Current Indian team can beat England anywhere, claims Bishan Singh Bedi
Not the one to mince any words, Bishan Singh Bedi has verbally taken apart England in his own inimitable manner. Following their dismal performances in the ongoing 5-Test series in India, the 70-year old believes that they are not as good as their predecessors and expects them to lose across all conditions to Virat Kohli’s Indian team.
“I am most disappointed at this (England) team. Their body language has been atrocious apart from the fact that they have been dropping catches and not cashing on the toss which they won in two of the three Tests”, Bedi was quoted as saying to mid-day.
With still two Tests remaining in the series, England are already 0-2 down and hence find themselves staring down the barrel. Unlike certain preconceived notions, the series has not been played on rank turners (at least not yet).
Despite winning the toss on a proper batting wicket in Rajkot, Alastair Cook’s side failed to capitalise on the subsequent scoreboard pressure and had to be content with a draw. During the second Test in Vizag, the hosts won the toss and rode on the uneven bounce to cruise to a 246-run victory. Upon calling correctly at the toss, England's inadequate batting, as well as inconsistent bowling led them to an 8-wicket loss in the third Test in Mohali.
Armed with valuable contributions from the pacers, India’s spin trio have also added teeth to the batting lineup whilst holding their own in the bowling department too. Skipper Kohli has led from the front by amassing as many as 405 runs at an average of 101.25 with one century and two fifty-plus scores. Together with Cheteshwar Pujara, the 28-year old has brought some much-needed stability to the top half.
Highlighting the Indian captain’s rich vein of form, Bedi claimed, “Nothing is going right for this England team and no sport is worth watching if there is no contest. This Indian team can beat England anywhere. Virat Kohli is in the form of his life. He is at the peak of his form and has worked hard for his success.”
England miss doggedness of the past
An ICC Hall of Famer, Bedi played 67 Tests for India and picked up 266 wickets at an average of 28.71 until his retirement in 1979. Highly renowned for his ability to entice batsmen with flight and loop, the left-arm spinner also turned out for Northamptonshire in Country Cricket during which time he would have seen numerous stalwarts from close quarters.
On England’s current batting struggles, he felt, “What is missing (in them) is the doggedness of the past. They lack players like Ken Barrington and Geoff Boycott who could drop anchor. On these kinds of wickets, you need tight defence to stay. You also need loads of concentration and that is not happening. There is a temptation to go for your shots with a nice, meaty bat. But you can’t go for your shots all the time, this is Test cricket. However, I like the attitude of that 19-year-old kid Haseeb Hameed.”
However, the knockout punch had not come yet. Bedi went on to question the necessity behind the visitors travelling to Dubai at the completion of the third Test in order to rest and recuperate.
The no-nonsense veteran asserted, “Your true character emerges when the chips are down. You don’t need a break, you need to get into the cricketing groove. If you are jaded then, (at) what price (comes) professionalism? Surely, England would not have been seen with such poor body language against Australia. They would have been torn to shreds by their media.”
“Look at how Australia are coming back. They won the third Test against South Africa, but it cannot be called a consolation win because they went after South Africa. That is called spirit.”
Cook’s England have two more chances left to try and prove Bedi wrong. The penultimate Test will begin in Mumbai from Thursday after which the series comes to a close in Chennai.
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