Former Indian captain Bishan Singh Bedi kicked up a controversy on Monday saying that Mahendra Singh Dhoni is "half a captain" of India's limited overs team and Dhoni’s absence made skipper Virat Kohli "visibly rough" on the field during the fourth ODI against Australia.
"I am nobody to comment but we all are wondering that why Dhoni is being rested and his absence was felt yesterday, behind the stumps, with the bat and on field also. He is almost half a captain," Bedi said while speaking at a reception organised by the Australian High Commission for its cricket team.
"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, Kohli is visibly rough without him. It is not a good sign," said the 72-year-old spin great who took 266 wickets in 67 Tests.
Bedi also felt the Indian ODI team is experimenting needlessly ahead of the World Cup, to be held in the United Kingdom 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 World Cup, we have been experimenting in the last one year and I am not happy with that at all," he said, adding, that the IPL, beginning March 23, can pose serious problems for the team ahead of the mega event.
"Anyone of them can get injured during the IPL. You can't expect them to not give 100 percent while playing for their respective franchisees."
Dhoni has been rested for the last two games of the five-match series. With the series tied at 2-2, the decider will be played in Delhi on Wednesday.
Bedi also questioned the need for resting Dhoni and giving Pant an opportunity with the series very much alive. "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 selection committee (MSK Prasad) is a wicketkeeper, you talk to him at least," said Bedi.