New Delhi: Former India left-arm spinner Maninder Singh believes India were unconvincing in the ICC World Twenty20 and that the BCCI must address the issue of MS Dhoni's fading captaincy and the disappointment that has been Duncan Fletcher. Speaking to Cricketnext, Maninder also expressed concern over the health of India's spin bowling and offered his services to the likes of Piyush Chawla.
"Even though India won four matches out of five there was no authority in the way they played. I think the time has come actually to look ahead of Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh and also Yuvraj Singh. Though Yuvraj has done well, T20 is a young players’ game,” said Maninder.
"It is time we look for a new captain. Basically, Dhoni is a gambler and he believes in his intuition. These gambles work when the time is good, but when it is bad they start backfiring. He made some blunders when we were winning the matches but those swept under carpets. If the negatives were taken care of then probably Indian cricket wouldn’t have come at this stage. Losing 8-0 in abroad Tests, failure in the Asia Cup and failing to qualify in three World Twenty20 semi-finals is very disappointing.
"I think Virat Kohli should be the captain,” he added. “He will get respect from other boys as he is performing in all three formats."
Maninder was also critical of the BCCI’s non-dialogue with Dhoni and Fletcher after successive Test series defeats in England and Australia. “The BCCI is not a professional body. They do not have a professional set-up although they have a lot of money and that is a big problem. Here, nobody is answerable to anybody. Nobody has asked Duncan Fletcher anything about the debacle. Mohinder Amarnath raised his voice and he got removed.”
With a 33-year-old Zaheer Khan failing to impress with his pace and fitness in Sri Lanka, Maninder believe it was time that the next crop of fast bowlers step up. “I am very impressed with Umesh Yadav. Varun Aaron should be there if he is fit. The Under-19 fast bowlers are good. Ashok Dinda has done well in patches. The coaches should look after him. We are so fond of bringing these foreign coaches. I think Amarnath should be the Indian coach,” he said.
Maninder, who took 88 wickets in 35 Tests, expressed his views on India’s current spin stock while singling out Under-19 left-armer Harmeet Singh as the most promising. “Harmeet is probably the next option as far as the left-arm spinners are concerned,” he said. “Pragyan Ojha has bowled well in Tests that in India. He is somebody on whom you can look after. I do not really want to question his action since the ICC has allowed 15 degrees. It is a rule for everybody and if Muttiah Muralitharan can bowl then anybody can bowl.”
On Ian Chappell's comparisons of Harmeet with Bishan Singh Bedi, Maninder said: "I am a big fan of Ian Chappell but I think he has gone too far. Harmeet is a major talent. I only hope that BCCI look after him and do not let him lose his way. At such age not everybody is mentally that strong. It is not possible for everybody to control themselves like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Saurav Ganguly or Anil Kumble. I think there should be someone monitoring these young players.”
Maninder also offered to help legspinner Chawla, whose selection in India’s squad for the Twenty20 raised eyebrows. "He has got a technical flaw. Nobody is working on him. Give me Chawla for 15 days I will make him a different bowler. His main problem is his front arm doesn’t go up. The day the arm will go up he will become a match-winner," said the 47-year-old.