Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi : The Tiger Passes Away

Mansur Ali Khan 'Tiger' Pataudi: Jan 5, 1941 — Sep 22, 2011

I still can't believe that Tiger - Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi is no more and I will always wonder what a batsman he would have been had both of his eyes. It would have been impossible for any other batsman in the world to play 41 test matches without having an eye. And what a fielder in cover region! Yeah! He was a true sportsman. He proved the power of India by bagging the first win over New Zealand which was very convincing. He was a real tiger. Cricket was in the family and His reflexes were sharp and his fielding quick-silver.

I salute to Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi. A true sports man tiger. A great cricket hero who contributed a lot to Indian cricket. He brought a fresh invigorating style into Indian cricket. Who can forget his lofted shots and quick silver fielding in the covers.

Yeah! Friends, "The Tiger" - Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi passes away on 22nd September, 2011.

‘Tiger’, as Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi was often called, was the son of Iftikhar Ali Khan Pataudi, who had the distinction of playing Test cricket for England and India. Born into royalty, Mansur Ali Khan was the ninth and final Nawab of Pataudi, a princely state which merged into India in 1947.

Cricket was in the family. Pataudi Senior made a hundred on Test debut for England before his playing days prematurely ended when he opposed his captain Douglas Jardine’s tactics in the 1932 Bodyline series. He later captained India before he passed away on his son’s 11th birthday in 1952. It is said Pataudi Senior had asked bat-makers Gunn and Moore to manufacture a small-sized bat for his son, who was five at the time. Gunn and Moore didn't make bats for kids, but they agreed to make a special one for the boy who would be India's youngest Test captain at the age of 21.

Pataudi, an Oxford alumnus, went on to play 46 Tests for India, and was captain in 40. This makes him and Iftikhar the only father-and-son duo to captain India. Pataudi realized spin was India’s strength and he built upon it. He’d often play three spinners in the side. This is best reflected in the fact that Bishan Singh Bedi, Erapalli Prasanna and S Venkataraghavan all had better averages and strike-rates under Pataudi.

Pataudi was an attacking batsman. After his schooling in Dehradun, he went to Winchester College, where he made over 2,000 runs in a season. It helped him that his coach George Cox was also an aggressive stroke-maker and encouraged Pataudi’s style of play. At a time when keeping the ball along the ground was batsmen's mantra, Pataudi loved his lofted drives. His reflexes were sharp and his fielding quick-silver.

In 1960, he made 131 for Sussex against Cambridge at Lord’s. He was Oxford’s captain the next year, becoming the first Indian to receive the honour. This is the time he was involved in a car accident near Brighton beach and lost vision in his right eye.

Pataudi played his last Test in 1974 — as captain — and made 9 and 9 against the West Indies at the Brabourne Stadium, a game India lost and surrendered a tightly-fought series 2-3. He also won the Arjuna Award on 1964 and Padma Shri in 1967. Pataudi, 70, breathed his last today at a New Delhi hospital after a prolonged infection of his lungs. He is survived by wife, former actress Sharmila Tagore, son Saif Ali Khan, and daughters Soha and Saba.

Today, the Hero of Indian Cricket is no more. Live in peace…my beloved hero!!!

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