October 26, 2003

Former Indian captain Adhikari dies at 84

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Colonel Hemu Adhikari, the former Indian captain and manager, died on Saturday (Oct 25) in hospital in Thane, 35 miles north of Mumbai. He was 84, and had been suffering from an unspecified back ailment.

Hemchandra Ramchandra Adhikari played 21 Tests for India between 1947-48 and 1958-59, during which he scored 872 runs at an average of 31.14, with one hundred and four fifties. His sole century came in trying circumstances, when runs were badly needed against West Indies at New Delhi in 1948-49. Other gritty knocks, such as 60 in vain against England on a turning track at Kanpur in 1951-52, and an unbeaten 81 at No. 8 against Pakistan at Delhi the following season, punctuated his years in Test cricket.

He was installed as India's captain during the tumultuous series against West Indies in 1958-59, becoming the fourth captain of the series in the fifth and final Test. He rose to the occasion, making 63 and 40, and taking three wickets to boot, to draw the Test, even though West Indies had already taken the series 3-0 when they arrived for the final game at New Delhi.

Oddly, that was his last Test. Adhikari went on to become a popular manager of the Indian team, and it was under him that India famously won the series in England in 1971.