Former India captain and spin legend Bishan Singh Bedi has hit out at the mess surrounding the Indian Premier League (IPL) and has called its suspended Chairman Lalit Modi a brat and league an example of crass commercialisation. In a candid interview to CNN-IBN's Karan Thapar he targeted Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri and said they should have resigned from the IPL Governing Council.
Excerpts of the interview:
Bishan Singh Bedi: Crass commercialisation, that's the word - crass commercialisation. And why do we say this is not cricket. Have you ever said this is not hockey, this is not football or this is not golf? Cricket is associated with something upright, honest, straightforward, and when this kind of sleaze takes place. No this is not cricket.
Karan Thapar: What do you think of Lalit Modi today?
Bishan Singh Bedi: I never thought of him anything earlier. He is a spoilt brat absolutely, born and brought up in the riches, without knowing what happens at the grassroots level of the game. No, worst thing, worst thing. I will tell you Karan in the finals I was watching, this bugger is tossing the coin in the presence of Sachin Tendulkar and M S Dhoni as also Venkatraghavan. Ha! I tell you.
Karan Thapar: Lalit Modi of course has been suspended, but the rest of the Governing Council remain in place, do you think they share responsibility for what's happened?
Bishan Singh Bedi: More than that, because they were watching, they didn't know what was going on but they were watching quite happily, and then suddenly this disaster happened, and Tiger (Pataudi) mentioned - this is what I like about Tiger. He said that the Governing Council is equally responsible, but they are still there though nobody has been moved.
Karan Thapar: In that interview that he gave me Tiger Pataudi said that they were so dazzled by the success of the IPL that they didn't ask questions, to you, is that an adequate explanation?
Bishan Singh Bedi: No that's not, that's a very poor explanation if you ask me honestly.
Karan Thapar: Tiger Pataudi also said that the Governing Council failed. So should the Governing Council also accept responsibility and voluntarily step aside?
Bishan Singh Bedi: They should have. At least the three cricketers should have, to my mind.
Karan Thapar: I am going to make you repeat that Ravi Shastri, Sunil Gavaskar and Tiger Pataudi should have resigned?
Bishan Singh Bedi: They should have because they didn't know what was going on. Alright Ravi Shastri and Sunil Gavaskar they were busy with commentating, ok. Tiger Pataudi wasn't doing anything. You see, how can you allow your name to be misused by one person. You don't even know him!
Karan Thapar: Let me put it like this. Given that Tiger Pataudi readily accepts that the Governing Council failed, given that you say that all three should have stepped aside voluntarily, why do you think they haven't, why do you think they are still continuing?
Bishan Singh Bedi: Again this is the money which is talking , keeping them quite and the money has taken over
Karan Thapar: What do you mean money is talking?
Bishan Singh Bedi: You mean to say these three cricketers are there without getting paid?
Karan Thapar: They are making money by being on the Governing Council?
Bishan Singh Bedi: Of course they are, of course they are. I can't believe that these three fellows would have lent their name without getting substantially paid, nobody else in the Governing Council is paid. Let me assure you that
Karan Thapar: So they are the only three who are paid?
Bishan Singh Bedi: They are the only three.
Karan Thapar: And it's because of money that they stay there?
Bishan Singh Bedi: Otherwise they wouldn't! With so much of nonsense floating around IPL, you think they would still be around!
Karan Thapar: Are you disappointed by the fact that they haven't resigned? Have they fallen in your estimation because they haven't resigned?
Bishan Singh Bedi: Ah. That is a very tough question. I would rather leave it to them. How they look at themselves, and they also must be having some self-esteem, and I wouldn't like to be involved in any kind of estimation.
Karan Thapar: They would live up to your reputation and thinking of them if they did resign, that's what you say?
Bishan Singh Bedi: Well it is too late now.
Karan Thapar: They have damaged themselves
Bishan Singh Bedi: They have done whatever they could - wrongly, to be honest
Karan Thapar: Lets move on and talk about the wider responsibility of the BCCI itself. Could it be possible that for three years they had no idea about what was happening under their very noses?
Bishan Singh Bedi: They knew it, but they didn't have enough guts to put this chap in place. They didn't have it.
Karan Thapar: If you say they knew it and they didn't have guts to put Modi in place then you are also suggesting that they were colluding in some sense?
Bishan Singh Bedi: No they weren't colluding but I think they were, I think you are right. They were colluding because see, there's a clash of interest as far as (N) Srinivasan is concerned. He is the Secretary of the BCCI, as well as he owns one team, and then the chairman of selection committee is the ambassador of that team. (Krishnamachari) Srikkanth has specific interest in Chennai (Super Kings). So anybody who is doing well for Chennai Kings, would definitely find Srikkanth a very willing partner to do his job in the selection committee.