Written by Himanshu Shekhar
Bishen Singh Bedi, Indian cricket’s north star, has died leaving fans and cricket lovers around the world in mourning. Bedi, one of India’s finest spinners, died at 77. He was unwell for quite some time. “I have very sad news to share: the legendary Bishen Bedi, arguably the greatest left-arm spinner this country has produced, a larger-than-life sportsman who always fought the cricket board establishment for players rights, has passed away. Will be much missed. RIP,” noted journalist Rajdeep Sardesai informed on Twitter. Bedi played 67 Tests for India where he scalped 266 wickets with an average of just over 28.
“The purity and perfection of Bedi’s art was a connoisseur’s dream. He was stealthy, silent and deadly, a master of deception who conjured variations in flight, loop, spin and pace without any perceptible change in action. He bowled with a big heart too, challenging the batsman to hit over the top by giving the ball plenty of air, and was a consistent wicket-taker for most of his career,” his profile on Cricinfo aptly reads.
He was known for his artistry and the elegance of his bowling. He, along with other Indian spinners like Erapalli Prasanna and Srinivas Venkataraghavan, formed a formidable a trio that world cricket feared and talked about. Bedi was known for beating batsman in flight and loop. He always encouraged spinners to flight the ball even at the risk of being hit.
He was a vocal critic of the Indian cricket administration. Bedi never minced words in calling spade, a spade in his days as a cricket expert and commentator. His passion for the game was evident when he took the commentary mike in hand.
Murali didn’t take 800 wickets, those were run-outs: Bedi
He once famously said on Muttiah Muralitharan. He once called the Sri Lankan bowler a “chucker” and also urged the ICC to ban his “doosra” a delivery that went straight after pitching. “I called him (Murali) a javelin thrower. I can call him a shot-putter. People say that he has got 800 wickets. I would rather say that it’s 800 run-outs!” Bedi had said in a panel discussion organised in the memory of late Raj Singh Dungarpur.
He never hesitated in putting words to what he thought.