Kudos to Mr. Lionel Rajapakse for his brilliant letter titled, `Bishen Singh Bedi`( 30 July) whereby he has rightly advised Muttiah Muralidharan to ignore Bedi`s adverse comments on his bowling. Mr. Rajapakse has also highlighted number of Bedi`s idiosyncrasies to expose the flaws of the former India
Perhaps it would not be out of context if I recall another `gem` of Bedi`s antics. In 1990, Bengal won India`s premier domestic tournament - Ranji trophy. After a week, the Indian Test squad for the England tour was announced, but no Bengal player featured in it. When a reporter queried about the indifference meted to the champion domestic side of the country Bishen Singh Bedi, the then Indian cricket
manager, retorted that there lies no law stipulating necessary inclusion of a player in the national squad hailing from the Ranji-winning team. Three summers later, it was the turn of Punjab to lift the Ranji Trophy. In the subsequent tour to Sri Lanka
, the Indian Test squad did not feature any Punjab player (Of course Punjab`s Navjyot Singh Sidhu was in the Indian squad but he did not play any part in Punjab`s Ranji success because of his national commitments). Amusingly, this prompted Bedi, then Punjab`s coach, to vent ire upon the Indian selectors and questioned the selection policy by pointing to the fact that no member of the champion team of the country finds place in the national squad! So, my dearest Murali, this is the real picture of our over-hyped spinner. By according different yardsticks for Bengal and Punjab cricketers, Bedi has proved that he is nothing but hypocrisy-personified.
By boldly declaring his retirement, prior to the Galle Test( when he was still 8 wickets away from touching the magic figure of 800), Murali
has proved his self-less nature. In contrast, Bedi accorded much priority to self-interest over national considerations. For certain unknown reasons, Bedi used to hate Sunil Gavaskar and Mohinder Amarnath. So to see their exclusion from the national squad Bedi, as part of selection board, tried to omit all over-thirty players( `liabilities` of team) for the 1985 Rothmans Cup at Sharjah. At that point of time, both Gavaskar and Amarnath crossed their thirties. But he failed to impose his opinion on the rest of the selectors and both Gavaskar and Amarnath featured in the squad. In the first match against Pakistan
, thanks to Gavaskar`s four superb catches, India managed to defeat Pakistan even after scoring mere 125 runs. And in the second(final match as well)match against
, it was Amarnath who garnered the Man of the Match award by taking two crucial wickets and playing an unbeaten crucial innings of 24. Thus, to see the back of his `enemies`, Bedi even went to the extent of trying to sack these potential match-winners through backdoor (the `over-thirty` theory), thereby endangering the strength of the team.
Moreover, the gentleman Murali has graciously retired from Test arena when he was still at his prime which got proved by his last match haul of 8 wickets and helping his team to win the match. But Bedi, despite terrible and declining form, just refused to quit and finally was sacked by the selectors after a disastrous show in Pakistan where he let his team down. Even thereafter he was indignified enough to state that he was conspired against!
Thus, both in cricketing as well as in non-cricketing terms , Bedi is simply no match to the great Muralidharan. While Murali`s place is guaranteed in World Cricket`s Hall of Fame for eternity, Bedi is nothing more than a bridesmaid and merit just a comma or semicolon in cricketing history. Instead of reacting to Bedi`s malicious comments, Murali should remember the great Indian saint Kabir`s saying that when an elephant marches through the street, dogs bark at it but the pachyderm continues to tread along his route without even taking a glance back.
Kolkata 114 India