Tiger Pataudi dies after battling lung infection
India's cricket legend Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, known for his
swashbuckling style on and off the cricket field, died here
Thursday after battling a lung infection for about a month. He was
Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi was the most
admired India cricket captain. He led the country in 40 of his 46
Tests he played and most players who played with him insist that
he was easily the greatest captain ever. He was a prince among
Popularly known as Tiger, Pataudi was the first captain to make
players of his generation feel they were no inferior to anyone in
the world cricket. His teammates, who were divided and identified
on regional lines, were made to realise that they were
representing their country and not their linguistic states. He
made them speak only in Hindustani, if not English. He drilled
into their minds that they could beat any team if they played for
each other and that bonding did wonders for Indian cricket. Under
his captaincy the first Test victory overseas was achieved in New
Zealand in 1967-68.
Captaincy was thrust on him at a tender age of 21 in difficult
circumstances when captain Nari Contractor was felled by lethal
bouncer on the 1961-62 tour of West Indies. He himself was
recovering and getting adjusted to a vision impairment in his
right eye after a car accident in England.
He was the first captain to seriously believe that India could
take the world on with its mesmerising spinners when you don't
have real fast bowlers. For the next decade or so, Indian went
into Tests with three spinners and it worked wonderfully well.
Bishan Bedi and Erapalli Prasanna are never tired of narrating how
well they felt bowling under his captaincy.
A dashing batsman, he made a virtue of hitting even express fast
bowlers over the infield. He was a brilliant fielder to boot. He
gave a terrific chase if he thought he could retrieve the ball and
never bothered to waste energy by escorting a ball to the
boundary. All this with one perfect eye and a partial vision in
the other. If only he had complete sight he could have been a
He made his Test debut in 1961 soon after his car mishap and that
did not prevent him from scoring a century in his first Test
against Australia to emulate his father Nawab Iftikhar Ali Khan
Pataudi playing for England. The senior Pataudi captained India on
their tour of England in 1946, barely 16 years before his son got
into the hot seat.
He made his Ranji Trophy debut for Delhi, but soon realised he had
got into a snake pit and soon shifted to Hyderabad, where he was
more at home playing in the company of and under the captaincy of
M.L. Jaismiha, one of the greatest strategists never to have lead
India, fellow-Oxonian Abbas Ali Baig and Syed Abis Ali, who were
all his India teammates. He also captained Oxford and English
After his playing days were over, he briefly dabbled in politics,
contesting 1971 election to the Lok Sabha, more to protest against
the abolition of privy purses. He was also Indian team's cricket
manager in 1974-75 and acted as an International Cricket Council (ICC)
match referee. He was also on the general council of the Indian
Premier League (IPL), but he clearly did not relish these jobs.
He could have easily been a great commentator with his insight,
but could not carry on for long. He always spoke his mind out and
never minced words when it came to the interest of Indian cricket.
He did enough to make his presence felt both on and off the