Bishan Singh Bedi, legendary India spinner, dies at 77
Bishan Singh Bedi, former India captain and legendary spinner has died at the age of 77 on Monday. Over the last two year, Bedi was down with ailing health during which he underwent numerous medical procedures, including a knee surgery approximately one month ago. He is survived by his wife Anju, and two children, Neha and Angad.
"The BCCI mourns the sad demise of former India Test Captain and legendary spinner, Bishan Singh Bedi. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and fans in these tough times. May his soul rest in peace," read an X post from the Board of Control for Cricket in India.
Bedi, a veteran of 67 Tests between in a 12-year-career spanning between 1967 and 1979, was one of India's most celebrated cricketers. Bedi, along with Erapalli Prasanna, BS Chandrasekhar and S. Venkataraghavan, formed the most lethal spin quartet in the history of Indian cricket, one that revolutionised the art of spin bowling worldwide.
A Padma Shri winner in 1970, Bedi also went on to captain India in 22 Tests and played India's first-ever ODI against East Africa in 1975 where he bowled 12 overs, eight maidens, gave away six runs and picked one wicket. Bedi is widely considered the game's greatest left-arm spinner.
"Former captain of the Indian cricket team and a bowler who will be always remembered fondly, Bishan Singh Bedi ji is no more with us. It's a very tragic news and a big loss to the world of cricket," Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur, told ANI.
"In Himachal Pradesh's Dharamsala, he arranged a number of training camps. And when this stadium was coming through, he used to stay in the Indian dressing room. He would stay here and prepare the players. Although he has always had a wonderful relation with Punjab and Delhi, he had a place in his heart reserved for Himachal as well. Condolences to his entire family."
Making his Test debut against Australia in 1969-70, Bedi finished the series with 21 wickets. And there was no looking back. After grabbing 25 wickets against England, another 18 against West Indies, 22 more against England and 25 and 31 again versus England and Australia, Bedi, really was, in the truest sense, one of the greatest spinners of all time.
Bedi was a stalwart for Delhi in Ranji Trophy leading the team to back-to-back titles in 1978-79 and 1980-81. Besides, Bedi also emerged as a giant in County cricket where he played 102 First-Class games for Northamptonshire and picked 434 wickets from 1972 to 1977.
In the year 1976, Bedi was appointed captain of the Indian team, succeeding Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi. His inaugural win as captain was in the 3rd Test of the 1976 series against the formidable West Indies in Port-of-Spain, where India orchestrated a historic fourth-innings total of 406, etching their name into the record books. This resounding victory paved the way for India to continue their dominance, culminating in a 2-0 series triumph against New Zealand on home turf. Yet, despite these promising beginnings, a series of challenging Test losses to England, Australia, and Pakistan would ultimately lead to Bedi's removal from the post with Sunil Gavaskar taking over.