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Bedi questions worth of two-Test series vs SA

Last updated on: February 02, 2010 19:36 IST

Former India captain Bishan Singh Bedi has questioned the efficacy of a two-Test series against South Africa, saying Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men should have played at least one more match in the rubber.

"I think a two-match series is not enough to test the mettle of the teams. I wish that there should have been three or five matches in the forthcoming series between India and South Africa," Bedi said.

"Since both the teams are at par, and the series is expected to produce some cut-throat contests, the number of matches should have been more. After all, it will not be the real test of the teams," added Bedi, who played 67 Tests.

The Vidarbha Cricket Association stadium in Nagpur will host the first Test, commencing February 6, while the second will be at Eden Gardens in Kolkata, from February 14.

Bedi though is not ready to bill anyone as favourite in the series.

"If one team is currently number one in Test ranking, then the other one is the former number one and is certainly striving to wrest the tag from India.

"Both the teams have enough firepower to give other trouble. So we should not consider anyone favourite.

"Expectation will create pressure on the team. Dhoni's men should not take the pressure and go all out against the Proteas," Bedi added.

A 2-0 victory will see the Proteas replace India on top of the ICC Test rankings, while a 1-0 outcome will see both level on 123 rating points.

Although two big names in the batting department -- Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh -- are out of the series due to injuries, Bedi feels their absence will not hamper the team's performance.

"Yes, Rahul and Yuvraj are not in the squad, but we should not think about them who are absent. I am sure, there are others in the team who can compensate for them," the 63-year-old former spin ace said.

Dravid, who sustained a jaw injury in the second Test against Bangladesh, has been advised rest for three weeks, while Yuvraj Singh is also ruled out of the Test series due to an injury to his left wrist.

The 15-member squad for the first Test has six specialist batsmen, three spinners, four pacers and two wicketkeepers in captain Dhoni and Bengal's Wriddhiman Saha.

The pace unit will be led by Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma and has newcomers Sudeep Tyagi and Abhimanyu Mithun in it.

Considering that, except for Zaheer, the bowling lacks experience, another former skipper Kapil Dev was of the view that India should rely on spin and prepare spin-friendly tracks.

However, Bedi said he just wants to see a strip that will last for five days.

"We can't make spinning pitch nor the pacer's pitch properly. I only expect that the pitches will last for five days and the spectators enjoy good contest," he said.

Asked if he is happy with the current Indian spin attack, Bedi, who has 266 Test wickets under his belt, replied: "It is not important whether I am happy or not. I feel spinners like (Amit) Mishra and (Piyush) Chawla should consider themselves lucky to play for India and should give everything for the country."

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