Tributes contiinue to pour in for Bishan Singh Bedi, former India captain, who passed away today at the age of 77. Bedi played 67 Tests and 10 ODIs picking up a total of 273 wickets at the international level. He picked up a mammoth 1560 wickets in first-class cricket in 370 matches and was known for taking some strict decisions, one of them was conceding an ODI to arch-rivals Pakistan in 1978 when he was fuming with the umpires showing bias towards the home team.
It was the deciding ODI of the three-match series as India and Pakistan locked horns in Sahiwal on November 3, 1978. Batting first, Pakistan scored 205 runs for the loss of seven wickets in the clash reduced to 40 overs per side. Asif Iqbal was the top-scorer for Pakistan with a 62-run knock in 72 balls while opener Majid Khan also did well to muster 37 runs during his time in the middle. For the India, the trio of Kapil Dev, Srinivas Venkatraghavan and Mohinder Amarnath shared six wickets equally between them.
In response, India were well placed at 183/2 after 37 overs at one stage with 23 needed from last three overs. Anshuman Gaekwad was not out on 78 while Surinder Amarnath had got out after scoring 62 runs. Pakistan had Sarfaraz Nawaz left with two overs while Imran Khan was left with one over. This is when Pakistan began with their short ball strategy. Sarfaraz ran in and bowled a bouncer way high over the batsman. But the umpire didn’t call it a wide. May be it was a one-off error in judgement from the umpires.
The second ball happened the same, the third ball and when the fourth ball went above the six feet tall batter Gaekwad and even that wasn’t called a wide, the then Indian captain fumed. The Pakistani umpires were obviously helping the home team achieve their goal by not calling deliveries wide despite being so high.
Bedi looked at the way things were panning in the middle and deciding to call his batter back eventually conceding the match that was literally reduced to a farce by then. This was the first instance of a captain conceding an ODI to the oppsition team. While Pakistan went on to win the series, Sahiwal never hosted an international cricket match again. Pakistan won the series 2-1 due to their tactics but Bedi’s brave actions hogged the limelight throughout. Moreover, this incident also put an end to having the umpires from host nation in ODIs.