Sports

Bishan Singh Bedi: Legendary Indian Spinner And Former Captain Passes Away

Capped 67 times by India in Test matches, Bishan Singh Bedi leaves behind an unparalleled legacy as not only one of the finest Indian bowlers but also one of the pioneers of spin bowling in the country’s long and glorious cricketing history

Bishan Singh Bedi, 74, was a former India captain.
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Former Indian captain and legendary spinner Bishan Singh Bedi breathed his last in Delhi on October 23, 2023. Bedi was 77 when he succumbed to a prolonged illness that had forced him to undergo multiple surgeries in the previous years. (More Cricket News)

Capped 67 times by India in Test matches, Bedi leaves behind an untarnishable legacy as not only one of the finest Indian bowlers but also one of the pioneers of spin in the country’s long and glorious cricketing history. 

Born in Amritsar, Punjab, a year before independence, Bishan Singh Bedi rose through the domestic circuit as a prodigious sportsman and made his debut for Northern Punjab at the ripe age of 15 - this, even though the would-be legend had only picked up the sport two years earlier. Bedi’s six years with Northern Punjab inspired a move to Delhi in 1968 and induced the first international cap for the Indian Test team in 1966. 

Bedi debuted for India on December 31, 1966, in a Test match against the mighty West Indies, sparking a successful career that would stretch the 13 years that followed and witness him become one of the most prolific bowlers the country had produced in its then-nascent existence. The Amritsar-born left-arm spinner would represent his national team in 67 matches and claim the scalp of 266 batters - a figure that, in the present day, ranks him as India’s eighth-most prolific test bowler. 

Bedi’s contribution to Indian cricket, however, goes beyond statistics and numbers. Back when the prospering sport was still finding its foothold in a burgeoning country, Bedi and the likes of Erapalli Prasanna, S Venkataraghavan, and BS Chandrasekhar led the spin revolution that would evolve into one of the world’s most fearsome. 

“Deeply saddened to hear the loss of Bishan Paaji. He was someone who always had my back and who genuinely shared his thoughts on the game. Cricketing fraternity will miss him dearly. Heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and loved ones,” wrote Anil Kumble, chief among those who walked in the footsteps of Bedi and his contemporaries. 

“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,” added Jay Shah, BCCI honorary secretary.

Apart from his Test exploits, Bishan Singh Bedi also helped India record their first-ever ODI international victory against East Africa with extraordinary figures of 12-8-6-1 (Overs-Maidens-Runs-Wickets). Furthermore, he led the Delhi team to their first two Ranji titles (1978/79 and 1979/80) and even went overseas to play for Northamptonshire in English county cricket between 1972 and 1977.

In 1976, Bedi took up the mantle of the Indian national cricket team captain from Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, a position he relinquished 22 games later to Sunil Gavaskar following mixed results.

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