Ghar ka ‘Bedi’ Lanka dhaaye!
The war of words between Sri Lankan Muttiah Muralitharan and veteran Indian spinner Bishen Singh Bedi made top headlines lately.
Muralitharan, who took all the limelight of cricketing world during last few days, courtesy a fairy-tale retirement, was in the thick of things.
Murali, who is always perceived as ever smiling and gentle, this time had a tough ‘doosra’ take on Bishen Singh Bedi, the one person who has always been an ardent critic of the spin wizard from Lanka.
Muralitharan called Bedi an ‘ordinary bowler’ and even termed him as a ‘controversy monger’. And if that was not enough, Murali further said that if Bedi was born in the present era, he would have been taken for plenty by batsmen all around the globe.
In response as expected by ever-so-vocal Bishen paaji, he called Murali a ‘chucker, chucker, chucker’ and this vicious-
chakkar (circle) of criticizing, condemning and attacking each other with verbal blows continues.
I’ve heard that these verbal ripostes between the two are not going well with Bishen Singh Bedi as he has now alleged Murali for ‘throwing’ controversy on him!
Anyways, the question is not what Bishen Bedi thinks of Murali because he being ‘Mahesh Bhatt of cricket fraternity’ has all the right to have his unique take on everything.
The big picture is that the ICC have cleared Murali’s bowling action and any action which does not breach ICC’s ‘degree of tolerance’, where tolerance is calculated in terms of degrees and not individual’s opinion, is fair, valid and 100% legitimate.
A look at present days’ bowlers will reveal that in times of video footages and camera recordings, the classical action bowler has no longer remained a serious threat. It is the ‘mysterious element’ of a bowler today which makes him deceptive and successful.
For instance, after the first Test of the current India-Sri Lankan series where unorthodox action-ed ‘Murali-Malinga combo’ took 15 of 20 Indian wickets and produced a result, the second Test saw ‘classical action’ bowlers like Pragyan Ojha, Suraj Randiv and Rangana Herath going for over 200-runs each in an innings!
With time, the game of cricket has changed and the need of the hour calls for the support of ‘different’ bowlers. Someone who can bowl with misleading wrists, slinging arms, tweaked finger-release and what not to balance this already batting-heavy game of Cricket!
Amongst all countries, Sri Lanka has always been the biggest supporter for ‘bowlers with a difference’ and the success story of Muttiah Muralitharan, Lasith Malinga and Ajantha Mendis says it all.
Saeed Ajmal and Sohail Tanvir are some names from Pakistan who have done exceptionally well with a deceiving action then why should India not develop and support young talents with unusual wrist or bowling action?
India’s dearth of bowling depth is well exposed today. The regulars in the team have been made to look pedestrian and the quality of reserves can send shivers down your spine!
Indian bowlers today lack ‘sting’ and it is this component that has always been compromised with traditional coaching of ‘line, length and clear action’. Thus, the ‘different’ natural abilities are nipped in bud and we have ‘straight from the coaching manual’- a front chest, high-armed action bowler ready to be taken to task by attacking batters all round.
Agreed, some like Bedi and Maninder Singh will never be convinced but does their ‘fundamental right of expressing opinion’ really matter to the changing game of cricket?
Perhaps, the time has come when it’s important to change our mindset and get on with dynamic trends in the competitive nature of the game.
Remember, it is ICC who has to decide the legality of the action and not a ‘Khap-panchayat’ of former cricketers!