Bishan Singh Bedi, the legendary Indian spinner, left an indelible mark on the world of cricket. While many are familiar with his illustrious career, there are lesser-known facts that highlight his uniqueness and influence on the sport.
1. Most Economical Figures in a World Cup Match:
In the 1975 World Cup, Bedi showcased his mastery of spin bowling. He bowled a remarkable spell against East Africa, giving away just 8 runs and taking 1 wicket in 12 overs, resulting in an astonishing economy rate of 0.50. This record for the most economical figures in a 60-over World Cup match still stands as a testament to his precision.
2. Forfeiting an ODI Match:
Bedi’s unwavering principles were evident when he decided to forfeit an ODI match against Pakistan. Frustrated by excessive bouncers from the opposition’s pacers and despite India needing just 23 runs from 14 deliveries with 8 wickets in hand, Bedi took a stand to protect his players.
3. Maiden Over Maestro:
Bedi’s precision as a bowler is further exemplified by his impressive record of maiden overs in Test matches. He ranks second only to West Indies great Lance Gibbs, averaging 16.35 maiden overs per Test. His best match figures of 10/194 against Australia at Perth in 1978/79 showcased his mastery even on a pace-friendly wicket.
4. Trailblazing as a Coach:
Bishan Singh Bedi not only excelled as a player but also ventured into coaching. In 1990, he became the first individual to be appointed as India’s full-time cricket coach. His guidance played a pivotal role in nurturing the talent of the Indian cricket team.
5. Controversial Statements:
Bedi was known for his outspoken nature. He once questioned the bowling action of Sri Lankan spin sensation Muttiah Muralitharan, stating that Muralitharan’s wickets should be considered mere run-outs. This controversy sparked discussions and debates in the cricketing world.
Bishan Singh Bedi’s legacy extends beyond his exceptional on-field performances. His principled decisions, coaching contributions, and candid opinions continue to make an impact on the cricketing fraternity.
His records, including the astonishing economy rate in World Cup cricket and his remarkable figures in Test matches, are a testament to his skill and dedication to the game. Bedi’s influence and achievements ensure that he remains an iconic figure in the history of Indian cricket and an inspiration to future generations of spin bowlers.