Tribute to Tiger Patudi
Syed Ali Mujtaba
I really did not know Mansur Ali Khan Patudi personally, the legendry cricketer who passed away on September 22, 2011 in New Delhi. I was following the news of his illness in the media all along and today when it was announced that he is no more, I felt strongly for him.
This was because I have been reading hearing, watching him since I have started following the game of cricket. Patudi came from aristocratic family who played cricket for the love of the game. He was also known as Tiger Pataudi and Nawab Pataudi.
Pataudi, was the ninth and the last Nawab of Bhopal when India abolished royal entitlements. His father Iftikhar Ali Khan Patudi too played cricket for British India.He lost his father at a young age of 11.With his demise, comes an end to an era of aristocrat cricketers in this country.
Pataudi suffered a setback at the age of 20 years, when he lost the vision of his right eye after a car crash in England. However, his steely resolve made him make his international debut against England in Delhi, in December, 1961. He became the youngest player to captain India in a Test (at 21 years 77 days v West Indies at Bridgetown in 1961-62)
Pataudi retired from international cricket in 1975 after playing 46 Test matches and scored 2,793 runs including six hundreds at an average of 34.91. He led the country in 40 of his 46 Tests and guided the team to nine wins and was easily the greatest captain ever.
During his stint as captain, Pataudi married actress Sharmila Tagore in 1969. The unconventional marriage was much talked about in the media and his popularity soar high.
When ever any one talked about cricketers, Tiger Patudi’s name surfaced for his looks, style and grace. There was some thing unique about his personality.
He outshines many film stars in looks and grace. I use to see him Gwaliar suiting ads. Later, I saw him in few car ads too. The last ad I remember was of ‘lays’ where he was with his son Saif.
As a student at AMU Aligarh, I use to play cricket for “VM Hall.” At the cricket ground I remember seeing Patudi’s photographs adorning the walls of the Cricket gallery there. I am told he had visited there many times.
Many years later as a journalist in Hyderabad, I played cricket for the press club of Hyderabad. I heard stories of Tiger Patudi who use to visit H yderabad during Moin-u-dullah cup.
A journalist told me there that Patudi was a charming personality and had sponsored coke and beer for both the teams after one of the matches.
Many people whom i had conversation on cricket told me that they went to see a test match India played only to watch the Nawab of Patudi in action. I am sure every one will agree that he was a cricketer par excellence.
Even though Patudi may have left us for heavenly abode,his iconic persona will be remembered as long as cricket is being played in India.
Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org