Bishen Bedi is happy to get a forum to rant, rave or just plain show up and be seen. The few people that still want to listen to this bloated egomaniac include Vinod Mehta and Barkha Dutt.
Mr. Bedi is grateful for his moment in the spotlight. Barkha, he declares is a person of “substantial intellect and compassion” and is “knowledgable and articulate”. Huh? He also classifies some of the guests in her programme as ignorant and arrogant. Let’s not go with Mr. Bedi’s peculiar choice of words here. I insist on calling a spade a spade (not a shovel) and slot Mr. Bedi in the ranks of precisely those- ignorant and arrogant.
In Mr. Bedi’s view, “with IPL, cricket has reached its nadir”. Mr. Bedi barely tolerated one day cricket played over 50 overs for so long but now obviously he has had enough. Publicly expressed sentiments of several top-flight cricketers who proclaim the improvements in their techniques and aggressiveness to the pressures of playing T20 cricket obviously do not matter to him. Why must only cricket played over 5 days be called cricket? What about cricket played over 3 days or 4? Perhaps Mr. Bedi pictures himself facing Kevin Pietersen or Sehwag in a rival team in the T20 format and does not like what he sees.
At least on the matter of cricket, Mr Bedi has some knowledge even if he allows his judgment to get clouded many times. Calling Murali a chucker or worse is just one example of gratuituous insult peddling that is so typical of Bedi. Mr Bedi has zero knowledge of security matters. He is sitting in relative anonymity of Delhi, under no threat whatsoever compared with what some of the current players are exposed to. Yet, voices of the current players have been vocal in support of IPL while Mr. Bedi rants about constant fear of terror attacks from Hindutva groups and Islamic terrorists.
I am not taking a stand either for or against IPL. It is a fairly complex endevour even in normal times. Experts will need to be involved and they need to bring their issues and fears on the table and pull together resources to solve them. If in the opinion of those experts, IPL needs to be rescheduled or cancelled, so be it. Taking recourse to lurid prose like “terror clouds are hovering over the subcontinent” can’t substitute for logic or reason. Taking advantage of Vinod Mehta’s desire to stir up controversy to help sell copies of his magazine to run down someone who he claims was once a friend reflects more on Bedi than Bindra.
After a lifetime of playing cricket and coaching (not very successfully unless you count tips handed out to visiting spinners), Bishen Bedi has very few friends in the game.