Regarded as one of the greatest left-arm spinners in world cricket, Bishan Singh Bedi passed away on Monday at the age of 77 years old in Delhi, leaving remarkable spin bowling stats behind. Bedi is survived by his son and Bollywood actor Angad Bedi, who is married to Bollywood actor Neha Dhupia. The legendary India spinner was known for his classical beauty of motion and ability to maintain a precise length over lengthy intervals while delicately altering his pace, trajectory, and release.
At the time of his retirement, he was India’s leading Test wicket-taker, with 266 wickets at an average of 28.71.
He featured in 67 Tests for India between 1967 and 1979 and bagged 266 wickets. He also took seven wickets in 10 One-Day Internationals.
He played a pivotal role in India’s first ODI win. His cheap bowling figures of 12-8-6-1 restricted East Africa to 120 in a 1975 World Cup.
Bedi played Test cricket for India from 1966 to 1979 and he formed part of the famous Indian spin quartet (Bedi, EAS Prasanna, BS Chandrasekhar and S Venkataraghavan). The legendary spinner also captained the national side in 22 Test matches.
He was also honoured with the Padma Shri Award in 1970. Bedi also represented Northamptonshire in English county cricket for many years.
Bedi was a master of flight and spin, famous for deceiving batters with subtle variations. He was instrumental in India’s historic series victory over England in 1971, captaining the team in the absence of the injured Ajit Wadekar. Under his leadership, India developed itself as a competitive cricketing nation.
The legendary spinner had an illustrious domestic cricket career, especially with the Delhi team, in addition to his international career. He was a mentor to several spinners and made substantial contributions to the development of young talent in India. Bedi’s impact on the sport extended beyond the ground, as he became a respected commentator and an advocate for sportsmanship and fair play.
The Amritsar-born spinner, who played domestic cricket for Delhi, finished his career with 1,560 wickets in first-class cricket –more than any other Indian.
He remains a respected personality in Indian cricket, honoured for his artistry and dedication to the sport.
“Like most great bowlers, his variation was subtle. Of all the slow bowlers of Bedi’s time, none forced you to commit yourself later than he did. With tiny, last-second adjustments of wrist and hand-angle, he could bowl successive balls that looked identical, perhaps as if each would land on a length just outside off stump,” the England captain Mike Brearley wrote of him as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.
The Amritsar-born spinner was the leading wicket-taker amongst Indians in First-Class cricket with 1,560 wickets in 370 matches. He played 67 Tests for India between 1967 and 1979 and picked 266 wickets. He also took seven wickets in 10 One-Day Internationals
Bedi, along with Erapalli Prasanna, BS Chandrasekhar and S. Venkataraghavan, was the architect of a revolution of sorts in India’s spin bowling history.
In the Australian summer of 1977-78, the Indian cricket team – under the leadership of Bedi – displayed one of its grittiest performances in the five-match Test series. Even though the results were 3-2 in favour of the Bob Simpson-led home team, Bedi’s team put on a mighty fight, clinching wins in the third and fourth Tests — in Melbourne and Sydney.
Bedi was the Indian national team’s first professional head coach in 1990 and emphasised fitness. After quitting the Indian team role, Bedi coached quite a few state teams and guided Punjab to its only Ranji Trophy win, in the 1992-93 season.
Bedi was chosen captain in 1976, succeeding Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi. His first victory as captain came in the third Test of the 1976 series against the West Indies in Port-of-Spain when India set a new fourth-innings total of 406. Following this victory, India went on to win the series 2-0 at home against New Zealand.
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