Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, who passed away on September 22, 2011, was arguably India’s greatest cricket team captain ever.
The Nawab of Pataudi was a right-handed batsman and a right-arm medium-pace bowler.
Despite being involved in a car accident that would impair the sight in his right eye forever, Pataudi took over as India captain at the age of 21. He skippered India in 40 of 46 Tests he played in, and won 9. Pataudi's highlight as a captain came when India achieved their first overseas Test victory against New Zealand in 1967.
As a batsman, Pataudi approached the game with an adventurous and unorthodox mindset. Despite having partial eyesight, he managed to score runs at an average of 34 in Tests.
As a captain, Pataudi changed the defeatist approach of the team especially while playing overseas. Pataudi’s grooming as a captain started when he captained the school team in 1959, scoring 1,068 runs that season, beating the school record set in 1919 by former England skipper Douglas Jardine. He made his first-class debut for Sussex in August 1957, aged 16, and also played for Oxford while he was at university and was the first Indian captain there.
In March 1962, Mansoor became captain of the Indian cricket team after taking over from Nari Contractor. At 21 years and 77 days, he held the world record for the youngest Test captain until he was surpassed by Tatenda Taibu in May 2004. Pataudi was an Indian Cricketer of the Year in 1962, and a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1968. He published an autobiography, Tiger's Tale, in 1969. He was the manager of the India team in 1974–5, and referee for two Ashes Tests in 1993. He was later a member of the council of the Indian Premier League.
On the personal front, Pataudi was said to be dating actress Simi Garewal. Later he married Bollywood actress Sharmila Tagore, whom he married on December 27, 1968. They have three children: Bollywood actor Saif Ali Khan, Saba Ali Khan and Soha Ali Khan. Unfortunately, India lost its youngest captain when Pataudi passed away due to an acute lung infection. His body was buried at Pataudi, Gurgaon district, Haryana.
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)