To chronicle the 19-season first-class cricket career of Bishan Singh Bedi and trace the evolution of this monumental cricketer – from his humble background to scaling the heights of glory on cricket fields all over the world – is a challenge that at the very least, is daunting.
‘When it comes to Bishan, there is no grey. It is either black or white.’ This is what India’s greatest all-rounder, and cricketer of the century, Kapil Dev says. He’s been a man unafraid to speak his mind, even if at times it bordered on the intemperate. But as Mike Brearley the former England captain, stressed, ‘Bishan was no diplomat.’
It was his bowling that mesmerized batsmen and seemingly lured them to their doom. His methods were unique and he copped his share of criticism, but his technique and delivery were faultless.
Bishan Singh Bedi was the proverbial ‘enigma wrapped in a mystery’ as a cricketer and a human being. This book, to commemorate his 75th birthday, is an effort to separate the chaff from the grain; and try and spread the flavour and spice, of a unique talent.
With contributions by: Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar, Ramachandra Guha, Rajdeep Sardesai, B.S. Rattan, W.P. Sharma, R. Sriman, Suresh Menon, Vijay Merchant, B.S. Chandrasekhar, Venkat Sundaram, Rahul Banerji, V.V. Kumar with Aditya Bhushan, Anil Kumble, Murali Kartik, Kirti Azad, Satwender Singh, Saad Bin Jung, G. Rajaraman, Ayaz Memon, Michael Holding, Greg Chappell, Michael Brearley, Michael Coward, Clayton Murzello, Gundappa Viswanath with Aditya Bhushan, Abbas Ali Baig, Raju Mukherji, Qamar Ahmed, V. Ramnarayan, Aditya Bhushan, Arunabha Sengupta, H.R. Gopalakrishna.
‘Bishan paaji’s passion for the game is unmatched. I don’t think I have come across a better student of the game than him and it always reflected in his approach to cricket – as a player, selector and an administrator…’ - KAPIL DEV
‘I learnt how he never missed a Ranji Trophy match in his playing days. It showed his commitment to the game at all levels. He wanted us to understand that Cricket was a life process and had to be treated with respect.’ - SACHIN TENDULKAR
‘Until Wasim Akram came on the scene, Bishan Singh Bedi was the best left-hand bowler I had seen. Guess one can now say Bedi is the best left-arm spinner and Wasim Akram the best left-arm pacer we have seen.’ - SUNIL GAVASKAR
‘Bishan Bedi with the ball, and Sunil Gavaskar with the bat, were the two most perfect cricketers of modern times. One could not watch them play without wishing every moment was being filmed for posterity.’ - RAMACHANDRA GUHA
‘Bishan was courageous as a cricketer whether taking on the best batsmen of the day or facing up to some of the many menacing fast bowlers of his era. He continues to be courageous off the field as he speaks up for the things in which he believes or against that with which he disagrees.’ - GREG CHAPPELL
‘Bishan Singh always had a cricketing point to drive home, it was wonderful to have had so many conversations about the game with him.’ - ANIL KUMBLE
‘Besides being a gentlemanly cricketer, Bedi was a terrific competitor. A forthright man, he was not diplomatic, he could be choleric.’ - MIKE BREARLEY
‘He loved to quote Don Bradman, who when asked in a television interview late in life about what he would like to remembered for had replied: integrity. That is something Bishan will always be remembered for too – integrity.’ - B.S. CHANDRASEKHAR
About the Author
VENKAT SUNDARAM was a key member of the Indian cricket team between 1970–80. During his illustrious career, he has worn numerous hats – he has been its manager for the 1998 tour to Sri Lanka; Chairman for BCCI’s Ground and Wickets Committee for two terms; Chairman Ranji Trophy and U-22 selection committee for UPCA. He has also been a selector, coach, umpire, cricket commentator, sports anchor, author, and director/ producer. He is the force behind this special edition celebrating Bishan Singh Bedi’s life and times.
SACHIN BAJAJ is a sports administrator and business professional. He has over two decades of experience with sports bodies like Kings XI Punjab, Cricket Club of India, England & Wales Cricket Board. He is also the proprietor of Global Cricket School and Co-founder of Niche Sports. Sachin has published eleven books and co-authored another three.