Former India cricketer Bishan Singh Bedi has written a scathing letter against the Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA) for its decision to erect a statue of late BJP leader Arun Jaitley.
The legendary spinner has asked the DDCA to remove his name from the stands of the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium and also renounced his membership from the association.
The stadium at the national capital was renamed from Feroze Shah Kotla Stadium to Arun Jaitley Stadium soon after his death on August 24 last year. Bedi has quoted this as one of the main reasons for his dissatisfaction.
“I pride myself as a man of immense tolerance and patience, but all that, I’m afraid, is running out. DDCA has truly tested me and forced me to take this drastic action. So, Mr President, I request you to remove my name from the stand named after me with immediate effect. Also, I hereby renounce my DDCA membership. I’ve taken this decision with sufficient deliberations,” Bedi, 74, wrote in an 841-word long letter emailed to Rohan late on Tuesday night, and now made public.
“Late Arun Jaitley, I’m told, was an able politician. So, it’s the Parliament and not a cricket stadium which needs to remember him for posterity. 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 the DDCA. Take my word, failures don’t need to be celebrated with plaques and busts. They need to be forgotten,” Bedi wrote in the letter.
Bringing the attention of Rohan Jaitley, the DDCA president and son of late Arun Jaitley, Bedi said that statues at stadiums are generally installed of legendary players and not administrators.
“Mr President, if ever you get to travel to the cricket stadiums around the world you will find how aesthetically-challenged Kotla is and how it lacks the grandeur of a Test centre. You need to be educated that sports administrators don’t need to be self-serving. People who surround you presently will never inform you that it’s (the statues of) WG Grace at Lord’s, Sir Jack Hobbs at the Oval (London), Sir Donald Bradman at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Sir Garfield Sobers at Barbados, and Shane Warne of recent vintage at the Melbourne Cricket Ground that adorn their cricket stadia, with the ‘Spirit of Cricket’ never out of place,” he said.
“So, when the kids walk into these stadiums these majestic statues/busts enhance and enliven the inspiring stories of these past heroes that their elders tell them. Sporting arenas need sporting role models. The place of the administrators is in their glass cabins.”
Bedi, who has always been a vocal critic of alleged corruption in DDCA’s mechanisms, said that since the association didn’t understand thd “universal cricket culture”, he wanted to walk out of it.
“I can’t be part of a stadium which has got its priorities so grossly wrong and where administrators get precedence over cricketers. Please bring down my name from the stand with immediate effect. You needn’t worry about me or my legacy. God Almighty has been very kind to me to keep me alive with my cricketing convictions. I don’t wish my strength of character to be maligned by my silence or association to this unsporting act,” the former Indian captain said.