MAK Pataudi's 75 in Melbourne in 1967

'An innings played with one leg and one eye'

The Nawab of Pataudi showed spirit, courage and a touch of anger when he made 75, batting with an injured leg, at the MCG

The Nawab of Pataudi jnr scored six Test hundreds, but many considered his finest innings to be the 75 at the MCG in 1967-68. Coming in to bat at 25 for 5 on a green wicket, Pataudi needed a runner because of a pulled hamstring that had kept him out of the previous Test. Unable to play several front-foot shots, he made up by hooking. By the time he was dismissed, India's total had been lifted to 162. In the second innings, with India facing an innings defeat, Pataudi scored another half-century, and added 54 with the No. 10, Ramakant Desai. India lost by an innings and four runs, but Pataudi's 75 made it to No. 14 in Wisden Asia Cricket's list of the top 25 Indian Test innings.

KN Prabhu Pataudi's 75 was, as one observer termed it, "an innings played with one leg and one eye" in a thin drizzle on a dark day. To add to the handicap of his vision, he had also suffered a pulled hamstring, but he played stirringly despite these problems, in difficult batting conditions. One school of thought has it that Pataudi's and his team's struggles were partly of his own making, for he himself chose to bat on a pitch that was so green that I could only distinguish it from the rest of the ground because the grass had been rolled. But he did not have much by way of pace bowling, and he must have been hoping that his spinners would come into their own in the fourth innings. As it happened, his batting line-up fell around him on the first day, but he found some support from Rusi Surti, and as the day went on he proceeded to play some thrilling leg-side strokes, including several hooks. I remember Lindsay Hassett coming up to me during the game and saying, "That's the way Bradman used to attack the bowling."
KN Prabhu covered the tour of Australia for the Times of India

Ajit Wadekar I was lucky enough to watch Pataudi's first-day 75 from a very unusual vantage point: square leg, where I stood as his runner. We had lost the first Test in Adelaide, and the MCG wicket was supposed to be lively in the first session. But we didn't have the fast bowlers to make use of that, and maybe that prompted Tiger to elect to bat, a decision I am sure he went on to rue as the match progressed. As expected, the ball was swinging both ways under the clouds, and the Indian batsmen ran for cover against Graham McKenzie and Co. By lunch we were six down, and even 100 looked distant. Tiger was bravely waging a lone battle in the middle. He had suffered a hamstring injury in the first tour game and had been unavailable till the Melbourne Test. He was keen, I guess, to prove that his decision to bat was correct. And in that anger he started middling the ball, lifting it over the inner circle. He was not afraid at all, and in this way he put question marks in the bowlers' minds as to where exactly to bowl to him. With these unusual methods he pushed the team along from 47 for 6 to 162.
Wadekar top-scored in the second innings of the Test, with 99

Jack Fingleton Pataudi was an interesting study as captain. I always felt that he batted too low in the order, mostly at No. 6, and he advanced as the reason for this his leg disability. He thought, being unable to run sharp singles, that he would rob his best batsmen of runs if he batted higher, but such was his skill, such was the authority which came into the Indian innings as soon as he appeared, that, on balance, I do think he erred in not batting at least No. 4. Melbourne was a case in point. India made a woeful beginning, 25 for 5. Pataudi entered at this crisis, and looked a tragic figure as he walked in, dragging his injured leg. But, immediately, there came into the Indian innings character, intelligence and respectability. He showed first of all that he had a cool head and was not going to toss his wicket away. Pataudi played a glorious innings, taking the Australian bowling by the scruff.
From Fingleton's survey of the tour for Indian Cricket 1968

This article was first published in Wisden Asia Cricket magazine in 2004

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on September 23, 2011, 12:15 GMT

    Fuuuuuhhh.......Inspirational words.Not lucky enuf 2 watch dis inns but by d impact it made on the mind of Wadekar,Fingleton i'm sure had it been played in 2day's era it can bring him all d ICC awards.The line which stands "India made a woeful beginning, 25 for 5. Pataudi entered at this crisis, and looked a tragic figure as he walked in, dragging his injured leg" man its hav 2 be a Damn good inns!!!!!!!!!

  • Dummy4 on September 23, 2011, 11:30 GMT

    A superb batsman with fluent cover drives, magnificent fielder, an intelligent captain with positive frame of mind. Must be rated above the present day cricketers for he faced fastest of fast bowlers without helmet during his days, with one eye. I saw him facing Hall, Griffith, Sobers and Gibbs at Chepauk way back in Jan.1967. His 148 in Headingly, Leeds on a cold summer of 1967 (11th June) against Snow & Co, is beyond words of expression. He scored against almost all leading fast bowlers of his time viz. Hall & Griffith (WI), Snow & Price (Eng) , Mckenzie & Conolly (Aust). A great loss to Indian cricket. I and my cricket loving friends share the grief on his loss and pray for the departed Noble soul to rest in peace.

  • IFTIKHAR on September 23, 2011, 6:36 GMT

    This Australian tour came after the England one and having been captivated by the bravery of the Tiger at Leeds in 1967 we kept in touch with his next venture.That playing on a greentop with just one eye and one leg and against one of the finest pacer on this type of wickets,Mckenzie,takes the breath away.No Indian batsman in living memory except Gavaskar faced up to the fast bowlers as the Tiger.Wish he had not missed his vision.R.I.P.

  • Dummy4 on September 23, 2011, 6:10 GMT

    It was 1974-75 series against emerging West Indies.Indian team was in shambles.They were hammered by England 3-0 in the summer and again , after the heavy loss in first two test , another clean sweep was looking certain.

    It was Dec 27 1974 in Calcutta.In the first day morning of the third test, before lunch , India were reduced to 32 for three. Patoudi , who was injured while fielding in the first test and had to miss the second test, came to bat. Before he could settle, he was hit by a bouncer from Julien on his jaws . Immediately, he was carried to the hospital .He had three stitches.

    The same day, when he came back from hospital, he straightaway went to the field.Thanks to the fruitful partnership between Vishwanath and Madanlal, Indians were still battling. After the fall of Madanlal's wicket, Patoudi came back to the crease.Captain Lloyd immediately summoned his fast bowlers and Patoudi was greeted with short pitched deliveries. Everything seemed to be on expected lines. But be

  • Dummy4 on September 23, 2011, 4:03 GMT

    Pataudi was a true legend, an ambassador for Indian criecket. A very charismatic and pleasent personality. May his soul rest in peace.

    Siddharth Khosla

  • Dummy4 on September 22, 2011, 23:49 GMT

    The legend of MAK is incomplete without recalling his bravado at the MCG. An innings played with one leg and one eye

  • Dummy4 on September 22, 2011, 21:21 GMT

    @harsh - weird to compare sachin and nawab......different generations....different eras.....different upbringing......sachin has played memorable knocks too in many cases with injuries and back spasms...both are legends in their own right!....nawab brought in the killer instinct in indian cricket.....which died again in the late 80s and 90s to be re-installed by another Prince of Kolkata! such is nature of the universe.....

  • Dummy4 on September 22, 2011, 18:54 GMT

    Tiger.. Always and Forever!!

  • Asker on September 22, 2011, 17:43 GMT

    I would like to share one innings I was present and watching at chepauk, the match was India V's WI(much depleted due to the absence of main players due to Packer) under Alvin Kallicharan, Kapil-he was running high with fever, came on to bat when India was under tremendous pressure and he started blasting the second string windies quickies like sylvester clarke, norbert phillip, wayne daniel and the whole young crowd went ballistic, i was one of them, that is when i heard a grey haired gentleman from the crowd, talking to a person seated next to him in the native tamil language, the meaning of the conversation was like this" look at this fellows how they are growing crazy over Kapil's batting against such a mediocre attack albeit having some fever, they havent seen the real exceptional batting against exceptional bowling which Mushtaq Ali did with one hand, the way Durrani did in windies after Contractor fell injured, Pataudi did with all his handicaps, one eye one leg, just awesome.

  • Harsh on September 22, 2011, 16:39 GMT

    Without doubt one of the finest exhibtion's of batting ever witnessed in Test Cricket.Even Sachin Tendulkar could not equal the Tiger's courage who literally acted like a ferocious tiger combating an opponent.Patuadi was simply a king.

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