New Delhi: Former India captain Bishan Singh Bedi is not at all surprised with the current team’s surrender in South Africa as he feels Virat Kohli’s men went into the series without serious preparation and “wasted time” playing against Sri Lanka.
The 135-run defeat in Centurion on Wednesday ended India’s nine-series-winning Test run as South Africa took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match rubber.
India had hammered Sri Lanka in a full series at home before departing for South Africa. The series was arranged within three months of the away assignment in Sri Lanka where India blanked the hosts.
When asked about India’s preparation for South Africa tour, Bedi came up with a stinging response.
“There was no preparation. We wasted our time with the Sri Lankans. There was no sense in playing a weak team for one and a half month when we should be preparing for South Africa,” Bedi told PTI.
“It was supposed to be a tough tour and it required intense preparation. You beat Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka and you then call them to India, for what? The Indian cricketers would have been better off playing domestic cricket or preparing themselves exclusively for the tour,” said the spin great.
India went into the series without playing a warm-up match. However, Bedi said there is no need to press the panic button yet.
“India have been outplayed. It is not a cause of panic, it is a cause of concern. Bowlers have done a good job. The catching and batting has left a lot to be desired. It is a good trial by fire for this Indian team.”
India will travel to England and Australia later this year; and with the performance against South Africa, they have certainly not increased the fans’ expectations for future tours.
Bedi felt the ODI form was given preference over the five-day form when it came to selecting the playing eleven.
One example of that was picking Rohit Sharma over vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane in the first two Tests. Rohit ended with 78 runs in four innings, averaging 19.50.
“It is not my job to pick the team. I can only say that vice-captain, who is part of the decision-making, is not playing. I can’t agree with that.
“Whether you like it or not, he is a human being. Rahane is not going to take this development positively. Why did you make him vice-captain if you had to drop him?
“It looks like ODI form was preferred for picking the eleven, which is not the right thing. Test matches are a different ball game and this series has proved that,” Bedi added.
“Another baffling decision was to drop pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar after a six-wicket haul in the first Test in Cape Town,” he said.
Ganguly backs Dhawan to shine at ICC World Cup
Mumbai:There is not a bowler in the world that can stop Shikhar Dhawan when the opener is in determined mood and the left-hander will be crucial to India
s hopes at this years Cricket World Cup, former captain Sourav Ganguly has said.
Dhawan smashed 97 not out off 63 balls in Delhi Capitals
seven-wicket victory against Kolkata Knight Riders in Fridays Indian Premier League (IPL) contest at Eden Gardens, much to the delight of Ganguly, an advisor to the Capitals.
Captain Virat Kohli and his deputy Rohit Sharma are India`s batting mainstays in one-day cricket but Ganguly puts Dhawan, who has 16 centuries from 128 ODIs with a 93-plus strike rate, in the same league.
“The three best players in one-day cricket — Dhawan, Rohit, Virat,” Ganguly told the IPL website. “When he (Dhawan) gets set and gets in he`s unstoppable.
“All I expect from him is determination. When he is determined, no bowler in the world can stop him.”
Dhawan`s second fifty of this IPL season, which catapulted Delhi into the top four, augurs well for India ahead of the May 30 to July 14 World Cup in England and Wales.
Along with opening partner Rohit, the onus will be on Dhawan to give India strong starts in the tournament and the southpaw has performed well on English soil.
man of the series in their triumphant 2013 Champions Trophy campaign, Dhawan was also the tournament`s leading scorer four years later when India lost in the final to Pakistan.
“If he gets set, he takes the game away. This is how he plays for India,” Ganguly, who led India to the final of the 2003 World Cup, later told reporters. “He`s a class act.”
Two-time champions India begin their World Cup campaign against South Africa in Southampton on June 5.
Olympique Lyon’s Champions League spot under threat after Nantes defeat
London: Olympique Lyonnais` Champions League qualifying hopes were hit as they were beaten 2-1 at Nantes in Ligue 1.
Third-placed Lyon, who hold the final Champions League qualifying spot, were undone by Anthony Limbombe
s late free-kick after Martin Terrier had cancelled out Kalifa Coulibalys opener for Nantes.
Lyon are on 56 points with six games left, six ahead of fourth-placed St Etienne, who play their game in hand at home against Girondins de Bordeaux on Sunday.
It was Lyon`s third straight defeat in all competitions after they were knocked out of the French Cup semi-finals by Stade Rennes and lost at home to lowly Dijon in the league last weekend.
The result leaves an even bigger question mark over coach Bruno Genesio`s future, with the club set to make a decision on whether to extend his contract at the end of the season.
With Nabil Fekir, Memphis Depay and Marcelo on the bench, Lyon got off to a bad start.
Coulibaly opened the scoring in the 11th minute after collecting a though ball from Majeed Waris.
Lyon were shaken by the hosts but weathered the storm and equalised one minute before the interval when Terrier curled a fine shot into the back of the net to finish off a counter-attack.
Limbombe earned Nantes victory seven minutes from fulltime with an inch-perfect free-kick, lifting the Canaries up to 15th in the table on 34 points.
Defender Gomez sign two-year contract extension in East Bengal
Mumbai: East Bengal fans will heave a huge sigh of relief after their star defender Borja Gomes decided to sign a contract extension with the club and not follow Jobby Justin to go out. The Kolkata-based club is in the process of becoming a part of the ISL next season with I-League’s future looking bleak.
East Bengal came agonizingly close to lift the I-League title yet again this season before Chennai City FC eventually won it as the Kolkata club finished second.And with I-League looking to either get dissolved or set to get demoted to the second division, it was important for East Bengal to finish high on the table.
However, that wasn’t enough for the club to retain their star striker Jobby Justin, who signed a pre-contract with two-time ISL champions ATK just after the I-League ended and the Super Cup was in its quarter-final stage. But, the club was quick to react after that setback and on Friday handed a two-year contract extension to Spanish defender Borja Gomez.
“East Bengal FC are pleased to announce the renewal of contract with Borja Gomez Perez for the next two seasons,” the club said in a statement.
“According to him, this is the best team and ‘fans are the best in India’,” the statement added.
The Madrid-born La-Liga star, who is nick-named as the ‘Senapati’, was one of the key members for the club last season and has been a motivator for the team both on and off the field. Gomez has previously played for Granada CF, Real Oviedo, Hercules CF, Real Murcia and more before East Bengal had signed him from UD Sanse in January last year.
East Bengal has already announced their bid for ISL in a board meeting and are currently waiting for the terms to get financially acceptable.