Abbas Ali Baig
March 19, 1939, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh
Right hand bat
Murtuza A Baig
A classy right-hand strokeplayer, Abbas Ali Baig remains one of the tragic figures of Indian cricket. For a man of his talent and skill, only ten Tests over a first class career that stretched over two decades was scant reward. But Baig's brush with immortality is in the record books for his memorable feat in scoring a century in his first Test in 1959. Coming in a replacement for the injured Vijay Manjrekar, Baig hit a superb 112 at Old Trafford. Not only was he the first to accomplish the feat outside India, but at 20 years, 131 days he was then the youngest Indian to get a Test hundred. He performed creditably against the strong Australian side in 1959-60, notching up 50 and 58 in the third Test at Bombay, to play a notable role in India drawing the game. Against Pakistan the following season he failed in four innings and was dropped. Despite scoring heavily in the Ranji Trophy and Duleep Trophy tournaments, he was not brought back until six years later, when he played two Tests against West Indies. He was only moderately successful but he was dropped and never again played Test cricket. However he remained elegance personified and fought his way back into the Indian team that toured England in 1971 as opening batsman after being distinctly unlucky to miss the trip to West Indies earlier that year. But he was overlooked for the Tests, though Ashok Mankad had a wretched series and that remained the extent of his international career.
Along with other stars like Jaisimha, Pataudi, Abid Ali, Jayantilal,
Krishnamurthy, Govindraj and Asif Iqbal Razvi (before he migrated to Pakistan), Baig formed the nucleus of a strong and attractive, if inconsistent Hyderabad side from the late fifties to the early seventies. In a long first-class career, Baig scored 12,367 runs (34.16) with 21 centuries with a highest score of 224 not out for South Zone against North Zone in 1966-67. He earned a Blue at Oxford.
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