make 8,000 plus for nothing or play 100 odd Tests. He is still not 30 and still a lot of cricket is left in him I guess. In his case, he has a few technical hassles. Miseries don’t come alone. In his case, they are really coming in abundance,” opined Bedi. On being asked about the quality of Moeen Ali’s off spin, Bedi chuckled and said that the world is devoid of quality spinners with a legitimate action.

“The game is devoid of a single genuine spinner. There is no spinner in the world who has a legitimate action. There is not a single spinner on the horizon and its all because of the stupid limited-overs game. The spinners mentality has been destroyed by the T20s and ODIs. They more concerned about dot balls and not thinking about taking wickets and that is destroying their psyche,” he signed off.

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