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Dev Tyagi ∙ Updated: Oct 23 2023, 8:42 PM | 4 Min Read

Salute To A Tireless Legend Who Mustn’t Be forgotten: Bishan Singh Bedi


image-lo315651Bishan Singh Bedi during his playing days (X.com)

Three things, among the many, tend to scar us for lives especially if not tended with care or treated with detachment. No jokes. First, the passing of the family’s elder, the one who was our wisdom tree; the one we could go to, time and again sans a care about the world. Second, the very sight of seeing one’s precious home being destroyed or if not, then snatched in the very cold. What could be worse than experiencing that the place to which one belonged, isn’t there at all?

And the other, besides a flurry of financial losses, at times made worse by sudden occurrences,is seeing that old Banyan tree being grazed to the ground. You know, that sort of sight that happens perhaps to make space for a new construction. 

Though, truth be told, whatever the magnitude of loss, the end feeling is tends to make one crestfallen. 

Does it not? 

Maybe the passing of a certain Bishan Singh Bedi is the sort of loss that is tantamount to an irreparable damage felt in such scenarios. It’s like someone removed the banyan tree of courage, of passion and knowledge, and not to forget, a deep connect with the game we so love. 

Though, what’s also true is that in Bishan Singh Bedi’s demise, the mortal body has left the world, but the legend has risen; and it shall stay glowing for times to come. 

He’s a legend, lest it is forgotten, who stood tall for India with the ball, ironically enough in a sport where one thought it was all about the bat. 

The sort of hero any team would dream to have, though one India were fortunate to have. 

Bedi sahab’s passing puts focus on not just those glowing, timeless jewels with the red ball- 67 Tests, 266 wickets, 14 fifers- but on a career that perhaps we rather shoddily didn’t get to read an awful lot about. Was that perhaps because in an age that’s about excesses, whether of binge shopping and of great speeds of speedsters, there’s hardly much focus on things that slow us down and turn us into a captivating world much like the left-arm orthodox bowler’s guile. 

Or was that because somewhere we, the superstar-obsessed fans in a fanboy age that cares little about anyone as long as the name isn’t Sharma or Kohli or Bumrah have become immune to other giants who excelled long before these heroes were not even an idea in their parents’ minds? But does the blame, if at all, indifference towards India’s other big names is considered one, the fault of Virat Kohli and the likes? 

Or is it because we just don’t seem to care? What must be said however, is that there’s a great lesson in Bedi ki and all he did for the spinners of today and those who are yet to even come close to national contention. 

And it’s that in an age where success is fast paced much like the bullet train, persistence is the key. It is the big differentiator. Perhaps, it may even be the price of success, if one were to think about it. 

And this brave son of Amritsar who’d become India’s pride and a Cricket legend was a master pursuer of his craft. Lest it is forgotten, he bowled 20,650 deliveries from which he’d ever concede 7,637 runs, maintaining an economy that until the end remained fixated with what you’d consider a miser to be. What else would you call that Test bowling economy of 2.2? 

The little boy that was all of 15 when he was picked by Northern Punjab, would make a name for himself by tossing it up rather bravely to batsmen as his career grew and with it, India’s ambition to rub horns with world beating sides. Then came promising stints with county legends like Northamptonshire. 

You didn’t know what about him was more impressive- the fact that he was merely 21 when he Test debuted vs the West Indies or the very exasperating achievement of having 1560 wickets from 370 first-class games? 

Whether great rhythm akin to a classic Hindustani melody or immaculate control like one sought to this day in Dave Bruebeck’s Take Five, Bishan Singh Bedi’s bowling evoked soul in a land of the upbeat Bhangra. Perhaps today’s T10 obsessed, fantasy gaming app lovers may need to be reminded that there’s been so much more that Punjab has done for spin bowling in India than giving us the inimitable hero called Bhajji. Bedi sahab was the captain post the legendary Tiger Pataudi. And he shall, for times to come, be hailed as the silent hero who deserves plaudits akin to the 21-gun barrel salute for all he did for the Team, seldom playing for self glory.