New Delhi: Former India captain Bishan Singh Bedi on Wednesday flayed India's junior cricketers for their "absolutely terrible and atrocious behaviour" while winning the under-19 World Cup title, even as he called the senior team's triangular triumph in Australia "absolutely marvellous".
"All said and done, their (juniors') on-field behaviour was deplorable. Don't confuse this kind of behaviour with aggression; it was absolutely terrible and atrocious," said the legendary left-arm spinner.
Bedi's comments came two days after the under-19 side beat South Africa in the final in Kuala Lumpur to clinch a second World Cup Sunday and a day after Mahendra Singh Dhoni's team defeated world champions Australia 2-0 in the best-of-three finals to make history.
"There was no finesse, no grace. When you are winning, you should be graceful. It was herd mentality."
Known for his forthright views, Bedi, 61, said all players should learn from impeccable seniors like Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Dhoni.
"None of the under-19 boys have taken a leaf out of a Dravid or a Tendulkar or even Dhoni, who was quite dignified after India defeated Australia Tuesday," he said.
Bedi blamed cricket administrators for not making the juniors behave properly on the field.
"Everybody is condoning this behaviour. This is a dangerous signal for Indian cricket," he said.
Asked how this could be arrested, he said: "It is up to the authorities. Nobody has told them how to behave on the field."
Bedi, who bagged 266 wickets in 67 Tests and played 10 One-Day Internationals, did not buy the argument that the juniors were teenagers and were just delirious after winning the world title.
"That is all the more reason they should behave well. Anyway, Dav Whatmore (coach) is no teenager. And a few of the players did not look under 19 years of age; faces of under-19 boys look different," he said, speaking on the telephone from Amritsar in Punjab.
Bedi was particularly annoyed with the conduct of under-19 captain and prolific scorer Virat Kohli after India won the rain-hit match. The first World Cup title had come under Mohammed Kaif's captaincy in 2000.
"I am not terribly enamoured with their win. They were helped by the Duckworth & Lewis method (used for readjusting the chasing team's target after an interruption). Had the final lasted full 50 overs, they would have struggled," he said.
Bedi was also annoyed with the conduct of Harbhajan Singh, who has been in the news for non-cricketing reasons throughout the two-and-a-half month tour.
"Harbhajan is setting a bad example. Matthew Hayden was perhaps right when he said what he said. After all cricket did not originate in villages; it has a long history and tradition," he maintained.
Hayden had called Harbhajan "obnoxious little weed" recently, a comment that forced the Australian board to reprimand him. Earlier, Andrew Symonds alleged that Harbhajan had called him a "monkey" during the second Test in Sydney. The charge could not be proved and Harbhajan was let off with a fine.
The Amritsar-born Bedi was, however, happy with the senior team's performance in winning the first triangular series in Australia since they first took part in the competition in 1980-81.
"It was absolutely marvellous. This kind of performance is rare. This triumph was made possible by three men: Tendulkar, Dhoni and pacer Praveen Kumar, who bowled really well.
"I have rarely seen the delivery with which he dismissed Adam Gilchrist," he said, referring to the ball that moved a shade away to induce an edge from the left-hander's bat on way to wicketkeeper Dhoni.