India news January 13, 2013

Former India allrounder Surti dies at 76

ESPNcricinfo staff

Former India allrounder Rusi Surti, 76, died this morning in Mumbai. The Queensland, Australia-based Surti had been put on life support in hospital after scans revealed he had suffered a massive stroke.

Surti, often called the "poor man's Garry Sobers", played 26 Tests for India from 1960 to 1969 before settling in Australia. He represented Queensland 35 times in the Sheffield Shield and also played for Gujarat and Rajasthan in the Ranji Trophy.

A sound left-hand batsman, a left-arm bowler who could bowl either medium-pace or spin and an outstanding fielder, Surti rendered valuable service to Indian cricket almost throughout the 1960s. He scored 1263 Test runs at an average of 28.70 and a highest score of 99 while also taking 42 wickets at 46.71.

Having debuted against Pakistan in Mumbai, Surti peaked on the tour of Australia and New Zealand in 1967-68. In the eight Tests he was the most successful run-getter with 688 runs at 45.50 and also picked up 22 wickets. In the fourth and final Test against New Zealand at Auckland, he was out for 99 which remained his highest Test score.

Back home, Surti played two more Tests against New Zealand and one against Australia in 1969-70. By this time, he was representing Queensland in the Sheffield Shield and remained out of contention for India thereafter.

His first-class career, which included six centuries, stretched from 1956 to 1972, with a debut for Gujarat against Bombay at the Brabourne Stadium and a final appearance for Queensland against South Australia at the Gabba.

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  • Jay on January 15, 2013, 13:03 GMT

    Rusi Surti was an amazingly fearless all-rounder! He played in the 1960s: a transformational & unique era. Under Pataudi's bold captaincy, the players jelled into a multi-skilled & multi-ethnic team. Surti showed his incredible value with fearless batting against pace bowling, deceptive seam & spin bowling & agile fielding. What a priceless ODI player he'd have made - plugging that huge "all-rounder" hole - in today's Team India! In those days it was not unusual to see a Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Parsi & Sikh - a "Pentangular" - on the same team! Colour & flair too! In the 1962 WI tour, the unique Parsi quartet - Nari Contractor, Polly Umrigar, Farokh Engineer & Surti - all in the same playing XI! When Contractor got seriously hurt, Pataudi became accidental captain! Unity in diversity! The Parsis are high achievers - a community that's made invaluable contributions to India's progress far beyond its numbers. How India yearns for more Parsi cricketers to emerge. Just like Rusi Surti!!!

  • mohammed on January 15, 2013, 10:03 GMT

    Dear Mr. Rusi Sorabji, Engineer is alive. May he live more. These were dynamic cricketers who loved the game more than themselves.

  • Dummy4 on January 14, 2013, 10:16 GMT

    RF Surti was Indeed India;s Sobers of his times. Before Ekky Solkar he was the one who was a great fielder in any position for India (Tiger Pataudi excluded). He was one of those men who gave his all and chipped in with the bat or ball or on the field and thus contributed his mite to the team in all conditions. Thanks for the memories. Respect. RIP Rusi Surti!

  • Mohd. Farhan on January 14, 2013, 9:07 GMT

    @Rusi Sorabji- Late Farokh Engineer?? He is still alive.

    Rest in Peace Rusi Surti Sir.

  • Dummy4 on January 14, 2013, 7:59 GMT

    Loss of a legendary of his kind....

  • Yarman on January 14, 2013, 7:45 GMT

    Sad to hear about Rusi Surti. Whilst I never watched him play I heard many stories about him from my late Father who was of his generation....condolences to his family.

    It's would be interesting if Cricinfo would do an article on Parsi cricketers at one time many represented India but none since Farokh Engineer that I can recall. I wonder why?

  • Dummy4 on January 14, 2013, 5:48 GMT

    In those days when the Indian fielding was 'naam -ke -wasthe', Surti stood out as a superb fielder. The 67-68 tour of Aus. and NZ saw him at his best. R.I.P.

  • raghavan on January 14, 2013, 3:16 GMT

    RIP Sir,one of Indian Cricket's earliest forefathers.