“We all started our career fascinated with the famed art of spin bowling by the famous four of Bishan Bedi, Erapalli Prasanna, B.S. Chandrasekhar and S. Venkatraghavan. I was privileged to be associated with him in one way or the other over the years,” says former India left-arm spinner S.L. Venkatapathy Raju, reacting to the demise of the good Bishan Singh Bedi.
“In fact, Bedi paaji was my coach when I played for India on the 1990 New Zealand tour. And, I remember (Ravi) Shastri telling me – never to look (emulate) at Bedi when bowling for no one matched him when he bowled. Even in the nets, we all looked so ordinary in front of him,” Raju recalled.
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“He was one of those great characters of the game who never spoke anything behind about anyone. But had the grace, at the same time, to accept a point of opinion, in case of any decent debate on any cricketing issue,” the previous Hyderabad captain stated.
“Yes, it is a huge loss and the entire cricketing fraternity misses him,” Raju stated.
For his half, one other India left-arm spinner, Pragyan Ojha, felt Bedi’s loss was irreparable.
“He was also not one of the finest cricketers but a great gentleman who spoke his heart out. A great human being,” Ojha stated.
“I had the good fortune of Bishen paaji coming to the ground to see me play for South Zone and Central Zone when many questioned my bowling action. He, in fact, had a word of encouragement, saying, ‘Great, you are taking the bull by its horn with your attitude on the field’,” Ojha recalled.
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“His moral support when I was a little low (on confidence) actually helped me a lot in gaining India A selection. After that game, I started performing well in domestic cricket again,” he stated. “Bedi paaji never filtered his words, (he) always straightforward with his views,” he added.
“Yes, at some point or the other, many of us were inspired by this great cricketer,” Ojha stated.
Former Hyderabad Ranji Trophy captain and probably the greatest off-spinners ever, Kanwaljit Singh, stated Indian cricket misplaced a real legend.
“He was a very good human being besides being arguably one of the finest spinners ever the game has seen. And despite being someone who would tell you what exactly you were, he had a great sense of humour too; very jovial but one who took cricket very seriously,” Kanwaljit stated.
Former India off-spinner and ex-BCCI president N. Shivlal Yadav stated the demise of Bedi was an enormous loss to the cricketing fraternity.
“Bedi paaji was such an inspirational figure for all the spinners for generations. An ultimate delight to watch when he was at his peak,” Shivlal stated. “He will be always remembered for his immense contribution to cricket,” he stated
Source web site: sportstar.thehindu.com