Master vs Blaster: Bedi pitches it in Sachin's half                             Bombay Times |20/11/2002

Bishen Singh Bedi, one of Indian cricket's spin wizards of yesteryear, was always outspoken about his views on the game. His tenure as manager of the team that toured New Zealand in early 1990 saw the blossoming of Sachin Tendulkar. he currently, he is coach of the Delhi team.

In the city for the ongoing Ranji tie with Mumbai, Bedi refuses to draw himself too much into the obvious discussion of comparing 'Delhi Dasher' Virender Sehwag with 'Bombay Bomber' Sachin Tendulkar. The mannerisms and big scores are there for all to see, so are the fiery strokes and that famous back-foot punch to the covers. But Virender is Sehwag and Sachin is Tendulkar. That puts the matter to rest.

The soft-spoken former India captain says that similar mannerisms are different from delivering the goods. "Virender is a very promising lad. But he has to go a long way to go to catch up with Sachin. A very long way, so let's not get carried away. You know what I mean," he says. "Let's not put pressure on Veeru. Comparison is very unfair." That puts an end to the debate.

Bedi believes the Indian team is gelling well of late but is concerned about the amount of cricket being played. "The adjustments the boys are doing — travelling, playing, not getting enough rest — is praiseworthy. It has to be commended. "However, the forthcoming tour of New Zealand is going to be a fair trail. From there to the World Cup without much of a break. That's what bothers me. There's no respite and we don't quite have a terribly good bench strength either."

And how does he feel India will perform at the World Cup in South Africa? "Your guess is as good as mine," he laughs. Bedi has high praise for the youngsters, but his highest regard is for Mr Dependable, Rahul Dravid. "Our best, most outstanding student of the game is Dravid. In order to be a good cricketer, you have to be a good student of the game and in order to be a good administrator, you have to be a good servant of the game. Unfortunately, we have too many bosses who boss over cricket. In my mind, there is only one boss — cricket itself."


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Copyright 2006 Martin D'Souza. All rights reserved.