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'We are handing the sport to thugs'
Raja Sen in New Delhi
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February 24, 2005 11:43 IST

(Left to right) Indian spin legends Bhagwat Chandrasekhar, Bishen Singh Bedi, Erapalli Prasanna and Srinivas VenkatraghavanCricket's most outspoken legend is hard to contain, especially when Bishen Singh Bedi denounces the new chucking rule he finds "ridiculous."

The new International Cricket Council rule, which comes into effect on March 1, allows bowlers to bend their elbows by up to 15 degrees.

Here are some excerpts from a conversation with the legendary bowler, seen alongside with his legendary mates Bhagwat Chandrasekhar, Erapalli Prasanna and Srinivas Venkatraghavan:

"How is anybody suggesting such a foolish rule? They must be having hallucinations! This is a clear case of the blind leading the blind. Every ICC [Images] ruling contradicts whatever they are saying. Common sense contradicts what they say! What I feel is that they are trying to fool the public, and throw suspicion to the wind.

The old rules were clear about chucking, and it was more than sufficient. Everything else, all these suggestions, are rubbish! Umpires are neutral. That is not debatable. You can't expect a cricketer to ever raise a finger at the umpire -- in all my years of playing the game, I've never questioned the umpire's verdict. We were just not brought up in that way.

What I would personally like these bowlers (the ones under suspicion) to do is to take a long and hard look at themselves in the mirror. I would like them to judge for themselves. They should see if what they are doing is right.

Why is there suspicion in the first place? There is no room for error. Either you are a legitimate bowler, or you are not. Why is the ICC constantly bending its rules to accomodate these players? There is no legitimacy in their game! The cricketing body governing the sport should have sufficient knowledge of the game, and the courage and guts to throw them out!

That is it -- the only answer! No sympathy of any kind should be shown to those maligning the game! The dirty fish must be thrown out of the pond!

How do the testing panels determine whether a bowler is chucking or not? In the confines of a laboratory, the situation is totally different from that of a Test match -- a bowler can go from 'fine' to illegal as per his own convenience!

I am confident this is just another ridiculous experiment! The ICC will fall flat on its face regarding this ruling, and the officials behind it will bite the dust! They are a very confused lot, and the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing! Which is why they keep making successive blunders, constantly.

What cricketing background do the bigwigs in the ICC have? A bunch of so-called experts and washed up officials trying to extract their pound of flesh by bleeding cricket dry! The organisation is completely listless!

Think about it: if they have no spine and no pancreas, and we know they don't have a brain -- how will the body stand?

The ICC is doomed to keep making mistakes! This 15-degree nonsense is absolutely stupid, and a mockery of the great game. And the irony is that cricket is supposed to build character!

This has always traditionally been a gentleman's game; now we are handing the sport to thugs, and allowing them to dictate terms to us.

What is the point of asking a bowler to make rectifications to his action after he has got 150 wickets? The governing bodies are entirely clueless in terms of their next course of action.

June 1977: Bishen Bedi, then captain of India, does his yoga excercises at Lords in London before the start of the Test against England.About the bowling rule, ICC Chief Executive Malcolm Speed [Images] is doing sweet nothing!

This is causing great damage to the game, but I feel this is, to an extent, short-term damage. Crimes are forgotten. The game has never tolerated fools! Nobody is greater than the game! The game will go on.

Why do the same bowlers keep getting targeted? Right is right and wrong is wrong, that's it.

The unfortunate part is that all these bowlers (under suspicion) belong to the subcontinent. It is becoming a breeding ground now for these illegal actions.

Cricket is a sport of the very finest quality, where anything less than perfection hasn't been tolerated. These bowlers deserve no acknowledgement in this great sport. The ICC too should look in a mirror and see how foolish they look. There should be no mercy -- throw the tainted players out lock, stock and barrel!

This is a game of rules and laws, and it will remain that."

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