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June 18, 2005
Syed Mushtaq Ali, the first Indian batsman to score a Test century away from home, has died at 90. Tributes flowed in as the news of his death spread.
"Sam Loxton [the Australian fast bowler] was so impressed with Mushtaq that he said if he can bat like this consistently he must be the best opener in the world. He was a fearless hooker of the ball, one of the finest to play the shot, and used to step out and play the shot against the fast bowlers. He was an attacking batsman right from the word go. He was also a thorough gentleman."
Umrigar played 59 Tests for India between 1948 and 1962. He also captained in eight games.
"It's sad that both Vijay Hazare and Mushtaq Ali had to leave us in the last few days. Both were greats and Indian cricketing history will be incomplete without them. My first Ranji Trophy match was against Indore and on the very third ball I bowled, he jumped down the track and hit me off length. His footwork was fantastic and he could read length better than most. He even jumped down the track to Sam Loxton when he was bowling really quick. When I asked him for advice later in the evening he said, 'You are looking at the batsman and not at the pitch'. That proved to be a crucial lesson for me and I will always remain grateful to him."
Borde played 55 Tests for India between 1958 and 1969 and captained in one game.
"His entry on the ground used to be greeted with huge applause. Tall and upright, he was an unorthodox opener who felt attack was the best form of defence. Mushtaq was a real crowd-puller whose double century partnership with Vijay Merchant for the first wicket in 1936 at Old Trafford is still remembered. During that century knock when he was in the 90s Walter Hammond walked up to him and told him to be a bit more cautious as centuries don't come that easily. He was that sort of a batsman. Though we were part of the Commonwealth squad we never played together in the playing eleven as when I was in the reserves he was in the eleven and vice-versa. He was a thorough gentleman and we had excellent rapport even after our playing days."
Mantri played four Tests for India between 1951 and 1955.
© ESPN EMEA Ltd.
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