Bishan Singh Bedi, former Indian captain has written to Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) president Rohan Jaitley, asking for the removal of his name from a stand at the Feroz Shah Kotla after coming to know about plans to install a statue of Rohan’s father and former head of the state association, Arun Jaitley, at the stadium. Bedi and Jaitley had their differences during the latter’s lifetime with the legendary spinner alleging corruption and misappropriation of funds during his tenure at the helm of DDCA.
“After the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium was named hurriedly and most undeservingly after Late Arun Jaitley, my reaction then was maybe somehow good sense might prevail to keep Kotla sacrosanct. How wrong I was. I now gather a statue of Late Arun Jaitley is going to be installed at the Kotla. I pride myself as a man of immense tolerance and patience but DDCA has truly tested me and forced me to take this drastic action,” Bedi wrote. “So Mr President, I request you to remove my name from the stand that was named after me with immediate effect. I also hereby renounce my DDCA membership… A mere google search would have helped to know that Late Arun Jaitley’s tenure at DDCA was riddled with corruption. He might have been a good cricket fan too, but his dalliance with cricket administration was dubious and left much to be desired. This is not a rhetorical assessment but a factual appraisal of his time at DDCA. Take my word, failures don’t need to be celebrated with plaques & busts. They need to be forgotten.” He added. Taking a dig at the “DDCA’s court culture of fawning obeisance”, Bedi described himself as “too headstrong … too Old school … & too proud an Indian cricketer to be co-opted into the corrupt darbar of sycophants Arun Jaitley mustered at the Kotla during his stewardship… While stressing that it wasn’t his intention to talk ill of the dead, Bedi said he had to stick to his principles. “I was not raised to carry on a fight to the next generation but then I was also taught, and I firmly believe, to stick to the stand I take,” Bedi wrote. According to Indian Express, there were plans to install a statue of his father at Kotla, DDCA president Rohan said, “That is something which (Bedi is doing) according to his will. I can’t stop something (him). Right now, there is a proposal in the pipeline (for the statue) that other board members have taken. And whenever there is an appropriate announcement to be made, we will make it. I have not been a signatory to the resolution of this nature because it is a conflict also.”
“It’s WG Grace and not some former president whose statue is at Lord’s. There’s also Sir Garry Sobers at Barbados and Sir Don Bradman at SCG, Shane Warne at MCG. The list is endless. So when kids walk to these stadiums, these majestic statues enhance and enliven the inspiring stories of these past heroes that their elders tell them. Sporting arenas need sporting role models. The place of administrators is only in their glass cabins,” Bedi said. Bishan Singh Bedi was a great cricketer and represented Delhi from 1968 to 1981 and during his tenure, the Delhi Cricket Team matched Bombay’s superiority when it came to the Ranji Trophy. The Delhi vs Bombay rivalry in the 70s was considered the peak of brilliance in domestic cricket as it pitted Sunil Gavaskar and Bishan Singh Bedi, two of the greats of Indian cricket. From 1976 to 1981, Delhi were part of five Ranji Trophy finals.