An admirer of Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s captaincy, former Australian pacer Andy Bichel says India needed a leader like him for a very long time as he has the ability to get consistent performances from his teammates.
Bichel worked with Dhoni during his stint as a bowling coach with Chennai Super Kings and became an admirer of his man-management skills.
“He’s (Dhoni) the kind of captain who leads from the front. I think he’s the captain which Indian cricket needed for a long time. And now that they’ve got the guidance and skill, they are producing good performances week in and week out,” he told PTI in an interview.
“My feel about captaincy is that it is about the guys that are underneath you and whether they can do their roles. I see nearly everyone in the Indian team at the moment performing, which makes the captain's job very very easy,” said Bichel, who is currently coaching the Papua New Guinea national team.
Bichel feels the kind of cricket the Indian team is playing currently, it deserves to rule the world.
“The Indian cricket team is doing a lot of things right at the moment and it is no surprise that they are close to number one in all three forms (of the game),” he said.
The 40-year-old Queenslander also feels that the Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) has played a significant role in the team’s present success.
“The Indian cricket officials have exposed the game to country areas as well which has given them a catchment of more players which is a great thing for Indian cricket at the moment,” said Bichel.
“You look at (Ishant) Sharma. He has been in and out and now he is bowling in the West Indies and he is bowling quick and dominating the West Indies team at the moment.”
Bichel, who took 58 wickets in 19 Tests and 78 scalps in 67 ODIs, was of the view that world cricket currently lacks quality batsmen due to the advent of Twenty20 version.
“I think in recent times there has been a big influence on batting and bowling. Twenty20 has changed the psyche of the game,” he said.
“If you go back 20 years there was a mentality where people used to ask ‘do you bat or do you bowl?’ But that has changed very quickly in a short space of time. Players are now trying to have a bite of both cherries as well as fielding.
“Now if you good in all of those areas you are of more value to a Twenty20 side and that’s what’s dominating cricket in recent times,” he added.
The ICC’s decision to restrict the number of teams to 10 from the 2019 World Cup also did not go down well with Bichel.
“I’m not too sure if it’s a step in the right direction.
I think there should be a qualifying stage that teams go through. I think for the Twenty20 I really like how they have gone about it, they’ve made it really big and it gives teams like us something to strive for. If you want to improve you need opportunities to play at higher standard,” Bichel said.
“With 50 over cricket I think the issue is that the World Cup seems to take a long time to get over and it seems to keep getting longer and longer.
“But some of those fringe teams have invested a lot of money in recent times to go forward and without an opportunity where do they would go?” Bichel, who had played a major role in Australia’s 2003 World Cup triumph, questioned.
Asked about the Papua New Guinea team, Bichel said the young associate nation is moving in the right direction and with more international exposure they will only get better.
“They are moving forward. Two years ago when I first came here there were no facilities and when you look around today they have facilities that they can improve (their performance) on,” he said.
“I think the taste they got at the last tournament against the UAE and Namibia, who have had a fair bit of international experience, has set a bit of a benchmark.
“Those teams ranked about 15 to 18 are pretty even. So it gives us real insight into where we have to get to. I think these guys are ready for that. They have played a lot of cricket over the last 12 months, and now the more they play and the better standard they play, they can only improve,” he added.