Batsmen''s form crucial to India''s World Cup chances: Bedi

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Amanpreet Singh

New Delhi, Jan 29 (PTI) With just average bowling and notso impressive fielding, the batsmen will have to shoulder theentire burden of steering India to the World Cup, which is themost open this time around, feels former spinner Bishen SinghBedi.

Questioning the selection of players, Bedi said theselectors have included too many spinners in the squad,ignored right options in the fast bowling department andhardly given importance to fielding which is very significantin one-day cricket.

"One spinner is too many (in the conditions). I don''tthink this kid Piyush Chawla will get to play. And look at thefast bowling...they are not outstanding bowlers. Ashish Nehrais not the bowler he was in 2003. Zaheer and Praveen arestruggling. Bowling is definitely a weak link," Bedi told PTIin an interview.

"I would have picked Sreesanth in place of Nehra since heis a very fit youngster. And India''s fielding is poorer. Thebatsmen will have to do a hell lot of job to make up for theaverage bowling and poor fielding," he felt.

"Expectations have always been high after the 1983 winbut this World Cup is open. Any side, India, South Africa,Australia or even England, can go on to win the trophy. SriLanka always are a contender. So, all the teams would be undera lot of pressure."

Bedi refused to compare the current side with the 1983World Cup winning team but said one of the major reasons forIndia''s success at that time was that almost all the playerswere brilliant fielders.

"Comparison won''t be fair. At that time India had nothingto lose but one thing I would like to say is that players suchas Roger Binny, Kapil Dev, Mohinder Amarnath and Sandip Patil,they were all good fielders.

"Fielding can win you matches but we have ignored thisaspect this time around," he felt.

Bedi also said the Indian team should do everything towin the coveted trophy for Sachin Tendulkar, who is perhapsplaying in his last World Cup.

"Let''s hope that the players deliver for the sake ofTendulkar. For Tendulkar alone this Cup should come to India.

This boy has done and achieved so much and he deserves to beknown as a World cup winning player as well," he said. MOREPTI AT PM

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