Farokh Engineer October 5, 2013

'I always idolised Muhammad Ali'

Farokh Engineer on meeting Ali, being rewarded for a catch in the outfield, and being yelled at despite having scored a century

First big scolding on the cricket field
In a Ranji Trophy match, I had scored over 150 runs in the second innings. My team, Bombay, was only a few runs short of the target when I got out to a lofted shot. Mine was the seventh wicket to fall. As I returned to the pavilion, our manager, Polly Umrigar, gave me a piece of his mind and yelled, "If we lose the match, it would be because of you."

First sporting hero
I always idolised Muhammad Ali. He was a tremendous fighter and a great man. I met him a couple of times. Felt really honoured when he presented me his book with the words written: "With best wishes to Farokh".

First good catch
It did not come behind the stumps but in the outfield. It was a small club game during my early cricketing life. I ran some distance and dived to grasp the ball. My father was in attendance and rewarded me with Rs 50. For a schoolkid, it was one hell of a lot of money in those days.

First time I felt I belonged at the highest level
When I was selected for the World XI in 1970. It was a great honour to be a part of the team having such illustrious names as Garry Sobers, Rohan Kanhai, Mike Procter, Barry Richards, among others.

First time I was called Rooky
Fred Trueman invented this nickname. He extracted "Rooky" from my name "Farokh".

Ijaz Chaudhry writes on cricket and other sports. For more about him and samples of his published work, visit www.sportscorrespondent.info

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on October 7, 2013, 15:50 GMT

    This journalist is good. writes very balanced articles. cricinfo to please introduce him to ur viewers.

  • jaya on October 5, 2013, 12:47 GMT

    The first immpressions i have of F.Engineer was that he was a smart looking guy.He was a agile and a very good wicket keeper ,he was given a break in tests because the eastablished W.Keeper Kunderen was unfit .Engineer proved to be a better wicket keeper-batsman then Kunderan who had scored 192 against England just short time before.What i like the most in Engineer is that he was a attacking batsman by nature.He would have fitted into any ODI or T20 games of the present.His batting brought immence pleasure to the spectators by his hurricane batting style.

  • Bharat on October 5, 2013, 12:20 GMT

    I remember listening to the radio, as a young schoolboy, to the rousing starts that Farokh would give to India with his flamboyant batting. He was a great foil for Gavaskar and if he departed early, then the batting would be more sedate and less exciting. He was, obviously, also a wonderful keeper.

  • Dummy4 on October 5, 2013, 11:46 GMT

    Mr. Farokh Engineer will always be remembered in the annuals of the cricketing history, as one of the most affable and most gutsy player of the game.

  • Rhodri on October 5, 2013, 10:48 GMT

    a true gentleman, and plays a fair hand of bridge too

  • David on October 5, 2013, 6:39 GMT

    I remember Engineer as a really good keeper, right up in the top notch. Most of his career was up on the stumps to some very skilful spinners and I cannot recall him making many mistakes at all. He deserved that place in the World XI.

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