Angad Bedi: Growing up with the legends!

One day there would be Kapil paaji, and the next day, it would be the Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi!

Angad Bedi.

These days, if you ask any cricket fan about his fan boy moment, he would invariably talk about Virat Kohli. It’s indeed a big deal to watch Virat play and be his fan.

But for us, who grew up in early 1990s, cricket was about Kapil Dev, Mohammad Azharuddin, Sachin Tendulkar or Ravi Shastri.

For me, these gentlemen were not just cricketing idols or role models, they were more like family. My father — Bishan Singh Bedi — was the coach of the Indian cricket team and many cricketers, both past and present, would come to meet him regularly. One day there would be Kapil paaji, and the next day, it would be the Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi!

To be honest, as a seven-year-old, I did not know how good they were as cricketers, but I knew they were lovely human beings. They would discuss cricket with my father and I got the opportunity to spend more time with them and hang out.

Now when I look back, I consider myself extremely fortunate to have seen so many superstars in close quarters. It almost sounds like a fairy tale that I have known so many greats, who have always been part of my family.

But if there was one cricketer who I was a big fan of it has to be Shane Warne. The Aussie spin legend had a different charisma on the field. The way he would take that run-up, set his field, and then trick the batsmen made Warne very special. I still remember how excited I was to see Warne dismissing Mike Gatting off that superb delivery — which became the Ball of the Century. He was a great character, who enjoyed his life — both on and off the field. His approach and confidence was so high that he could bounce back despite being smacked by the batsmen. For a youngster like me, that was something quite inspirational.

And also, when I was growing up, I found a best friend in Yuvraj Singh. I met him for the first time at our house, when he had come to train under my father. I was 11 and he was 13. But we became friends instantly and that bond has only grown stronger over the years!

It has been a pleasure knowing Yuvi and growing up with him. He was a lion-hearted cricketer and that made him stand out. As a friend and as a cricket enthusiast, it has been wonderful to watch those knocks by Yuvi.

They say, it is never easy to take a cricketer out of the 22 yards, and I completely agree with that. I may have moved away from the game, but I still make it a point to watch the game regularly. Watching cricket invariably makes me happy!

Angad Bedi is an Indian film actor and model.

As told to Shayan Acharya.