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Brothers in arms


Murali vs Bedi

Bedi had once mentioned, “I think every team has at least 2-3 chuckers. It makes me sick to see somebody bowling a dart ball at 90 km per hour and running around the ground in celebration. (Upcoming) Spinners have some role models. If you get rid of these, you’ll get a clean action. We need to take collective responsibility to eradicate the ills of the game”.

Apparently Murali seemed to have waited for years as well as his record to lash back by referring to Bedi as a controversy monger and an ordinary bowler who would have been hammered by any batsman if he was playing now.


We thought of actually making play Bedi in Murali's generation and with all the privileges that Murali had. Probably this could give some peace of mind to both.

Also to keep the comparison more healthy, we decided to keep performances against weaker teams like Bangladesh and Zimbabwe out of the equation. Nobody gets to complain.

To bring them on same platform, purely for comparison, we had to reduce Murali's career to 12 years something, which is the length of Bedi’s career. Murali managed 425 wickets under this criteria while the alleged "ordinary bowler" Bedi had managed only 266 wickets.

However, the difference between the standards of the generations both played in cannot be ignored in such comparisons. Almost everything, from the run rates in test matches to strike rates of the players, had changed. 

If Bedi's figures are made to adjust statistically to the difference, results take the "controversy monger" to interesting 300 wickets. Still short by a huge margin to Murali's 425 wickets.

Now, of course the difference in amount of cricket played these days also has to be considered. In fact, the statistics show that Indian board manages to sneak 100 test matches now days instead of 75 matches that it managed in the same time during Bedi's career. In the light of the fact that we now have lots of ODI's and even T20I's in the mix and the fact that BCCI is minting money, amazing!

So this difference adds another 22 matches to Bedi (taking his tally to 89 matches now) and with it, 54 more wickets. The comparison now stands at 354:425. Bedi still looks like he would be hammered in today's generation of cricket. Or so believes Murali.

No wait! As far as my memories with watching Sri Lankan games go, one can hardly see Murali out of action. Statistics say that captain prefers him to bowl 33% of the team's deliveries. That's a considerable exposure to wicket taking possibilities. If Bedi was given this level of exposure, he jumps up another 69 wickets! Brings the comparison now to 423:425!

And we have not yet started debating on how ICC made an exception in accepting Murali's bowling action. Guess we don't need to now.

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