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Chandrashekhar goes back in time to Bishan Bedi's best spell

October 23, 2023 21:08 IST

Bhagwat Chandrasekhar, Bishan Singh Bedi, Erapalli Prasanna and Srinivas Venkatraghavan

IMAGE: Bhagwat Chandrasekhar, Bishan Singh Bedi, Erapalli Prasanna and Srinivas Venkatraghavan. Photograph: Getty Images from the Rediff Archives 

Champion bowler, candid person and the strong, moral voice of Indian cricket, that's how Bishan Singh Bedi, who died on Monday, lived in the memories of his contemporaries and successors.

Bedi, who took 266 wickets from 67 Tests, was one of the finest left-arm spinners to have graced cricket.

But for BS Chandrasekhar, who shared the field with Bedi for long years he was much more than a fine cricketer or teammate.


"It is a very sad news for me. I have shared such a long friendship with Bedi. He was so much more than a teammate, a true friend whom I could call anytime and speak. It's a huge personal loss," Chandrasekhar, who formed one part of the famous spin quartet along with Bedi, EAS Prasanna and S Venkataraghavan, told PTI.

However, Chandrasekhar, who had seen the Delhiite's brilliance from close quarters, could not avoid talking about Bedi the cricketer.

"He was a terrific bowler. His use of crease and angles were just stunning. Batsmen often were made nervous by the prospect of facing him, he had just about every trick up his sleeve, not to mention his flight," said Chandrasekhar.

So, what was the best spell of Bedi?

"There were many. In fact, sometimes he would bowl so well and end up with not too many wickets. But his five-wicket haul against England was a crafty one, as they had some good players like (Dennis) Amiss, (Keith) Fletcher and (Mike) Denness," he added.

It was the second Test of the 1972-73 series at the Eden Gardens. Tony Greig and Chris Old shared nine wickets among them to bowl out India for 155 in the second innings, and England chased 192 in the fourth innings.

But Bedi (5/63) and Chandrasekhar (4/42) combined to bowl out the visitors for 163 as India celebrated a 28-run victory at Kolkata.

Former India left-arm spinner Sunil Joshi's voice was cracking over the phone when he shared the memories about his mentor.

"It was a massive loss for me. He was not just a coach, but a mentor, a father-figure. We would spend hours together talking about the art of spin, and about life. He was always a call away for me.

"It is difficult to say how much I have learned from him. He was an ocean of wisdom. I am trying to impart whatever I have learned from him to the next generation," said Joshi, who often credits his spell of 5 for 6 against South Africa in the LG Cup at Nairobi in 1999, to the guidance of Bedi.

VV Kumar, former India leg-spinner who has 599 First-Class wickets, remembered Bedi as a master tactician.

"He was talented and hard-working. He always polished his skills at nets, very crucial for a spinner. He has wonderful control over his craft, his flight and dip always put batsmen in two minds. Such a wonderful bowler to watch. A great loss indeed for cricket," said Kumar.

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