Pataudi: Nawab of cricket

From The Telegraph:

Pataudiweb_2619191bWhen the eighth Nawab of Pataudi died of a heart attack during a polo match at the age of 41, the Wisden obituary paid fulsome tribute. It noted Pataudi’s brilliant achievements for Oxford University’s First XI in the early Thirties, his superb century on his debut for England, and his dignified captaincy of the Indian team which toured England in 1946. It also recorded that he had left behind “an 11-year-old son who has shown promise of developing into a good cricketer”. That sentence soon looked like the understatement of the century. Dispatched to Winchester, the ninth Nawab (tutored by such outstanding schoolmasters as Harry Altham, “Podge” Brodhurst and Hubert Doggart) broke every batting record. By 1957, aged 16, he was playing first-class cricket for Sussex. By 1959 he broke the record for runs scored at Winchester in a single season. At Oxford the Nawab – known as “Tiger” to his friends – performed staggering feats that equalled even those of his remarkable father.

Then disaster struck. He lost his right eye in a car accident, and it was assumed that he could never play cricket at the top level again. Amazingly, he overcame this disability. Within six months he had made his Test debut for India against England, scoring a century in his third match. Asked at what point he first believed he could play Test cricket after his eye injury, he replied: “When I first saw the English bowling.” Three months later he was captain of India, and he went on to captain his country 40 times. Suresh Menon’s beautifully produced book, a collection of essays from family and friends, is a moving and much-needed tribute to a wonderful cricketer who died in 2011. It is a portrait of a man born out of his time, and is a pure delight.

More here.