Bishan Singh Bedi, former India captain and legendary spinner, passes away at 77

Bedi, a prominent part of India’s famous spin quartet claimed 266 wickets in 67 Test matches

October 23, 2023 04:06 pm | Updated October 25, 2023 11:59 am IST

Former left-arm spinner, Bishan Singh Bedi. File.

Former left-arm spinner, Bishan Singh Bedi. File. | Photo Credit: V.V. Subrahmanyam

Former India captain and legendary spinner Bishan Singh Bedi passed away on October 23. He was 77-years-old.

Indian cricketer Bishan Singh Bedi during the cricket match.

Indian cricketer Bishan Singh Bedi during the cricket match. | Photo Credit: The Hindu Archives

Born in Amritsar in 1946, Bedi played 67 Tests for India and took 266 wickets with 14 five wicket hauls and one 10-wicket haul.

Also Read | Bishan Singh Bedi — The man who kept in touch with his inner child

He was the part of Indian cricket’s golden quartet of spinners, others being Erapalli Prasanna, Bhagwat Chadrasekhar and Srinivas Venkataraghavan, who formed the core of India’s bowling unit for more than a decade between 1966 and 1978.

His younger peers revered him as a grand statesman of the sport, never shy on offering trenchant opinions on issues plaguing the game, or backing other cricketers.

Bishan Singh Bedi, India’s versatile spinner meets Queen Elizabeth II of Britain at Lord’s cricket ground before the start of the second day of the first cricket test match between India and England at The Lords, London on July 23, 1971.

Bishan Singh Bedi, India’s versatile spinner meets Queen Elizabeth II of Britain at Lord’s cricket ground before the start of the second day of the first cricket test match between India and England at The Lords, London on July 23, 1971. | Photo Credit: The Hindu Archives

“Critics would call Bishan a rebel. Wrong. To me, he was a cricketer who knew his rights well,” former captain Kapil Dev wrote in a book on Bedi.

“He stood up for the cricketers, fighting for better match fees, travel facilities and accommodation... [He] made Indian cricket immensely proud.”

Bedi was briefly the manager of the Indian cricket team in 1990 during tours of New Zealand and England.

He was also a national selector and mentor to many talented spinners like Maninder Singh and Murali Kartik, who all swore by his technical insight.

He was the longest serving Delhi Ranji team captain from 1974to 1982 and under him the team became a force to reckon with national cricket circuit.

Condolences pour in

“Extremely saddened by the passing of Bishan Singh Bedi ji. His immense contribution to cricket will forever be remembered. May god give strength to his family and loved ones!,” former India opener Gautam Gambhir wrote on X (formerly, Twitter).

R Ashwin, one of the modern-day greats with 489 Test wickets under his belt, also took to X to express his condolence.

“Sad to hear about the demise of the great Bishen Singh Bedi, apart from being a great cricketer, he was an affable person and went the extra mile to help young cricketers,” Ashwin wrote.

Former India skipper Mohammed Azharuddin also posted his tribute.

“I’m sorry to hear about Bishan Singh Bedi sir’s passing away. Sending my heartfelt condolences to his family. May his soul rest in peace,” he wrote.

“Sad to hear the demise of Shri Bishan Singh Bedi. Indian Cricket has lost an icon today. Bedi Sir defined an era of cricket and he left an indelible mark on the game with his artistry as a spin bowler and his impeccable character. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones during this difficult time,” BCCI secretary Jay Shah wrote on ‘X’.

Former BCCI acting president C.K. Khanna also expressed his grief at Bedi’s demise.

“It was an honour to have known Bishan ji for so many years. Indian cricket will certainly be poorer due to his death,” Khanna said.

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