Bishan Singh Bedi slams Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh for skipping Ranji Trophy match
What's the story?
Legendary Indian spinner Bishan Singh Bedi has taken a dig at the senior duo of Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh for skipping Punjab's Ranji Trophy opener against Himachal Pradesh in Dharamsala. Even though he did not directly name the two experienced stars, the legendary spinner did not mince any words while expressing his displeasure at those who miss India's premier domestic tournament.
"First-class cricket is very important and honestly I don’t like players who bunk it. I have very little time for them. Players missing first-class cricket is a bad omen for Indian cricket. When your international players start bunking domestic cricket, it is a bad omen for the future," Bedi told The Indian Express.
However, the 71-year old lauded Indian team regulars such as Ravichandran Ashwin, Cheteshwar Pujara, Wriddhiman Saha and Mohammed Shami for making their presence felt in the prestigious first-class tournament. He affirmed, "I am glad that they are not missing Ranji Trophy. After making it into the national side, it is important for players to continue in domestic circuit too."
In case you didn't know...
Initially, the senior selection committee of Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) named Harbhajan as the team's captain for this season of Ranji Trophy with Yuvraj as his deputy.
However, the off-spinner pulled out of the opening match due to some personal commitments. Consequently, the arm-band went to his former national teammate Yuvraj. But the stylish left-hander too had to miss the game against Himachal Pradesh since he was scheduled to undergo a fitness test at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru at the same time.
The heart of the matter
The 2017/18 Ranji Trophy began on October 6th with almost every state team and association side featuring simultaneously. Despite missing the services of two of their leading stars, Punjab managed to pull off a creditable draw in the recently completed match at the HPCA Stadium in Dharamsala.
On the other hand, the likes of Ashwin and Pujara turned out for Tamil Nadu and Saurashtra respectively. While the seasoned off-spinner received some hammering at the hands of Andhra Pradesh's batsmen during the final day, the technically compact right-hander contributed just 35 runs in his team's emphatic innings victory over Haryana. Meanwhile, the Bengal duo of Mohammed Shami and Wriddhiman Saha took part in the fixture against Services at the Palam A Stadium in New Delhi. However, the two stars were not able to prevent the hosts from holding on to a fighting draw.
While Harbhajan is unlikely to be available for selection anytime soon, Punjab could receive a major boost in the form of Yuvraj Singh for their next game against Vidarbha at the PCA IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali from October 14 to 17.
Even though he could have taken an effort to force the NCA staff to postpone the fitness test after the Ranji Trophy match, Yuvraj at least has a reasonable explanation for missing the game. On the other hand, Harbhajan's absence is baffling as the Punjab players look up to him for inspiration early in the season.