Bishan Singh Bedi pronunciation (sometimes spelt as Bishen Singh Bedi) (born 25 September 1946) is a former Indian cricketer who was primarily a slow left-arm orthodox bowler. He played Test cricket for India from 1966 to 1979 and formed part of the famous Indian spin quartet. He also captained the national side in 22 Test matches. Bedi is also famous for always wearing a colourful patka and his outspoken and forthright views on cricketing matters.
Bishan Singh Bedi’s Debut in Cricket
Bedi made the debut of his Test Cricket career with a match against West Indies on 31st of December 1966, while he played his first One Day International (ODI) Cricket Match against England on 13th of July 1974.
Bishan Singh Bedi’s Personal and Early life (Brief Biography & Profile)
Bishan Singh Bedi was born at Amritsar, the Sikhs’ spiritual capital, on, September 25, 1946. He finished his schooling unnoticed. But his ability as a potential bowler came to view only after he joined Khalsa college, Amritsar. He showed sparks of brilliance while bowling slow left spinners. Convinced as the captain was of his class and calibre, Bedi was given long spells of bowling thus learning the tricks in the trade of spin bowling. Next year,he joined Hindu College, because the new institution afforded him a lot of opportunities to shape himself into a fine bowler. Rightly Bedi enhanced his reputation and rating on the cricket scene as he gradually rose from one step to another. From the college to the university team from Punjab to the North Zone side, Bedi advanced with effortless ease. The early encouragement, his success and total commitment to the cause of cricket paid rich dividends. Often in sweltering heat of the summer, the people saw a young man in turban bowling alone for hours at a stretch. Determination and devotion of this kind could not but yield results later.
Bedi, after establishing his credentials well in the state and zone soon caught the eye of the national selectors who put him to severe test against a team led by an all-time great Garry St.A.Sobers of the\ West Indies. Thus in the second Test played from December 31,1966, to January 5,1967, at Calcutta, the people saw a lean figure sporting a beard and turban descending on the cricket field. Though India lost, Bedi won the hearts of both the spectators and selectors. From then on started the success story of this fine spinner. As the years went by Bedi became an integral part of the team. His cricketing exploits are now almost legendary. He played against all cricket playing countries: England, Australia, the West Indies, New Zealand and Pakistan. With 266 wickets in the bag, he was at one time the fifth biggest wicket-taker in the history of the world. At another time some strongly believed that had he not been sidelined unceremoniously by the Board of Control for Cricket in India, he would have gone on to become the top wicket-taker. He led India in 22 Tests in a row which in itself is a record for India as previously Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi held the distinction with 21 Tests. Bedi is also the only India bowler to claim over 1500 wickets in first-class cricket.
If Bedi’s contribution to Indian cricket is great, to Delhi it is ever greater. Helping those with no godfathers is another of Bedi’s pastime. He has helped many a budding player to hit the headlines. In Delhi, he harnessed cricket potential to a great extent; making it emerge as the premier side .on the national cricket scene. Convince him of a good cause, whether in sports or in any other worthy field like collecting funds for the handicapped, well, Bedi will -be in the forefront of all noble campaigns. And this is what has endeared Bedi to the public. Even after his retirement from the game,he remains the heart throb of the millions not only in India but the world over. Fully subscribing to the Sikh faith and ideology, Bedi remains a popular figure to the millions of Sikhs in India and abroad.
His son, Angad Bedi played cricket up to Under-19 level for Delhi before taking up a career in modelling and acting.
Bishan Singh Bedi Playing career
In Indian domestic cricket, Bedi first played for Northern Punjab when only fifteen, having taking up cricket only two years previously, a particularly late age for this sport.He moved to Delhi in 1968–69 and in the 1974–75 season of the Ranji Trophy, he took a record 64 wickets. Bedi also represented Northamptonshire in English county cricket for many years. He finished his career with 1560 wickets in first-class cricket — more than any other Indian.
His bowling has been described as graceful, even beautiful, and full of guile and artistry. He was at expert in flighting the ball, and was capable of making it hold it back or hurry forward and added subtle variations of spin. His action was so relaxed and co-ordinated that he was able to bowl all day with rhythm and control, a great asset to any captain. He had several very successful Test series:
India vs Australia 1969–70: 21 wickets at 20.57
India vs England 1972–73: 25 wickets at 25.28
India in the West Indies: 18 wickets at 25.33
India vs New Zealand 1976–77: 22 wickets at 13.18
India vs England 1976–77: 25 wickets at 22.96
India in Australia 1977–78: 31 wickets at 23.87
His best Test bowling was 7/98 against Australia at Calcutta in 1969–70, and his best match figures 10/194 at Perth in 1978–79, also against Australia. His best first class bowling was 7/5 for Delhi vs Jammu and Kashmir at New Delhi 1974–75. Although his batting was poor he hit a boundary off the second last ball in the Gillette Cup Semi Final for Northamptonshire vs Hampshire, winning the match by two wickets. His highest score of 50 not out, his only half century at Test level, was scored against New Zealand in Kanpur in 1976.
Bedi was appointed captain of India in 1976 succeeding Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi. His first Test victory as captain was against the West Indies at Port-of-Spain in the 3rd Test of the 1976 series in which India scored a then-record 406 in the fourth innings. This was followed up by a 2–0 series victory over New Zealand at home. However, after successive Test series losses to England (3–1 at home), Australia (3–2 away) and Pakistan (2–0 away), he was replaced as captain by Sunil Gavaskar.
In 2008, Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack named Bedi as one of the five best cricketers to have not been selected as a Wisden Cricketer of the Year.
He said that he has always washed his own clothes, calling it “the best exercise for your shoulders and fingers”, when pointing out that spin bowling requires suppleness of limbs.
Bishen’s Vital Statistics
Bishan Singh Bedi played 67 Test Cricket matches in his career, in which he grabbed 266 wickets and gave 7637 runs in 118 innings, with a Bowling Average of 28.71 runs. As far as One Day International (ODI) Cricket is concerned, he played 10 matches and took 7 wickets at 340 runs with a Bowling Average of 48.57 runs. As a batsman, out of the 67 Test Cricket matches he scored 656 total runs with the highest being 50 not out, with a Batting Average of 8.98 runs. In the One Day International (ODI) Cricket matches, out of the 10 matches he played, he could just score a total of 31 runs with the highest score being 13 runs, with an average Batting Average of 6.30 runs.
Bishan Singh Bedi – Domestic Cricket
Bedi also played in domestic Indian Cricket, representing Northern Punjab and Delhi respectively. In English County Cricket, Bishan Singh Bedi played for Northamptonshire. At the end of his career, Bedi had grabbed 1560 wickets in First Class Cricket, which was the biggest number of wickets achieved by any Indian bowler. He managed to take a record number of 64 wickets in a single season of Ranji Trophy during the year 1974-74.
Bedi didn’t have a nice batting record though. He played 67 Test Matches in which he scored 656 runs with a Batting Average of 8.98 runs. While in One Day International (ODI) Cricket, he played 10 matches and scored 31 runs with a Batting Average of 6.20 runs. Similarly, in First Class Cricket, he played 370 matches and scorerd 3584 runs with a Batting Average of 11.37 runs. The top score made by him as a batsman in Test Cricket was 50 Not Out, while the same in One Day International (ODI) Cricket was 13 runs.
One of the famed Indian Spin Quartet; former India captain; before Anil Kumble, the Indian spinner with highest number of Test wickets
Bishan Singh Bedi has been a former member of the Indian Cricket team. Considered to be an orthodox Bowler with expertise in Slow Left Arm Bowling, Bedi has been one of the 4 members of the well known Indian Spin Quartet along with B.S. Chandrasekhar, E.A.S. Prasanna and Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan.
Bishan Singh Bedi in Controversies
Following India’s record-breaking run-chase in the 3rd Test of the 1976 series against the West Indies, the West Indies opted for an aggressive four-man fast bowler attack for the 4th Test. Bedi objected to their tactics, which he regarded as intimidatory, and declared the Indian first innings closed early after two players were forced to retire hurt. Subsequently, five players were absent hurt in the second innings of the match.
Vaseline incident – In England’s tour of India in 1976–77 he accused John Lever of using Vaseline to illegally polish the ball in the Third Test at Madras. Lever wore Vaseline strips on his forehead to keep the sweat out of his eyes, but was subsequently cleared of any wrong-doing.
In November 1978, he became the first captain to concede an international cricket match. In a One Day International against Pakistan at Sahiwal, India, with 8 wickets in hand, only required 23 runs from 14 balls. Bedi, however, recalled the batsmen from the crease and conceded the match in protest at the bowling of Sarfraz Nawaz who had bowled 4 bouncers in succession with not one being called wide by the umpires.
Bedi as a Coach
In 1990, he had a brief stint as coach of the Indian national team. He was the first person to be appointed to this job in a full-time capacity. Following one cricket tour where India had played poorly, he threatened to dump the entire team in the sea on the return journey.
Bishen Singh Bedi’s Opinions on modern day cricket
Bedi has expressed strong opinions on many aspects of modern day cricket and has been described as “rarely afraid to speak his mind”. In particular, he is a vehement critic of the bowling action of Muttiah Muralitharan (“if Murali doesn’t chuck, then show me how to bowl”) which he bluntly refers to as cheating and likens to a javelin throw and more recently, shot putting, saying that Muralitharan “will complete 1000 Test wickets but they would count as mere run-outs in my eyes”. He takes a very dim view of chucking, which he calls “a bigger threat than bribing and betting” and claimed in 2004 that many bowlers on the subcontinent chuck, calling Muralitharan a “Sri Lankan bandit closing in on a dream artist called Shane Warne”. He has stated, though, that he has nothing personal against Muralitharan, although Muralitharan has threatened to sue him. Recently he has echoed the same criticisms against his countryman, Harbhajan Singh. Regarding suspect actions in cricket, he said “When a bowler is chucking, he’s referred to panels and the home cricket board. Why not do the same for a wide or no-ball, then?”.He has accused one-day cricket, modern cricket bats and small grounds of causing a decline in classical spin bowling in India.
He has also attacked Sunil Gavaskar, calling him “a destructive influence”. He said to Australian coach John Buchanan “Tell us, John, have you made this Australian team great, or have they made you?”
More recently, Bedi has referred to T20 cricket as “the most vulgar expression of cricket”.
Bishan Singh Bedi’s Current Profile
Although Bedi is not an active part of the Indian Cricket anymore, still his hot comments upon different Cricket personalities and phenomena have still continued creating stirs and controversies. Specially, his harsh criticism of the bowling action of Sri Lankan bowler Muttiah Muralitharan accusing him to be a chucker has even gone to the extent of Muralitharan having threatened to sue him, although Bedi doesn’t find any personal difference against him.
Bedi as The Infamous Critic
Considered to be one of the most outspoken and explicitly expressing Cricket players India has ever seen, Bedi’s bold statements and decisions often created so many controversies throughout his Cricket career. In one of these instances, he declared the Indian innings prematurely at a Test Match against West Indies in the year 1976 as 2 players had been forced to retire hurt owing to the intimidating bowling by the West Indian fast bowlers. Similarly, during a One Day International (ODI) Cricket Match against Pakistan in November 1978, he created history by conceding the match while India still had 8 wickets in hand. The reason behind this was that Sarfaraz Nawaz from Pakistan consecutively bowled 4 bouncers, and none of them was declared a Wide Ball by the umpires.