By Amlan Chakraborty
NEW DELHI (Reuters) -Spin great and former India captain Bishan Singh Bedi died on Monday prompting many tributes from his admirers from across the cricketing world.
Bedi, who had been unwell for the last couple years, was 77.
“His passion for the sport was unwavering and his exemplary bowling performances led India to numerous memorable victories,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
“He will continue to inspire future generations of cricketers.”
Known for his guile on the pitch and blunt views off it, Bedi played 67 tests between 1967 and 1979 and was India’s highest wicket-taker with 266 victim at the time of his retirement.
The chubby, turbaned bowler was part of India’s famous spin quartet that also included leg-spinner Bhagwat Chandrasekhar and off-spinners Srinivas Venkataraghavan and Erapalli Prasanna.
He also led India in 22 tests and famously declared their second innings at Kingston protesting what he called “intimidatory bowling” by the West Indians in 1976.
Bedi went on to coach India as well and threatened to “dump the team into the sea” after poor results in 1990.
Even as a commentator, Bedi continued to rail against spinners with dodgy bowling action and called chucking a bigger threat than illegal betting.
“Indian cricket has lost an icon today,” Board of Control for Cricket in India secretary Jay Shah wrote on X.
“Bedi Sir defined an era of cricket and he left an indelible mark on the game with his artistry as a spin bowler and his impeccable character.”
Former India players Gautam Gambhir, Irfan Pathan and commentator Harsha Bhogle also took to social media to mourn the cricketer’s death.
Bedi also fought for transparency in cricket administration.
“He was a great cricketer and an even greater human being,” said historian Ramchandra Guha.
“He was a moral beacon for all those who knew him.”
(Additional reporting by Aadi Nair; Editing by Christian Radnedge)