New Delhi (dpa) – The cricketing fraternity and Indian leaders yesterday paid glowing tributes to cricket legend Mansur Ali Khan
Pataudi who has died aged 70 following a respiratory illness.
Pataudi, considered one of India’s finest cricket captains, died at a hospital in New Delhi on Thursday evening.
Pataudi was the youngest captain in Indian cricket history when he led the team in Barbados at age 21 during a 1962 tour to West Indies.
Nicknamed ‘Tiger’, Pataudi, led India in 40 tests despite impaired vision in the right eye, which was damaged in a car accident, six months before his test debut.
India won nine tests under his captaincy, including the country’s first series win abroad on the 1967/68 tour of New Zealand.
“He was a dashing and daring captain, who brought a new confidence to the Indian cricket scene,” Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in a condolence message a day after his death.
“Even after his playing days were over, he remained an iconic figure, an embodiment of poise and polish and a great advocate of sportsmanship,” Singh said.
Cricketers and the Indian media described Pataudi as a charismatic player who transformed the fortunes of Indian cricket. The Hindu daily called Pataudi “a prince among cricketers” and an inspiring leader. “Arriving at a time when India was a perennial underdog in the Test arena, he wielded individual talents into a world-class team and led it with magisterial self-assurance and rare tactical nous”, the newspaper said in an editorial.
International Cricket Council chief Sharad Pawar, a federal Indian minister, said Pataudi was “one of India’s greatest, most charismaticand flamboyant captains.”
“Pataudi was a man of exceptional talent who turned out to be an inspiration to millions of cricketers, not only in India but across the globe,” said Pawar.
Current Indian cricket superstar Sachin Tendulkar said Pataudi’s death was a “terrible loss to world cricket.”
Over an international career spanning 15 years, Pataudi played 46 tests till 1975 and scored 2,793 runs with six centuries at an average of 34.91.
A dashing cricketer, Pataudi came from an aristocratic family belonging to the northern state of Haryana.
The cricket icon is survived by his wife, veteran actress Sharmila Tagore and three children, two of whom, Saif Ali Khan and Soha Ali Khan, are Bollywood actors.