Full name Pahlan Ratanji Umrigar
Born March 28, 1926, Sholapur, Maharashtra
Died November 7, 2006, Mumbai (aged 80 years 224 days)
Major teams India, Gujarat, Mumbai, Parsees
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Right-arm offbreak
|Test debut||India v West Indies at Mumbai (BS), Dec 9-13, 1948 scorecard|
|Last Test||West Indies v India at Kingston, Apr 13-18, 1962 scorecard|
|First-class span||1944/45 - 1962/63|
One of the all time greats of Indian cricket, Polly Umrigar was a heroic figure from the late forties to the early sixties, almost always shining in a losing cause. Despite this, when he retired, he held the most important records - most Tests, most runs, most hundreds. In fact his records stood from 1962 to 1978 when they were broken by a certain Sunil Gavaskar. A burly six footer, Umrigar was a commanding figure at the crease - whether batting, bowling, directing operations as captain or standing in his usual position at first slip. Umrigar excelled in full blooded drives but he could also hook and pull powerfully. As a bowler, he was an accurate offspinner and could even open the bowling, sending down outswingers. He was a brilliant versatile fielder.
Either as batsman, bowler or captain, he helped shape the few Indian triumphs of his time. For 30 years he held the record of getting the highest score by an Indian on tour - 252 not out against Cambridge University in 1959. As a bowler, his finest hour was when he took 4 for 27 while helping India to defeat mighty Australia at Kanpur in 1959. A shrewd captain, he led India in eight Tests, winning two and losing two before he resigned the captaincy at Madras against West Indies in 1959 following a misunderstanding with the selectors. He is
only one of two Indian cricketers (Vinoo Mankad being the other) to score a century and take five wickets in an innings - a feat he achieved against West Indies at Port of Spain in 1962. Umrigar was the first Indian to hit a Test double century. After retirement, he continued to serve Indian cricket as chairman of the selection committee, tour manager and BCCI executive secretary. Umrigar died in November 2006, at the age of 80, after losing a prolonged battle with lymph cancer
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