Former India captain Bishan Singh Bedi passed away on Monday after prolonged illness. He was 77 years old and is survived by his wife Anju, son Angad and daughter Neha.
The legendary spinner played 67 Tests for India between 1967 and 1979 and picked 266 wickets. He also took seven wickets in 10 One-Day Internationals.
Bedi, along with Erapalli Prasanna, BS Chandrasekhar and S. Venkataraghavan, was the architect of a revolution of sorts in India’s spin bowling history.
In the Australian summer of 1977-78, the Indian cricket team - under the leadership of Bedi - displayed one of its grittiest performances in the five-match Test series. Even though the results were 3-2 in favour of the Bob Simpson-led home team, Bedi’s team put on a mighty fight, clinching wins in the third and fourth Tests — in Melbourne and Sydney.
Bedi played a key role in India’s first ODI win. His miserly bowling figures of 12-8-6-1 restricted East Africa to 120 in a 1975 World Cup fixture.
The Amritsar-born spinner, who plied his trade for Delhi on the domestic circuit, is the leading wicket-taker amongst Indians in First-Class cricket with 1,560 wickets in 370 matches.
Bedi also led Delhi to its first two Ranji Trophy titles — in 1978-79 and 1979-80. The team was also runner-up twice under him. Incidentally, the four finals came in a span of five years.
He was also one of the most successful overseas players in the English County cricket circuit, too. He featured for Northamptonshire in 102 outings, between 1972 and 1977, and bagged 434 wickets for the Northants, the most by an Indian in County cricket.
Bedi was the Indian national team’s first professional head coach in 1990 and emphasised on fitness. After quitting the Indian team role, Bedi coached quite a few state teams and guided Punjab to its only Ranji Trophy win, in the 1992-93 season.
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