Born in Amritsar on Sept. 25, 1946, Bedi was part of the famous Indian spin quartet with Bhagwath Chandrasekhar, Erapalli Prasanna and Srinivas Venkataraghavan in the 1970s.
Bedi earned his 266 wickets in 67 test matches, at an average of 28.71, with best innings figures of 7-98 and best match figures of 10-194. His last test match was against England at the Oval in 1979. At the time of his retirement, he was India’s leading wicket-taker before being overtaken by Kapil Dev a few years later. He averaged under nine runs in tests as a right-handed batter but had a highest score of 50 not out.
He played only 10 ODIs between 1974-79, picking up seven wickets.
The orthodox spinner took 1,560 first-class wickets — the most by any Indian bowler ever — playing for various teams including Delhi and Northern Punjab in India and Northamptonshire in England.
He is survived by his wife and two children.
India Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the tributes, saying on X: “His passion for the sport was unwavering and his exemplary bowling performances led India to numerous memorable victories.
“He will continue to inspire future generations of cricketers. Condolences to his family and admirers.”
Bedi made his test debut against West Indies on the last day of 1966, and took 21 wickets in a home test series against Australia at the end of 1969. He kept on troubling major test playing nations before eventually succeeding Mansoor Ali Khan as India skipper in 1976. His first win as test captain came at Port-of-Spain when India reached 406-4 in a historic chase. He led India 22 times in total, winning six of them.
Geoff Allardice, chief executive of the International Cricket Council, said Bedi was one of the masters of flight and turn.
“I would like to extend heartfelt condolences from everyone at the ICC to the family of one of the greats of the game and one whose exploits in test cricket will be remembered for a long time,” Allardice said. “He was the kind of spinner who could excel in different conditions and would have been one of the greats in any era.”
Known for wearing colorful patkas and a graceful delivery hiding devastating variety, Bedi was outspoken on the field and often got embroiled in controversies.
In 1976 he declared India’s second innings early at Kingston to protest hostile bowling by Caribbean fast bowlers. With three Indian batters already out of the game after being hit by West Indies pacers, Bedi claimed there weren’t enough fit players available to come out and bat. West Indies eventually won the test match by 10 wickets.
Bedi also criticized Sri Lanka spin great Muttiah Muralitharan for his bowling action. He refused to compete in Kerry Packer’s lucrative World Series Cricket in 1978 and claimed that he was approached by the rebel cricket league.
But his love for the game was clear, even when on the receiving end. Cricinfo.com website said Bedi “often applauded batters when they hit him for six.”