TheIndia England test series is just over and the Pataudi trophy has been won by England.
The Nawab of Pataudi had royal lineage. He was the son of the Nawab of Pataudi (Sr) who has the rare distinction of playing for England and better still hitting a century on debut (102 against Australia). Pataudi (Sr) also led India during the 1946 Indian tour of England. His son Mansur Ali Khan brought a royal touch to the game and like his father brought to cricket a glory that showed his class with some regal deeds.
Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi was a Nawab in the true sense with the bat and as a fielder earned the nickname of ‘Tiger’. He was a cricketer of a rare breed. He was an Oxford blue and that added to his aura. He brought to the game an élan and dash that matched his performance in everything he did. His manner and mien saw him command unflinching respect from his players. Even now his protégés Bedi, Prasanna and Jaisimha (sadly no more now) swear by the name of Pataudi.
Thus it is tribute and recognition of the Pataudi family’s service to Anglo-Indian cricket, that the Marylebone Cricket Club’s proposal in 2007to donate a trophy to the winner of the India-England series was graciously accepted by the BCCI.
The last test of this 2011 series will be played at the Oval and Pataudi will be present there to hand over the trophy to the winner. Pataudi is now 70 and he feels that the present series is very interesting and he hopes that MS Dhoni will win the trophy.
Pataudi in Test Cricket
Pataudi burst on the Indian cricket scene in 1962 against the MCC teamled by Ted Dexter. Dexter as is well-known was a hard-hitting batsman and also had the run machine in Ken Barrington. Pataudi made his Test debut at Delhi in the third Test, but fell for 13. But in the next test he hit 64 and 32 and India won. He followed up with a 103 at Madras and again India won. Batting after lunch on the first day Pataudi batting after lunch saw 82 runs posted in the first hour after lunch and the world took notice of this one-eyed Nawab.
Just after this India toured the West Indies and there was disaster all around. Nari Contractor the Indian captain was hit on the head by a delivery from Charlie Griffith and only emergency surgery saved his life. This injury to contractor catapulted the Nawab as Indies captain and he played 3 tests against the West Indies. He faced up to the ferocious pace of Griffith and Wes Hall on hard wickets unflinchingly and without a helmet. He almost got two fifties with scores of 48 and 47 when everybody else was happy to sit in the Pavilion. On return Pataudi was confirmed as captain and led India in 40 test matches. This was the dawn of the new age in Indian cricket. Under Pataudi India for the first time began winning test matches. India beat Australia and the West Indies under him and he also led India on to their lone ever series victory against the New Zealand team in 1967-68.
The Nickname Tiger
In the field Pataudi was a tiger and his fielding was marked by agility and anticipation. There is no doubt that he can be rated as one of the best fielders ever. Now the clock has turned a full cycle and the MMC has honored the Nawab for his contribution to cricket with the inception of the Pataudi trophy. Hats off to him. Incidentally Pataudi married the Indian film star Sharmila Tagore and they have lived happily ever after. The MCC and the Indian board have rightly honored the name of Pataudi with this trophy