NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Former India captain Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi has died aged 70 after losing his battle against a lung infection yesterday.
Pataudi had been suffering from a lung disease which worsened rapidly, a doctor at the Delhi hospital where he had been admitted last month, told reporters.
“I join my colleagues in the BCCI to express my condolences… His services to Indian cricket will never be forgotten,” Indian cricket board president N Srinivasan said in a statement.
One of India’s finest captains, Pataudi made his test debut in Delhi against England in 1961 and played the last of his 46 tests against West Indies in 1975 in Mumbai. Pataudi is survived by his actress wife Sharmila Tagore and three children, two of whom are also actors.
Son of Iftikhar Ali Khan Pataudi, who represented both England and India in test cricket, Pataudi junior lost an eye in a car accident but still went on to become an aggressive batsman and an agile fielder.
“It’s a sad day for Indian cricket,” said Mohinder Amarnath, who made his test debut in 1969 under the man fondly called ‘Tiger’ Pataudi.
“He was a very positive man and not just a fantastic batsman but also a brilliant fielder,” Amarnath told Times Now channel.
“He brought glamour to the game and lot of confidence to the team,” Amarnath said of Pataudi, who scored 2793 runs in 46 tests with the help of six centuries and averaging nearly 35.
It was, however, his aggressive captaincy that earned him most fans.
“In an age when a draw was considered as good as a win, Tiger Pataudi encouraged his players to go flat out for victory,” Srinivasan reminisced. Rahul Dravid led the tribute from current generation of players.
“I did not watch him play but grew up listening to stories about him and how he changed the way India played test cricket,” said the Indian top order batsman.
“I was fortunate enough to interact with him a couple of times and found he was a fantastic person to talk cricket with. He was very knowledgeable and deeply cared about Indian cricket.”
Pataudi was shoehorned into captaincy when he was barely 21 and he led in 40 tests, winning nine of them and guiding India to their first away series victory in New Zealand in 1968.