Bishen Singh Bedi (L) with Haroon Logart    Getty Images
Bishen Singh Bedi (L) with Haroon Logart Getty Images

 

By Navneet Mundhra

 

“This is a good team and they must win the trophy for Sachin Tendulkar. This will be his sixth World Cup and he has not figured in a winning team. Australia have won three on the trot and many of their players are not fit to tie Tendulkar’s bootlaces”Bishan Singh Bedi

 

Why does somebody of Bishan Bedi‘s stature take vituperative digs at players? Bedi has publicly passed many such demeaning remarks about players and their professional achievements.

 

He dubbed Muttiah Muralitharan a javelin thrower and ridiculed that even if Murali notched 1000 Test wickets, they would be akin to 1000 run outs.

 

Ajit Agarkar was another victim of Bedi’s viciousness and censured the Sourav Ganguly for supporting youngsters like Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh when the odds were against them.

 

Let’s examine Bedi’s above tirade. The World Cup-winning Australian teams in 1999, 2003 and 2007 comprised such legendary names as Shane Warne, Steve Waugh, Mark Waugh, Matthew Hayden, Brett Lee, Andrew Symonds, Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist and Glenn McGrath. Almost all those great players contributed significantly to Australia’s World Cup triumphs.

 

Being critical is fine. Greats like Richie Benaud and Ian Chappell don’t mince their words. But they command respect because their sense of fair play is not questioned nor are they seen as obnoxious in their opinion.

 

Ian Chappell was doing TV commentary when Greg Chappell shamefully ordered his younger brother Trevor to bowl the last ball underarm. Ian hauled both his brothers over the coal for their disgraceful act. And it’s not that he mauled them after the incident drew huge backlash from the media, cricketers and general public; he did that doing live commentary.

 

Pouring such vitriol has robbed much of the respect Bedi earned as one of the finest left-arm spinners in the history of the game who took 1560 first-class wickets. Bedi played his last international game more than three decades back and it will be sad if the modern generation remembers Bedi for just his barbs. As a genuine cricket lover, that would deeply sadden me.

 

(Navneet Mundhra is a dreamer who has no delusion of grandeur about himself. He is an eternal learner brimming with passion and compassion, a maverick who swears by perfection and integrity and an avid reader, devout philharmonic, die hard movie buff and a passionate writer)