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Dhoni, Raina overpriced; not in Indian team reckoning: Bishan Singh Bedi

India Today logo India Today 19-12-2015

Former Indian captain Bishan Singh Bedi slammed the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL) for overhyping cricket's big names. He criticised the strategy employed behind paying big money for Indian limited over-skipper MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina, who according to the legendary left-arm spinner, should no longer be included in the Indian team.

Speaking at the launch of scholar Ronojoy Sen's book, 'Nation at Play,' in New Delhi on Thursday, Bedi said, "Two people have gone for Rs 12.5 crore - Dhoni and Raina. Both of them are not in the reckoning for the Indian team."

"One has retired and the other is struggling to find a place in the team. How would you want to believe that this is the right thing," he added.

Bedi, who launched the book at the University of Chicago Centre expressed his concerns about the diminishing popularity of Test cricket. "No one wants to play (Tests)," he said while talking about the younger generation's aversion to the traditional format of the game. 

The 69-year-old cricketer, who has represented India in 67 Tests, was not happy with the undue attention T20 cricket garners. He bashed the crowds, who according to him, were no more glued to the intricacies of the game.



 

"They (the spectators) want to be seen, they don't want to see the game," Bedi said. 

The book 'Nation at Play' largely talks about sports that originated in India which have fallen out of favor, while others, such as cricket, a colonial import, have been adopted and made wholly India's own. Bedi who put forward his views at the occasion did justice to the subject by highlighting the issues that tarnishes the spirit of cricket itself.

Bedi also rebuked the shoddy way the game was being managed in the country. Bedi praised Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for his stance against what he alleged was a corrupt Delhi and Districts Cricket Association. He also said only 20% of the facts against the board and the politicians involved with it were revealed.

"This is political warfare and cricket is suffering," he said. The book had revealed that 10 out of 35 sporting bodies had politicians at the helm in 2010. Bedi, who was against amateur bodies running professional sports, said: "A politician is a politician, he is not content with what he is."

Bedi also said a sports bill was necessary to make things better. "We want the sports bill, only then would the accountability factor come in," he said.

Notably, after the IPL corruption scandal came to the limelight, an initial draft of "Prevention of Sporting Fraud Bill" reached the Sports Minister earlier this year.

The event had critical discussions on the state of the sports in the country with scholar Asish Nandy and senior sports journalist Novy Kapadia chipping in with their observations.

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