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May 26, 2000

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The Rediff Interview / Bishen Singh Bedi

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'If I was in Kapil's place, I would have kicked the job'

Former India cricket captain Bishen Singh Bedi today said if he was in Kapil's place he would have kicked the job as coach of the Indian team.

Bishen Singh Bedi "I would have waited till the name was cleared by the Central Bureau of Investigation, which is looking into the match-fixing scandal," Bedi told Onkar Singh in an exclusive interview.

Bedi said that May 25, 2000, will go down as a sad day in the history of the Indian cricket because the icon of Indian cricket was forced to defend himself against a reckless charge made by former Indian all-rounder Manoj Prabhakar.

He said Kapil should not have reacted to Prabhakar the way he did at a press conference. "Those who are after Kapil want him to lose his temper, and by doing that he is falling into the trap of Manoj Prabhakar," said the left arm spin legend.

Excerpts from the conversation:

Are you sad that a player like Kapil has to defend himself?

It is not just sad, but it is tragic that a player of Kapilís calibre, the giant of the Indian cricket, has to defend himself against some reckless charges that have been flung on his face. It is sad that cricketers are fighting like street urchins. I blame the board officials for letting things go too far. Whatever is happening now is worse than a fight between street urchins.

Do you think Prabhakar should have levelled these kind of charges without having any proof?

I am not saying whether Prabhakar should have done this or Kapil should have done that. They should have known what is good for international cricket. They should not have brought the cricketing debate on to the street level.

Do you think an icon like Kapil should have reacted the way he did?

No. He should not have done that. If I were in his place I would have just kept quite. In any case, when the whole matter is being investigated by the CBI. What is the point of shouting and screaming at each other.

With allegations like this flying in the air, donít you think you too would have reached a point where you would have reacted?

No. He has done so well at the international level; he has a good temperament. He should have made use of that temperament and handled the situation rather carefully. Getting abusive does not pay. I know it is terrible that this kind of thing should have happened to Kapil, but by over-reacting he is not helping his cause.

Is he falling into the trap of Manoj Prabhakar?

That is precisely what I am telling you. Some people are laying a trap, and by over-reacting, he is not doing his cause any good. Because those people who are after him want him to fall into their trap.

You had also heard the same name a couple of years ago. Do you think the allegation is credible?

It is not credible at all. But by over-reacting you are giving some one a chance to say that his charges are credible. If someone tries to irritate you and you get irritated, then the chap who is after you has managed to do his job. Why are we allowing ourselves to be ruffled?

It took good investigations on the part of the Delhi police to fix Hansie Cronje and here we are doing it ourselves?

This indeed is true. And yet we would like to say that we are all very clean. What is cleanliness? Let the professional agency define it for us. Till such a time the CBI comes out with its findings, Prabhakar and Kapil should keep quite. I am very cut up with the media, the way they are going from one end to another to look for spicy headlines.

When people make sensational allegations then what can the media do about it?

How can an allegation be sensational? Sensational is exciting. I donít think this is exciting. It is tragic.

You said that Kapil should have resigned after the allegations of match-fixing were made against him?

Bedi with Murali Karthik If I was in Kapil's place, I would have kicked the job. What is the use of being the coach of the Indian team when I see not many people from the board coming to my aid. The board should have stood by Kapil Dev in the first place.

Do you think more names might crop up?

You never know. The investigation into the murky affair could throw up much more.

Do you believe over commercialization has led us to this?

No, I don't think so. You need money to meet your needs. But when money comes in you also need some transparency along with it.

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