The NCA has been turned into a hospital: Bishan Singh Bedi

Bishan Singh Bedi rued Indian players going to the NCA for even a minor niggle and said there are many other modern facilities available © Getty Images

Bishan Singh Bedi has always had a strong opinion on matters related to Indian cricket. He is currently coaching Jammu and Kashmir in the Ranji Trophy and helping it rise through the ranks. Jazmyn Sardana caught up with the spin legend.

Jazmyn Sardana (JS):  It has been 35 years since you took the 10-wicket haul against Australia at the WACA. Though India lost that match narrowly, it must have inspired the team and the result was obvious as they gave the Aussies a run for their money by winning the next two matches. Can you take us through the events of that match?

Bishan Singh Bedi (BSB): I am not a great figures man and I don’t have a very good memory about my past. I cannot recall much about it. I don’t like to live in the past and I like to enjoy only the present.

JS: Last year India toured Australia, they were thrashed badly 0-4, and since then their performance has been abysmal. Players like Iqbal Abdulla and Ambati Rayudu are not getting chances despite years of consistency in domestic cricket.

BSB: Honestly, I cannot answer that question as selection matters are handled by a professional group. They are getting paid for it very handsomely for this particular job. I cannot make any comment. However, the poor performance in Australia and the one in India against England reflect the (lack of) preparation.

JS: Do they lack the required preparation?

BSB: They certainly lack the preparation.

JS: India played the Test series against England and then move into the two T20s. Pakistan is also going to visit India. Is this cut-throat schedule responsible for the lack of fitness of bowlers and the whole team? Are they getting the required period for rehabilitation?

BSB: With the kind of money they are getting now, there is no reason why we should talk of rehabilitation. If you are good, you just carry on, unless something drastically happens and you are injured. If you are not injured, then you are expected to go on and on.

JS: There are quite a few left-arm spinners in the country like Harmeet Singh, Ankeet Chavan, Iqbal Abdulla, Akshay Darekar. Whom do you see as the next rising star?

BSB: They all are pretty good. I haven’t seen Ankeet Chavan playing as of now. Akshay Darekar is very good and I have seen him bowling very well. The problem is, if you are good, then you must get a break at the right time, no point in just remaining good and getting no chances.

JS: MS Dhoni’s captaincy is under scrutiny. Its felt Dhoni has to handle a lot of pressure as he is captaining in all the formats. Do you favour split captaincy?

BSB: I don’t want to comment on that as it is again the selection committee’s call. They have to really take some decision about this particular issue. In India, everybody seems to be a critic, whether it is a paanwalla or a taxi driver, they all want to be a critic. This is because cricket reaches out to the masses. This is how a cricketer becomes famous. The same people who praise you, pull you down when you are not doing well and then too, you have to take it. Take it in your stride.

JS: Any suggestions for the Indian bowlers who get injured time and again?

BSB: Of late, the NCA has been turned into a hospital as everyone wants to go there, even if there is a minor niggle. There are so many modern facilities available, so why get into the NCA?

JS: After your double knee replacement injury, do you find it tough on field with your team?

BSB: The replacement surgery turned out well for me. I have more free range of motion, and since I am not supposed to play, just be a mentor and guide, it doesn’t make a difference.

JS: Your team J&K has got two back-to-back victories with the captain Ian Chauhan getting centuries and Manik Gupta doing well with the ball. What were the weak areas in your team — ones that you wanted to work on?

BSB: No I really didn’t do much; the boys clicked as they are very hardworking. I think it is a good sign as they realise the importance of their game and winning. Ian is doing really well.

JS: How do you inspire them? Are you very strict with them?

BSB: No, not at all. They are not school kids. I don’t think we have got any code of conduct as such; we just like to stay with game and be intense about it all along.

(Jazmyn Sardana is a sports physiotherapist and budding cricket anchor who is captivated by the dimensions of imagination defined by her own ideas. Sometimes she pretends to be normal’, but is soon bored and gets back to be her true self! She enjoys long, romantic walks to the fridge and wishes exercising was as easy as eating. She is a ‘cricketholic’ to the core)