RAJESH KUMAR - Cricket Statisticians
Bishan - Portrait of a cricketer

Bishan - Portrait of a cricketer
by Suresh Menon
Foreword by Anil Kumble

Published by:
Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd.
11, Community Centre, Panchsheel Park,
New Delhi 110 017
website: www.penguinbooksindia.com

Varun Chaudhary (Manager, Marketing)

Bishan Singh Bedi's portrait by Suresh Menon is a remarkable account of an astonishing character - a true cricketing great whose zest and passion for the game remain undiminished. Menon brings to life one of the most colourful personalities of Indian cricket.

Bedi is full of praise for late Nawab of Pataudi's leadership and said Pataudi always encouraged youngsters. "I was not in the 15 when I was taken in the team for the Calcutta Test against the West Indies in 1966-67", Bedi recalled. The first Test Bedi played was also the first Test he watched.

In a glittering Test creer, Bedi went on to play 67 Tests, claiming 266 wickets at an average of 28.71. His tally included 14 instances of five wickets in an innings and once instance of ten wickets in a Test match.

After his retirement, "Bedi has remained involved with cricket as columnist, commentator, coach, national selector and national coach. He is conscience-keeper, quote-provider and exposer of dirt under the carpet in cricket", wrote Suresh Menon.

"In all these roles - except perhaps as coach - Bedi was controversial, partly because he raised uncomfortable questions, partly because he always spoke his mind, and often because it was part of his image and he couldn't live it down. The same media of which he was a part found creative ways to interpret the most straightforward of his statements, giving them twists that made for interesting viewing or reading. Those versions were accepted as the truth because that was the public image of the man,."

Anil Kumble, in his Foreword, has paid rich tribute to Bishan Singh Bedi: "Bedi is unique. As a cricketer, as a person and as one of the most pleasing sights you can hope to see at the bowling crease. Bedi was, and remains, a treasure chest of knowledge, and expresses his opinions with stunning honesty. If you sit with him for a session, however brief and informal, you can then go about talking cricket. He is a university on the game. It is part of his charm that he is not even remotely diplomatic; his heart is in the right place through, and that's what matters."

The final chapter poses the question: 'Is Bishan Bedi the greatest left-arm spinner to have played the game - greater than Wilfred Rhodes, Colin Blythe and Hedley Verity? Read this interesting book so that you make up your own mind. "What can be said with certainty, however, it that it is unlikely that, in the history of the game, there was a spin bowler who gave as much pleasure from the sheer smoothness and visual beauty of his bowling action as Bedi did. He was as capable of deceiving Victor Trupher in the air and getting him stumped as Rhodes was of getting Viv Richards caught at slip. One of the joys of cricket is the hours that can be spent in idle speculation with such thoughts."