Remembering Nawab Mansur Ali Khan -'Tiger' Pataudi
by Arshad Chughtai

Player:MAK Pataudi

DateLine: 11th October 2011


Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, one of India's most charismatic cricketers and the man who gave Indian cricket a new lease of life and helped renew their confidence in the early 1960’s died, at the age of 70, in New Delhi on 22nd September 2011.


Nawab Mansur Ali Khan, nick named, 'Tiger' Captained India in 40 of the 46 Tests he played (1961-1975), scoring 2793 runs (Average 34.90), with six hundreds and 16 fifties. He had also captained Sussex and Oxford University. He was chosen as Wisden’s Cricketer of the Year 1968. He was an agile fielder and held 27 catches.


Such was his courage and bravery that despite losing an eye in a car crash in England in 1961, he still continued to play cricket with only one left eye.


Late Pataudi remained Test Crickets' youngest-ever captain until Tatenda Taibu took over Zimbabwe's captaincy in May 2004. At the time Pataudi created the record, he was 21 years and 77 days old. He was assigned India's captaincy against West Indies at Bridgetown, Barbados on 23rd March 1962.replacing Nari Contractor who had suffered a skull fracture in the previous match. Pataudi went on to lead India in 39 more tests out of which his team won 9.


Here, it may be mentioned, that Pataudi's appointment as India's Captain, during the tour to West Indies, had perhaps prompted BCCP in Pakistan to appoint Javed Burki, another Oxford Blue, to lead the Pakistan team to England the same summer. Ironically, while in Pataudi case India had discovered a new and astute leader Pakistan's experiment in Javed Burki’s case proved a gross failure.


Pataudi secured his country's first series victory away from home against New Zealand (3-1) in 1967-68. Interestingly, he also shares a unique record of having won every toss in a five match series (Vs England in 1963-64).


When Pataudi commenced his Test career, India ranked at the bottom in the World Cricket table. They had been whitewashed by England in 1959, routed by West Indies (3-0 in 1958-59), outplayed by Australia (2-1 in 1959-60) and had drawn a dull and spiritless series against Pakistan in 1960-61.


It was Tiger Pataudi's performance against the visiting MCC Team in 1961-62 which changed their fortunes. The Nawab scored 64 in India’s first Innings at Calcutta (Kolkata) and India went on to clinch the Test by 187 runs. In the next, fifth and final Test of the series at Madras (Chennai) he notched up 128 and India won by identical margin and also ultimately the series (2-0).


Pataudi made his highest score of 203 not out against Colin Cowdrey's visiting MCC team at New Delhi in 1963-64. In the next series against Australia he scored a brilliant unbeaten 128 at Madras followed by match-winning knocks of 80 & 53 at Bombay (Mumbai), India won the encounter by 2 wickets.


The Tiger continued with his magnificent batting skills and scored 153 and 113 at Calcutta and New Delhi respectively in the test series against New Zealand led by John Reid in 1964-65.


Despite India’s defeat during the 1967 tour to England, Pataudi batted gallantly, he made a brave but unsuccessful bid to save the Headingly Test with scores of 64 & 148 which indeed was a tremendous effort. India had scored a respectable 510 in the second Innings.


On the Indian Team's tour of Australia in 1967-68, which incidentally was only their first since 1947-48, he scored two brilliant innings - 75 & 85 at Melbourne despite being under great pressure. At Brisbane he scored a superb 74 and at Sydney, 51.


Two years later when WM Lawry brought the Aussies to India, Pataudi led India to a 7-wicket victory at New Delhi and that ended Pataudi’s first phase as a captain.


He was however reappointed during the series against the West Indies in 1974-75 in a Test series which was hard fought and well contested. He eventually led India to victories at Calcutta and Madras in successive Tests and that was exemplary leadership.


In later years India grew from strength to strength, currently they are the World Cup Champions and one of the best Test teams in the world and the remarkable services which Pataudi rendered in their formative years will be long remembered.


Alas! Such a great Legend of Cricket has passed away.


Victories (9) under Pataudi
1964-65 v Australia, Bombay by 2 Wickets
1964-65 v New Zealand, New Delhi by 7 Wickets
1967-68 v New Zealand, Dunedin by 5 Wickets
1967-68 v New Zealand, Wellington by 8 Wickets
1967-68 v New Zealand, Auckland by 272 Runs
1969-70 v New Zealand, Bombay by 60 Runs
1969-70 v Australia, New Delhi by 7 Wickets
1974-75 v West Indies, Calcutta by 85 Runs
1974-75 v West Indies, Madras by 100 Runs


Pataudi’s 100s & 50s in Test Cricket
103 v England, Madras, 1961-62
203* v England, New Delhi, 1963-64
128* v Australia,Madras, 1964-65
153 v New Zealand, Calcutta, 1964-65
113 v New Zealand, New Delhi, 1964-65
148 v England, Headingly, 1967
64 v England, Calcutta, 1961-62
86 & 53 v Australia, Bombay, 1964-65
51 v West Indies, Bombay, 1966-67
64 v England, Headingly, 1967
75 & 85 v Australia, Melbourne, 1967-68
74 v Australia, Brisbane, 1967-68
51 v Australia, Sydney, 1967-68
52 v New Zealand, Christchurch, 1967-68
51 v New Zealand, Auckland, 1967-68
67 v New Zealand, Bombay, 1969-70
95 v Australia, Bombay, 1969-70
59 v Australia, Madras, 1969-70
73 v England, Madras, 1972-73
74 v England, Kanpur, 1972-73 * = not out

(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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