Bishan Singh Bedi – A Man of All Seasons

Bishan Singh Bedi was born into a Sikh family. The surrounding atmosphere exhaled an aroma of sport. His father was a keen sportsman himself and gave his son every encouragement possible. Bedi also owes a lot to Gurpal Singh, who, with Jove, carefully nurtured his career in the early stages, as well as to Professor Gian Prakesh, his mentor.
Bishan Singh Bedi was a charming and thoughtful cricketer. He is a graduate of Punjab University. He loves to discuss cricket and has a library of his own consisting of nearly 300 books on the game. Bedi loves to bowl on any wicket, but he enjoys bowling on English wickets the most. He is truly enamored of English cricket and has signed a three-year contract with Northampton.
Bishan Singh Bedi is a left-arm spin bowler with a classic, simple, flowing action and has tied down the best batsmen in knots. His fingers are not uncommonly long or strong, but he has never had trouble with his fingers, as is the case with other spinners. Bedi belongs to Amritsar, a wealthy agricultural place near Kashmir. It is famous that Sikhs are normally powerful men, fine warriors, and excellent hockey players. But actually, it was soccer that attracted Bedi in his young days.
Bishan Singh Bedi master of the art of slow left-arm bowling. 67 Tests (22 as captain), 266 Wickets 10 ODIs Wickets
Bishan Singh Bedi is the master of the art of slow left-arm bowling. He played 67 Tests (22 as captain) and 266 Wickets 10 ODI’s Wickets
There is no talk as good as cricket talk when memory sharpens memory and the dead are brought to life again. An interesting discussion can be started by merely posing the question of whom the best left-arm spinner India has produced. Those in their 60s would vote, suppose, for R. J. D. Jamshedji, and the ones in their 50s for Vino Mankad. But the youth of today would naturally cast their vote, and without a moment of hesitation, for Bishen Singh Bedi.”
It was just a matter of chance that I took to cricket, still more chancy that I took to spin bowling’, says Bedi, whose idols were Subhash Gupte India’s ace back-of-the-hand spinner, and Vino Mankad. Their splendid achievements, it seems, ultimately influenced Bedi to become a spinner. When asked Bedi why India had produced spin bowlers in large proportion to any other type of bowlers, his reply was, ‘it is perhaps traditional.
It was at the age of I5 that Bedi made his debut in the Ranji Trophy, and from then on, he has never looked back. In December 1966, when the West Indies were playing the Prime Minister’s XI in Delhi, Bedi took 6 for 130. That was the turning point of his career. Watching the match were Dutta Ray and M.K. Mantri, the two Indian selectors. In the course of the match, Ray casually asked Mantri his opinion of Bedi. Mantri jiggled, confirming, yes, to say that Bedi was alright. Thereupon, immediately after the match, Dutta Ray asked Bedi to pack his turbans and fly to Calcutta for the second test against the West Indies.
Bishan Singh Bedi got married to his Australian wife Glenith just two days before the third Test at Calcutta against Australia in 1969 and took 7-98. Bishan Singh Bedi, on that cold December day, bowled like one of the true artists of yesteryear. With wily variations of flight and spin, he troubled every Australian batsman. A nice wedding presents indeed for Glenith.
Bishan Singh Bedi is a dedicated cricketer. He is always in the game, quite incapable of giving less than all he has in him. He believes in hard work and, as a result, has improved his fielding to a great extent. In his first 27 Tests, Bedi has taken 96 wickets at 28.94 apiece. His performance has been consistent over the years, and this turbaned player has been the sheet anchor of the Indian attack ever since his first Test for India in 1966.
Bedi covered himself with much success on the tours to the West Indies and England. While Chandra perplexed the English batsmen, Bedi teased them with complex problems of flight and spin. Jim Kilburn, a long-standing critic, told Bedi in the same breath as Wilfred Rhodes. There could surely be no better praise; it must be a high motivational compliment.
Bedi has proved himself to be a man for all seasons. Like Vino Mankad, Bishan Singh Bedi owes his success to natural ability and persistent thought. A keen student of the game, Bedi has a reason for everything.
Of medium build, Bedi takes a short run, a matter of a few paces, and has such an easy delivery that he can bowl for hours. Bedi, who has had such great success with the ball in years, is likely to be a thorn in Northampton’s opponents for many years to come. Here are a few views about Bishan Singh Bedi:
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 is always reflected in his approach to cricket as a player, selector, and  administrator. KAPIL DEV
I learned 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 is the best left-arm pacer we have seen.’ SUNIL GAVASKAR
Bishan Singh 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 Singh Bedi 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 Bedi 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, Bishan Singh 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 be remembered for, replied: integrity. That is something Bishan will always be remembered for: integrity.” B.S. CHANDRASEKHAR
Reference: “PLAYFAIR CRICKET MONTHLY, March 1972”