Tributes flowed in after Hanumant Singh passed away in Mumbai this morning.
It's a tremendous loss to Indian cricket. Hanumant was one of the finest gentlemen I have met. He was talented enough to have gone on to lead the country but things didn't go his way at all. He was a very good reader of the game, one of the shrewdest minds I have encountered. He was a wonderful mentor and fine coach.
My fondest memory of him was during my Test debut in Kolkata. It was the game against West Indies when the stand was burnt down. There was tear gas being sprayed and I couldn't see anything. Amid all that commotion I was trying to search for my shoes and blazer. It was Hanumant who came to me, found my things and guided me to safety. He always thought of others before thinking of himself.
Bishan Singh Bedi, one of the finest left-arm spinners, played 67 Tests for India between 1967 and 1979 and captained in 22 of those games
He was a very close friend of mine. It's a sad day for Indian cricket. He was extremely knowledgeable and an excellent coach. He was also a man of multi-faceted talents - he was a good match-referee, director of the National Cricket Academy. I fondly remember our tour to England in 1967 and it was when I realised how well he analysed cricket. I haven't come across someone who could analyse cricket so well. He also made batting look very easy.
Erapalli Prasanna, an offspinning legend, played 49 Tests for India between 1962 and 1978.
It's very sad that such a thing should happen within two months of him getting ill. He was a close friend. Naturally a great loss as far as cricket is concerned. He was a brilliant player in his days and was doing his bit for Indian cricket by coaching youngsters. He was not afraid to take tough decisions and was a hugely respected coach.
Nari Contractor played 31 Tests for India between 1955 and 1962, captaining on 12 ocassions.
I have lost one my very best friends in Hanumant Singh. I played with him for many years for the State Bank team, along with Baloo Gupte, Sharad Diwadkar, Budhi Kunderan ... and I'm the only one of the five left now.
The main thing about Hanumant was that he was a damn good batsman off the back foot. It is very rare to find someone in India who is good off the back foot, generally all are front-foot players. We've shared some big partnerships for State Bank, and some great memories as well. He was a bit of an introvert, but a wonderful guy and a team man.
It's amazing that his India career was curtailed by that so-called injury. Otherwise I have no doubt he would have gone on to score plenty of runs for India. Even after that he was absolutely and completely devoted to the game. For him it was just cricket, cricket, cricket, in whatever role he played.
The proof of his being a good coach is that one of his wards is now playing for England, in place of Marcus Trescothick - Ed Joyce used to come here to Mumbai for coaching at the World Cricket Academy.
Ajit Wadekar played 31 Tests for India between 1966 and 1974, standing as captain in 15 of them.