Harpal Singh Bedi
I can’t be part of the stadium that has got its priorities so wrong and where administrators get precedence over the cricketers. Please bring down my name from the stand with immediate effect… I don’t want my legacy to be maligned by my silence or association to this unsporting act. Bishan Singh Bedi on the decision to install the statue of former president of Delhi District Cricket Association, Arun Jaitley, at the stadium (Arun Jaitley Stadium formerly known as Feroz Shah Kotla Ground)
New Delhi: Former India captain Bishan Singh Bedi on Wednesday 23 December 2020 announced that he has quit the Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA) and asked the committee to remove his name from the stadium stand with immediate effect .
Bedi, a former DDCA sports secretary, took this decision to protest the decision to install the statue of former president of the association, Arun Jaitley, at the stadium.
Two stands at the Kotla were named after Bedi and Mohinder Amarnath in 2017 to recognise their contribution to Indian, and Delhi cricket.
Arun Jaitley was DDCA president for 14 years, from 1999 to 2013, before quitting cricket administration. The association plans to have a six-foot statue of him installed at the Kotla to honour his memory.
The legendary spinner in a scathing letter to DDCA president Rohan Jaitely wrote “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’m not at all enamoured with the thought of a statue of coming up ” Bedi said since the late administrator was primarily a politician, it’s the Parliament which needs to “remember him for posterity.”
The former Delhi captain pointed out that in almost every great cricket venue around the world, it’s eminent players who are honoured with statues, busts and stands named after them.
“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. There was no stopping Bedi as he said: “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.”
Admitting that he was never a fan of Arun Jaitley’s working style and always opposed any decision that he did not agree with. “My reservations about the choice of people he hand-picked to run the day to day affairs of DDCA is well known. I remember walking out from a meeting at his residence when he was unable to throw out a rowdy element using terribly foul language.
Asserting that he was not talking 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.
“I’ve taken this decision with sufficient deliberations. I’m not prone to disregard the honour that was bestowed upon me. But as we all know with honour comes responsibility. They feted me for the total respect and integrity with which I played the game.
And now I’m returning the honour just to assure them all that four decades after my retirement, I still retain those values.”
Since DDCA doesn’t understand this universal sporting culture, I need to walk out of it. I can’t be part of the stadium that has got its priorities so wrong and where administrators get precedence over the cricketers. Please bring down my name from the stand with immediate effect… I don’t want my legacy to be maligned by my silence or association to this unsporting act’ He wrote. He also had a word of advice for DDCA president. “These are the ills of nepotism – you get blamed for decisions you weren’t part of and you can’t even give the excuse of absence.”
“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… . Take my word, failures don’t need to be celebrated with plaques & busts. They need to be forgotten.”