Bishan Singh Bedi pays tribute to fellow left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori

Spin legend Bishan Singh Bedi pays tribute to fellow left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori, who announced his retirement from international cricket yesterday

Daniel Vettori has been such a beautiful servant of New Zealand cricket in his 18-year international career. This is what I call service to cricket. He has timed his retirement right.

Daniel Vettori. Pic:AP/PTI
Daniel Vettori. Pic:AP/PTI  

I can't forget our first meeting. It was in Delhi before the India vs New Zealand one-dayer in 1999 at the Kotla. I happened to be at the ground and we had a chat. His question to me was, how would you bowl to Sachin Tendulkar.

And I said, 'bowl to get him out.' Sachin in his prime really created panic among the opposition.

I said to Vettori that many great players are of small size — Don Bradman, Hanif Mohammad, Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar and I feel Sachin is potentially a good caught-and-bowled material — 'you just have to toss it up and ensure he comes out and gets into your bait. At the same time, be prepared because he could come hard at you. You must believe that you can get him out.'

I didn't see the game because I had to attend to some domestic chores. Next day, I read the newspaper… Sachin Tendulkar caught and bowled Vettori 0. I am told that he dismissed Sourav Ganguly as well. Sometimes, things just click.

High regard
I have always had high regard for this cricketer. Vettori represented cricket in its best form. This is how the game should be played — with humility, dignity and grace.

Bishan Singh Bedi
Bishan Singh Bedi 

There was no jumping and bouncing around when he took that stunning, one-handed catch to dismiss West Indies' Marlon Samuels in the World Cup quarter-final at Wellington. I liked his attitude, his willingness to learn. He was a good listener – very thoughtful young man and not prone to the brashness we associate with today's youth.

I loved his action — nice and clean. I wish I spent more time with him. He played all forms of the game with the same flair. He also captained New Zealand without prancing around. He's my kind of cricketer. I would like to wish him all the very best in his retirement.

As told to Clayton Murzello 

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