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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Ganguly should have called it a day: Bedi

Ganguly should have called it a day: Bedi

Last updated on: February 09, 2011 15:54 IST

Former India captain Bishan Singh Bedi says that when the news of Sourav Ganguly calling it a day broke he hoped it would be true.

The ace left-arm spinner made the admission during an informal discussion with rediff.com at a public function to release the first book on the women's cricket World Cup, by Anjum Chopra.

"Who am I to tell Sourav Ganguly what he should do and what he should not? He is a legend in his own right.

"He has led the Indian team with distinction. After no franchise was willing to bid for him in the Indian Premier League IV he should have read the notice on the board.

"When I heard that he has decided to quit all forms of cricket I hoped it turned out to be true. But Ganguly is still hopeful of playing in the IPL. Good luck to him," Bedi said.

Bishan Singh BediThe legendary spinner was critical of television news channels raising expectations of the team before the start of the World Cup.

"This World Cup is wide open," said Bedi, adding, "You have India, England, Australia and South Africa; all in the running for the title.

"Australia will be defending the title. India has to play against South Africa and England in two key group matches, besides Bangladesh, who had upset the Indian applecart once before."

While answering a question whether the Indian team stands a chance of winning the tournament, Bedi said, "I wish India wins the World Cup for the sake of Sachin Tendulkar, as he deserves one win, and he would be playing his last World Cup".

Discussing the selection of the Indian team, Bedi was happy with Sreesanth's return after Praveen Kumar was ruled unfit.

"He should have been there in the team right in the beginning. He has a godsent opportunity on his side and should make the best of it," Bedi said, adding, "Zaheer Khan is in good form, but having three spinners in the side is not good.

"They could have used the place to get an extra fast blower or a good all-rounder instead."

Asked how he looked at the prospects of the other participating teams, Bedi said cricket commentators are underestimating Pakistan in the wake of the ICC's action against three key players for their alleged role in the spot-fixing episode in England.

"With Shahid Afridi as captain -- on his day he can alone win matches -- and some unknown faces, Pakistan could surprise the experts of the game. Australia is playing well, and so is England and South Africa," said Bedi.

"It is not good to say that the South Africans are chokers. As I said in the beginning, this particular World Cup is wide open and no one could be said to be favourite," he added.

He said there are not many all-rounders in the present Indian team.

"This is the difference between the 1983 Indian cricket team and the one we have now," lamented Bedi. 

"When Kapil Dev's team won the World Cup, defeating the mighty West Indians, we had nothing to lose and everything to gain. The team had good all-rounders in Mohinder Amarnath, Roger Binny, Kapil Dev and Madan Lal. They were excellent fielders as well.

"But the same thing cannot be said about the present team, particularly when it comes to fielding, except one or two players. Now the television media has created hysteria and expectations are far too high, and hence it puts more presssure on the players to perform."

Onkar Singh New Delhi