Former captain Bishan Singh Bedi tagged Mahendra Singh Dhoni as India's "half a captain" in the limited-overs and said his absence made Virat Kohli "visibly rough" on the field during the fourth ODI against Australia.
"We all are missing him (Dhoni) because he's almost half-a-captain on the field. His absence was felt yesterday (in Mohali) behind the stumps," Bedi told ANI on Monday, March 11.
“Dhoni is not getting any younger, he is no spring chicken either but the team needs him. He has a calming influence on the side. The captain needs him by his side, he is visibly rough without him. It is not a good sign,” he said.
The wicket-keeper batsman has been rested for the remainder of the series which is tied at 2-2 as Australia snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in the fourth match at Mohali. Bedi, who took 266 wickets in 67 Tests, further said fiddle with the combination is not required ahead of the World Cup, scheduled to be hosted in England from May 30 to July 14.
“I would personally like them to live in the present. World Cup is still two and a half months away. Just play the game. For the World Cup, we have been experimenting and preparing for the last one year and I am not happy with that at all,” he said.
“Anyone of them can get injured during the Indian Premier League (IPL). You can’t expect them to not give 100 per cent while playing for their respective franchises," Bedi said.
The absence of Dhoni opened the door for Rishabh Pant, who played in the fourth match but remained sloppy while keeping.
On being asked the need for resting Dhoni while the series was in favour of India, Bedi said: “Pant is a wild horse. Somebody has to tame him. Who is going to do that? The support staff should be able to do that. He is making the same mistakes again and again and behind stumps, too, he has a lot of work to do, honestly. Your chairman of the selection committee (MSK Prasad) is a wicketkeeper, you talk to him at least."
"Cricket sense must improve. Cricket ability and cricket sense are two different things. You have tonnes of ability but without sense, there is not much you can do.
"Yesterday, it was such a good start from India and yet they were struggling to last 50 overs while Australia finished with more than two overs to spare,” he said.
India and Australia, both at 2-2, will play the decider and fifth match of the series at the Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi on March 13.