Rahane should be played in all formats: Bishan
New Delhi: Former Indian cricketer Bishan Singh Bedi strongly feels that sporadically-used Ajinkya Rahane should be played in all formats of the game by skipper Virat Kohli.
"Ajinkya Rahane is very intellingent cricketer. He has to be playing in all formats and he's a brilliant fielder. He's a very good thinker of the game, outstanding thinker. It can be great value for the captain at crucial times. I would definitely have Rahane in my scheme of things in all formats," said the former Indian skipper here on Tuesday.
Going with the popular notion, Bedi wasn't pleased with the fact that Rahane wasn't utilised in the testing conditions of South Africa, where he felt the Rajasthan Royal batsman, along with pacer Umesh Yadav could have played a winning role.
"We could have won the series in South Africa this time around, I feel this South African team is defeatable at home but the batting team failed to chase mere 200-run target. Not playing Rahane and Umesh Yadav in these matches cost us the games. They are our best options when it comes to Test cricket," said the 71-year-old former cricket.
To cope up with this situation, Bedi suggests that India need to "bracket" the players according to format suitability.
"I think we may need to bracket them. Who is one-day cricketer and who is a test cricketer, who is a one-day bowler and who is a test bowler. Other teams are also doing this. We are playing bowlers in the Test who are proper in ODI's but lack experience in Test, that too in South Africa. Look what Australia have done against them, they thrash them with comfort. We could have done the same. We played (Jaspreet) Bumrah and Bhuvneswar Kumar as our prime bowlers. They both have cope up well there but I feel in Tests, Yadav and Mohammed Shami are our main options.
"Similarly, we picked Rohit Sharma ahead of Rahane. Rohit is a very good short-format batsman but somebody like Rahane was ideal for the conditions," he explained.
Hardik Pandya has been in Kohli's scheme of things in all format for a while now but Bedi doesn't feel he is an all-purpose cricketer.
"Again I will go back to my previous suggestion; We need to bracket our players according to format. Pandya is getting a lot of chances and he must be happy about it but country is expecting too much of the kid. In my opinion, he is not a Test cricketer. He is a very good T20 player who can be decisive when need but Test is not his ball game yet," Bedi said.
Despite some decision blunder, Bedi feels it's too early to judge Virat Kohli's ability as a captain as he was all praises of the current Indian skipper.
"Kohli is a captain who likes to lead by example. He takes charge of the game and lead from the front. Previously players have suffered to play their natural game while being a captain but Kohli is of different mould.
"I know he has been receiving flaks for his decision making during matche but it's too early to start judging him after one or two seasons. When he is done managing the team for a longer period, maybe the next World Cup. Then we should start judging how he made and took the team to World Cup," he said.
Being a spinner himself, Bedi is glad to see how the duo fo wrist spinners – Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal – have adapted to the modern-day cricket.
"It is really pleasing to watch how they (Yadav and Chahal)outfoxed South Africans in their own backyard, especially when grounds are getting smaller. I feel the overall quality of batsman has gone down in cricket worldwide. They like it when the ball comes on to the bat and this duo is exactly not doing that. They are making them wait for the delivery to come on to him and they are doing it well enough to get results," he said.
But Bedi don't think the wrist-spinner duo are ready to take the mantle from Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, whom he feels are the premium tweakers of the Men in Blue.
"We need to understand that Yadav (23-year-old) and Chahal (27-year-old) are still young and lack the experience of varying conditions. Ashwin (31-year-old) and Jadeja (29), however, have the experience of playing international cricket all around the world. Both are our best bet in Test cricket," he said.
Bedi feels the idea of giving opportunity to young guns over senior players is good but it might backfire too.
"It's really great to give chance to these young kids as the results were oustanding, especially in bowling. But it might also harm the senior players such as Ashwin, Jadeja, Umesh and Shami. They might feel insecure about their position in the team and lack of playing time might lead to indifferent performance too. They should be made to feel bit protected.
A second-string Indian team is in Sri Lanka for a triangular T20 series, which includes Bangladesh.
The former cricket is in the Capital city to host a dinner a memorial dinner, 'Tribute to Tiger', in memory of Late Mr Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, to mark the silver jubilee of the Bishan Singh Bedi Cricket Coaching Trust. The evening is planned to commemorate the legend of Indian Cricket and to bring out the values that he stood for.
Bedi remembered how important Pataudi was shaping his captaincy career.
"He (Pataudi) was an outstanding leader. He would instill the feeling of patriotism in the dressing room. He would always make it clear that you are not representing any state here but India only," he concluded.