HYDERABAD: There is never a dull moment when one is in the presence of the legendary Bishen Singh Bedi.
There is humour and what more, he is never afraid of speaking the truth. He still calls Pakistani pace bowler Shoaib Akthar and Sri Lankan off- spinner Muttiah Muralitharan javelin throwers.
“I believe in clean action. I belong to traditional cricket. I don’t believe in 15 degrees of all such nonsense,’’ quips Bedi who is in the city as the cricket manager of the Jammu & Kashmir Ranji team. His favourite cricketers are none than the late Ghulam Ahmed and ML Jaisimha. “To me, Ghulam Saheb and Mili Litre Jai were giants of the game.
They were very lovable people. Ghulam Saheb was chairman of the selection committee also and secretary of the board when I was the captain of the Indian team. Whenever I talk about Ghulam Saheb, I get goose bumps. He never talked ill of others. He was a great administrator. Jai, on the other hand, had a brilliant brain. I believe whenever Rahul Dravid used to come, he used to meet Jai, whose house was open to cricketers,’’ he recalls.
Surprise of all surprises.
Of the three stylish Hyderabadi batsmen, Jaisimha, Mohammad Azharuddin and VVS Laxman, whom would he pick? Bedi without hesitation replies, “VVS. I would put VVS higher. He is the best of the lot for his consistency.’’ The wristy elegance, according to Bedi, is the tradition of Hyderabad batsmen which is passed down the generations.
Bedi says he is enjoying his new stint as manager for the Jammu & Kashmir team. “I’m enjoying. We need to improve with our cricketing acumen. The team is not exposed to four-day cricket and we need more exposure in Jammu and Srinagar. We need more infrastructure.
But the youngsters are keen and competitive. They had promise always but they had just been participating. I would like to see them compete and not just participate,’’ he explains. Bedi says he is not their coach. “One thing, I’m not a coach. It is a misnomer. You don’t coach adults, you coach under-14 or under-16 cricketers. I’m a cricket manager. Talk cricket to them, motivate them. I’m one of them. I’m still learning. I’m very happy that Sunil Joshi is in Hyderabad. He is a fine cricketer,’’ he adds. The former Indian captain believes cricket is coming up all over the country. “The interest in cricket is huge at all levels.
Out of this quantity will emerge quality. That is the way I look at it. We don’t have a system as such which will throw up champions. Champions will emerge on their own as did Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman, Kumble, Kapil, Gavaskar and Vishwanath. They had come on their own. They had fire in their belly, ” he points out.