Praveen’s injury won’t hurt India’s chances
India’s pace attack might have weakened a bit after losing seamer Praveen Kumar due to injury but former spinner Bishen Singh Bedi feels it would not have any negative impact on India’s campaign at the soon-to-start cricket World Cup.
Praveen failed to recover from an elbow injury and was replaced by S Sreesanth in the 15-man Indian squad.
“One person cannot affect a team’s chances. In fact, it is good that Praveen has been replaced before the start of the World Cup because rather than having played in just a couple of games and then spending rest of the tournament on bench, it is always better to have a fit player becoming a part of the team from the very first match,” Bedi said.
The former India cricketer was speaking at the launch of book -- Women’s Cricket World, co-authored by former India captain Anjum Chopra along with cricket writer Sunil Kalra.
When the 64-year-old was asked what was the weakest point of the Indian team going into the World Cup, starting from February 19, Bedi replied the ‘huge burden of expectations’.
“Don’t make the expectations too high. It seems the expectations could prove the only hindrance in India’s path to lifting the Cup,” warned the former bowler.
He also emphasised that Sachin Tendulkar will have to play a crucial role if India wish to win its second trophy.
“Everybody wants India to win the World Cup and so do I. I want it more so because this would be Sachin’s last World Cup and I hope India win it. And I am sure Sachin will lead
the team to that final victory,” Bedi said.
The former cricketer added that all these talks may put extra pressure on Tendulkar but expressed confidence that the Mumbaikar would handle it with ease.
“All these might mean a lot of pressure on Sachin but it is nothing new for him. He has been handling pressure for the last 21 years so I don’t think it would affect him at all. In fact, his game is beyond such trivialities.”
Comparing the 1983 World Cup winning side with that of the 2011 World Cup squad, he said the Kapil Dev-led team had nothing to lose, but the current unit has.
“In 1975 and 1979 editions of the World Cups, India were just participating in the mega-event with no hopes attached to it. But after the 1983 triumph, we actually started to compete at the international arena. And since then the expectations only mounted,” said Bedi.
He further explained that when 1987 World Cup was co-hosted by India and Pakistan, people had great hopes that India, being the defending champions, would bag the Cup again.
“Ever since the expectations have been only growing and now it has almost reached its peak. I feel we have a peculiar tendency of either putting the team on a pedestal or throw it
to ground, which is not good,” said Bedi.
Besides the weight of expectations, the former spinner also raised concerns about the bowling department of the Indian team, saying that it was not up to the mark.
“India’s bowling is not as penetrating as it is required to win the matches on its own. The bowling would require a brilliant fielding effort. Moreover, even batsmen will have to score at least 50 more runs than an expected good total to give some margin to the bowlers,” said Bedi.
He also criticised the inclusion of three spinners in the 15-member squad, saying, “We have an extra spinner in our side. I feel two would have been enough on these sub-continent pitches. Instead, I think Rohit Sharma should have been included in the team.”