Full name Hemchandra Ramachandra Adhikari
Born July 31, 1919, Poona (now Pune), Maharashtra
Died October 25, 2003, Mumbai (aged 84 years 86 days)
Major teams India, Baroda, Gujarat, Hindus, Services
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Legbreak
|Test debut||Australia v India at Brisbane, Nov 28-Dec 4, 1947 scorecard|
|Last Test||India v West Indies at Delhi, Feb 6-11, 1959 scorecard|
|First-class span||1936/37 - 1959/60|
The Wisden Cricketer
Hemchandra 'Hemu' Adhikari was, in some ways, the nearly man of Indian cricket. He was nearly a leading batsman, he was nearly the best No. 7 batsman India produced (he also batted at No. 3), he scored nearly 10,000 first-class runs, claimed nearly 50 wickets and took nearly 100 catches and was captain of the national side only once. Had Adhikari's connection with cricket ended in 1959, when he was overlooked for the tour of England, that might have served as his epitaph. It was in his second career - as the national coach - that Adhikari rose to his full potential. He was the team manager and the brain behind India's first series win in England in 1971. He shaped the career of cricketers in a two-decade period that saw the rise of, among others, Sunil Gavaskar, Mohinder Amarnath, Dilip Vengsarkar, Krishnamachari Srikkanth, Ravi Shastri, Kapil Dev and Syed Kirmani. A brilliant cover point in his time, Adhikari was a hard taskmaster who placed physical fitness above all - a concept that was new to Indian cricket which traditionally had been served by talented players who could bat or bowl like a dream, but often escorted the ball to the boundary while fielding. The Second World War delayed Adhikari's Test debut until he was nearly 29 and his official army duties restricted his appearances to 21 of 47 Tests played in his time. A fine player of spin bowling, he made up for a weakness against genuine pace with a large heart that made him the man for a crisis. He was in Indian teams that played inaugural Tests against Australia, West Indies and Pakistan, and his best performances came against these three teams. At Adelaide he made 51 and helped Vijay Hazare add 132 for the seventh wicket while six batsmen failed to score. His only Test century came against West Indies at Delhi in 1948-49 while his 109-run stand with Ghulam Ahmed for the last wicket against Pakistan four years later remains an Indian record. In the notorious home series against West Indies in 1958-59, when India had already used three captains in the first four Tests, Adhikari led in the fifth. He made 63 and 40 and claimed the wickets of Conrad Hunte, Basil Butcher and Denis Atkinson with his gentle leg-breaks. That was his final Test. At 40, he felt he was not up to touring England - where he had acted as vice-captain on India's 1952 tour - again. He was not invited to and DK Gaekwad led the team that lost all five Tests. Adhikari was not a big man yet he was a presence. He will be remembered for his role in Indian cricket's self-confidence movement that began with that series win in 1971. Suresh Menon
Papua New Guinea's attractive team kit at the World T20 Qualifier, cool cap included, caught our attention. What's your favourite of them all?
On Sunday, Tillakaratne Dilshan became the 11th batsman to score 10,000-plus ODI runs. Here are the key numbers from his ODI career
What makes this innocuous-seeming bowler so difficult to handle?
Death of a Gentleman exposes how neo-liberal economics threatens the game, while also hinting at worse lying beneath the surface, leaving you feeling disillusioned and angry