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Bishen Singh Bedi's foot-in-the-mouth disease!

Written by: Deepak Joshi
Published: Friday, July 12, 2002, 18:11 [IST]
 
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Almaty (Kazakhstan): Bishen Singh Bedi has done it yet again! The legendary left-arm spinner, while attending a function to unveil commemorative watches for the nominees and winner of the Wisden Indian-Cricketer-of-the-Century award, came up with another of his periodical pearls of wisdom and observed, "India should have peaked just before the World Cup - not now!"

It is understandable that India hardly used to win during the period when Bedi played for India in the One-day Internationals. So, India winning three consecutive matches and being in a dominant position in one washed out one, might have given Bedi illusions and apprehensions that the Indian team is 'peaking' too early.

During the 1978 tour of Pakistan under Bedi, our beloved Sardar actually conceded a One-day International to Pakistan because Sarfraz Nawaz bowled a few short-pitched deliveries to Vishwanath and Anshuman Gaekwad.

All along we had believed that the match was forfeited in protest against the negative tactics being used by the Pakistanis. Now at last, we have an insight into Bedi's mind. All, he wanted perhaps, was that India should not 'peak' in 1978 with World Cup on the horizon in 1979 in England!

During the course of his utterances, Bedi came with another remark, concerning Indian skipper Saurav Ganguly, "He seems to be using his brain now. But he must still improve upon his fielding and set example for others."

This remark surely suggests that at least he watches the matches and if he is taking the pains to observe when Ganguly is 'using his brain' and when he seems to have mortgaged it somewhere, then obviously it would not have escaped his attention that teams like Australia, South Africa and even Sri Lanka, almost eternally seem to be 'peaking'!

So what exactly would Bedi be happy with? Should India win a match and then follow the illustrious example set by him in 1978 against Pakistan and voluntarily decide to forfeit the next five matches so that there is no fear of 'peaking' too soon? Or not try to win matches at all and somehow hope to 'peak' just prior to World Cup 2003?

A few of these so called experts of the game have made such a fine art of eternally staying in news with one ludicrous statement after another that all this could be considered outrageously funny if only it wasn't so tragic!

And Bedi is the undisputed clown who heads the bandwagon, with Raj Singh Dungarpur eternally chasing him for the coveted spot! Sometime back, Bedi called Muralitharan a chucker and a javelin thrower rather than a bowler.

Mind you, this was after Murali has been cleared by ICC and an expert medical analysis, which confirmed that he is born with a deformity in his right arm and actually there is nothing wrong with his bowling action.

As is the typical frame of mind of individuals like Bedi, he surely starched his colourful 'patkas' and groomed his elegant beard expecting the reporters and experts from all over the world to fall over one another to seek further 'insights' from the legendary spinner that Bedi was in his hey days!

Surely, he must have been crestfallen, because not one Sri Lankan decided to react to his this pearl of wisdom and in general everyone ignored him with the contempt that his remark deserved.

In the not too distant past, during the infamous row between BCCI and ICC over the Mike Dennis issue, match referee Dennis reprimanded Sachin Tendulkar for ball tampering and suspended six Indian cricketers for one reason or the other, while giving a clean chit to all South Africans.

The moment BCCI chief Jagmohan Dalmiya decided to call the bluff and high handedness of ICC, who in India took up the cudgels on behalf of ICC? Of course our redoubtable Bedi and Raj Singh Dungarpur!

They suddenly seemed to be on every news channel expressing their anguish and pain that Dalmiya had caused them by taking on the sacred institution that ICC was, blah, blah...

Within no time Dalmiya rallied the Asian countries behind him and ICC was made to see reason. Just as we expected, more than the ICC headquarters, real gloom descended on the faces of Bedi and Dungarpur it seems.

And since that time, they have been taking out their frustration on Saurav Ganguly, who according to their wisdom, is there only because of Dalmiya's backing!

Without anyone asking him, the 'greater than greatness, his highness' Dungarpur went to the Press and declared that if he was the BCCI chief, he would handover the captaincy to Sachin and give him a free hand to build the team for the World Cup 2003!

Now, any dim-witted person can make out from that one that it is not Ganguly's captaincy that is irking the 'great' Dungarpur. It is the fact that he is not at the helm of affairs. So anything that is perceived to be done by BCCI, read Dalmiya, you will have these two and a few others like them ganged up to run BCCI down.

That, they eternally stay in news with their never-ending 'foot-in-the-mouth' statements, is an added, free bonus.

PS: Contrary to the expectations that people like Bedi and Dungarpur will measure their words and give a careful thought before issuing their Press statements in future, alas, it will only gladden their hearts to see a prominent Website giving so much space to their name and idiosyncrasies.

One can only hope, the media evolves its own unwritten code of conduct to only cull out the valid observations made by such gentlemen, if at all they ever come up with a valid observation!

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