India news September 22, 2011

Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi dies aged 70

ESPNcricinfo staff

Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, who overcame an impaired eye to become a visionary and pioneering captain of the Indian Test team, has died in Dehli at the age of 70. He was suffering from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a lung infection for which there is no cure. He is survived by his wife Sharmila Tagore, his son Saif Ali Khan and his two daughters Soha and Saba Ali Khan. Tagore, Saif and Soha are prominent actors in India's film industry.

Pataudi played 46 Tests between 1961 and 1975 and was arguably India's greatest captain. He was given the leadership in his fourth Test, when he was 21, in Barbados in 1962, because the regular captain Nari Contractor was in hospital after getting hit on the head by Charlie Griffith. Pataudi was the youngest Test captain, a record that stood until 2004. He led India in 40 Tests and had a successful career despite impaired vision in his right eye, which was damaged in a car accident. He also captained Sussex and Oxford University.

India won nine Tests under Pataudi and it was during his tenure that the team began to believe it could succeed. He advocated the multi-spinner strategy because he believed India needed to play to their strengths and used it to achieve their first overseas Test win, in Dunedin in 1968. India went on to record their first away series victory, beating New Zealand 3-1. Pataudi was the Wisden Cricketer of the Year that year.

Pataudi scored 2793 runs at an average of 35 and made six centuries, the biggest of which was an unbeaten 203 against England in Delhi in 1964. However, many rate his 75, scored on one leg with one eye, against Australia in Melbourne in 1967-68 as his finest. Pataudi retired in 1975 after West Indies' tour of India. After retirement, Pataudi served as a match referee between 1993 and 1996, officiating in two Tests and ten ODIs, but largely stayed away from cricket administration.

Pataudi was the ninth and last Nawab of Pataudi until 1971, when the Indian government abolished royal entitlements through the 26th Amendment to the Constitution.He was also the editor of Sportsworld, the now defunct cricket magazine, and a television commentator in the 1980s but gradually withdrew from an active role, though he remained a strong voice in Indian cricket.

Since 2007, bilateral Test series between India and England have been contested for the Pataudi Trophy, named after his family for their contribution to Anglo-Indian cricket. Pataudi's father, Iftikhar Ali Khan, represented both England and India in Tests. Pataudi had taken ill since his return from England this summer after presenting the Pataudi Trophy to Andrew Strauss at the end of the four-Test series.

Pataudi was also a consultant to the BCCI from 2007 and part of the first IPL governing council but refused to continue in the role in October 2010, when the BCCI made significant changes to the league following the sacking of Lalit Modi as its chairman. As the spate of controversies increased, Pataudi was the only member of the governing council to admit the body's culpability, saying it "failed in its role to monitor the IPL's administration and be more questioning of decisions taken." In an forceful speech at the 2010 Raj Singh Dungarpur memorial lecture at the Cricket Club of India, Pataudi had said it was the duty of the BCCI to take moral leadership of the game.

In April this year, Pataudi also took the BCCI to court in April this year, claiming the board had not abided by its contract with him while he was a consultant as well as a member of the IPL governing council.

At the opening ceremony of the 2011 Champions League Twenty20 today, Ravi Shastri called for a minute of silence in honour of Pataudi.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on September 24, 2011, 7:47 GMT

    Tiger....yes that's what they called him TIGER. Rest in peace...

  • Anup on September 24, 2011, 6:43 GMT

    Tiger Pataudi changed the Indian cricket and pioneered the 'modern' era. Before him India played "Bat and Ball" because hardly any emphasis was on the ground fielding aspect! The Batsmen batted and the bowlers bowled, no body 'fielded' with any seriousness. Tiger was a brilliant fielder himself and transformed the team's thinking! India started playing to 'own strength' by using multi-pronged 'spin' attack. Above all Tiger made us believe that India could indeed win matches and series abroad! We must celebrate the IMMORTAL LIFE of the Tiger not mourn the death of his mortal body.

  • Haider on September 23, 2011, 14:45 GMT

    Please accept heartfelt condolences from Pakistan. He was a man of impeccable character and high moral values. I pray May Allah keep his soul in eternal peace and give his family and followers the courage to bear this irreparable loss. Amen. Peace

  • Dummy4 on September 23, 2011, 12:41 GMT

    A great captain,a good individual and a non contoversial person.A mercurial fielder.I had the privilege of seeing him in 4 test matches.We kids used to imitate his style thgen.Jaisimha and Pat were all time favourites..He had no ego and played for a long time under Jaisimha for Hyd and south zone. We have truly lost a cricketing legend. May his soul RIP and condolences to his family.

  • Andy on September 23, 2011, 11:58 GMT

    Tiger always lived in our heats, our national animal is tiger which always lives in our heart, so does this great man Tiger Pataudi. I came to know about he was serious just around 24hrs ago and later in the night watched in the news he is no more. I still can't believe he is no more, I watched his interview in tv even in the England series and he is a part of experts panel at various tv shows where he actively expressed his opinions. He may have had one eye but that was enough for him to roar. I just wished his son followed his path and not the easy path of his mother into acting. Really I have no more words to express disappointment. May u rest in peace sir, may god bless your soul and your family.

  • Ramakrishnan on September 23, 2011, 11:34 GMT

    MAK..a great cricketer,good captain,fine icon today but an idol to us in our days...RIP Tiger..

  • Dummy4 on September 23, 2011, 10:57 GMT

    A legend who will never be forgotten. RIP.

  • Vernon on September 23, 2011, 10:00 GMT

    For his truly astounding accomplishments on and off the cricket pitch, Pataudi Jr as he was known during his debut against England in Delhi in December 1961 was an incredibly modest and cheerful young man whose friendship I had long cherished. He will, in my estiimation, remain the first and last great Indian Test captain, a true prince in every sense of the term. Vernon Ram, Hong Kong

  • Dummy4 on September 23, 2011, 8:58 GMT

    Tiger Pataudi. What a player!!!It's a pity that when there are batsmen today who can't face good fast bowling having both eyes intact and helmets as additional protection, this guy scored 3000 runs and six hundreds with just one eye and without helmet. Wonder how many batting recorde he would have broken if his both eyes were intact. Tiger!!! May your soul rest in peace. You are a once in alifetime cricketer!!!!!!!

  • Dummy4 on September 23, 2011, 8:41 GMT

    I had the opportunity of watching him bat in a Ranji match between Hyd and Madras (Now Tamilnadu). The way he handled Venkat and VV Kumar with absolute ease, was simply outstanding. Though he scored only 50+, the grace with which he batted, was breathtaking. RIP, Tiger.

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