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Former India allrounder Surti dies at 76

ESPNcricinfo staff

January 13, 2013

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Rusi Surti
Rusi Surti also represented Queensland in the Sheffield Shield © MiD DAY Infomedia Ltd
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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.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by jay57870 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!!!

Posted by 270380 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.

Posted by   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!

Posted by farhan_arshi on (January 14, 2013, 9:07 GMT)

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

Rest in Peace Rusi Surti Sir.

Posted by   on (January 14, 2013, 7:59 GMT)

Loss of a legendary of his kind....

Posted by Yarms 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?

Posted by   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.

Posted by raghavan88 on (January 14, 2013, 3:16 GMT)

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

Posted by Nampally on (January 13, 2013, 21:54 GMT)

After Tiger Pataudi, it is the turn of Surti to depart. These amateur Cricketers of Surti era & before that, learnt their game for the love of it. In a poor country like India (just after Independence), even a sewing needle was imported.The budding cricketers of those days grew up under such poor conditions by saving money for their cricket kit in their school days. One has to remember that being a fine cricketer of Surti's stature was an achievement. Besides being talented the parents of these cricketers must be able to support them thru' schooling + their time off school for Cricket. Present day cricketers mint money thru' IPL & thru' very lucrative contracts at A,B,C Levels as Indian cricketers. Looking in this light, Surti achievements so high with so little backing. We need to respect these old timers for what they did for India & bringing Cricket in India to present status where cricketers like Dhoni & Tendulkar can earn close to $40 Million/PA thru' cricket & endorsements!

Posted by   on (January 13, 2013, 19:04 GMT)

sad to hear abt ur demise Sir, RIP

Posted by Sarangarajan on (January 13, 2013, 16:16 GMT)

Rusi Surti was a very able, efficient and true all rounder for India in those days.His fielding was outstanding in those days . His utility tol the team was three fold therefore as he was very good in all the three departments of the game.Pity in those days TV coverage for not existing and T20s and ODIs were not there. He would have been an outdtaning cricketr in these formats. I used to listen to the ABC commentary those days -describing his fileding.He was sure a very useful cricketer. May his soul rest in peace.

Posted by wake_up_india on (January 13, 2013, 15:03 GMT)

He used to open the bowling with Ramakant Desai at a time when even medium level "pace" powlers were rare in India. He could also field, when that was equally rare in the Indian team. And above all, he was consistent in whatever he did, which is very rare in the present Indian team.

Posted by ronit03 on (January 13, 2013, 14:31 GMT)

i feel so bad he was a very good player i watched his matches he played very good rip,

Posted by   on (January 13, 2013, 13:42 GMT)

@Ganesh Sovani: You had to be there during the 60's to realize Surti's value to the team. Granted, his averages were nothing to write home about but then you could say that about most Indian players. Today, when cricket is year around, it is easy to have batsmen and bowlers scoring thousands of runs but back then it was probably one or two series a year (no ODI's nor T20's).

Rusi Sir: Loved your game and surely will miss that smile. RIP.

Posted by vathabivaranan on (January 13, 2013, 13:15 GMT)

Alan Mcleary and VM Chakrapani the Australian and Indian Commendators narration about Rusi Surti and Patuadi parternership during 1960's series in Australia is still greenish and Surti's fielding in particula. That performance earned him to play for Queensland. What a true cricketer to be loved by any captain

Posted by   on (January 13, 2013, 12:25 GMT)

A batting average of 28.20 runs per innings and bowling average of 46.71 runs per wicket in today's parlance is hardly deserves a place to any one in today's any cricket playing Test team.

Absolutely, ordinary figures, how can any one dares to compare with Sir Garfield Sobers !

But in those days, as India's performance was at rock bottom, his figures were treated as high !

May be because, he got settled in Australia and played for Queensland at Gabba, he might have derived some glamour and nothing else !

Death is a bad for any one !

May his soul rest in a peace.

Posted by   on (January 13, 2013, 12:14 GMT)

Rusi Surti was indeed a sprakling all rounder. He was dependable batsman and scored useful runs when the need was great. His contributions with the ball and his sharp fielding was a standout and won him a lot of fans. He would have been a real boon in today T20 and One Dayers. May his soul Rest in peace.

Posted by gsingh7 on (January 13, 2013, 11:42 GMT)

rip big bro , u served ur country and cricket well, hope u fulfilled ur dreams before eternal call from above

Posted by Chris_P on (January 13, 2013, 10:56 GMT)

As a young kid I used to watch the ABC afternoon coverages and still recall his incredible fielding at the time. A complete cricketer who would be outstanding in todays game formats. RIP Rusi.

Posted by   on (January 13, 2013, 9:59 GMT)

Rusi Surti was a genuine all rounder.His bowling was much similar to Sir Gary Sobers & he was an outstanding fielder & a very handy batsman !! He was one of the stars of the 60's.He formed a formidable pair of all rounders with Salim Durrani !!! May his soul rest in peace !!!!!

Posted by GRAMMY_SACHIN on (January 13, 2013, 9:30 GMT)

RIP Surti Sir. One who gave name to All Rounder in India

Posted by   on (January 13, 2013, 9:29 GMT)

one of indias all time great,an he was one of the great parsee 2 play for india, others being merchant,nari contractor,polly umrigar,amrolliwala,,,,sad nay is soul rip

Posted by baskar_guha on (January 13, 2013, 9:00 GMT)

One of India's fine all-rounders - would have been a perfect fit for ODIs and T20. His fielding and fearlessness stood out.

Posted by littleduck on (January 13, 2013, 8:58 GMT)

I met him once when I was kid during his Queensland days. He was a lovely guy. Very sad news.

Posted by   on (January 13, 2013, 8:22 GMT)

GREAT all rounder May his soul rest in peace

Posted by   on (January 13, 2013, 8:22 GMT)

RIP.Very sad to hear that.

Posted by InsideHedge on (January 13, 2013, 8:20 GMT)

RIP Rusi Surti. You achieved the highest honour in cricket, to play Test Cricket.

Posted by   on (January 13, 2013, 8:06 GMT)

Rusi Surti you will always be remembered for you services to Indian cricket. You were a star in 1960s and really peaked well in overseas. Inspite of the facilities those days, he had done a great job for his country. May his soul rest in peace. Condolences to his family.

Posted by   on (January 13, 2013, 8:04 GMT)

I have heard of this player from my father. Surti used to be a very good allrounder for india. RIP SURTI SIR...

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