Rusi Modi

MODI, RUSI SHERIYAR, who died on May 17, 1996, aged 71, was an Indian Test batsman, writer and all-round enthusiast for the game. Modi made his reputation when he hit centuries in seven consecutive Ranji matches for Bombay in the Indian seasons of 1943-44 and 1944-45. He scored three double-centuries in 1944-45, when he became the first batsman to make 1,000 in a Ranji Trophy season, and a fourth the following year against the Australian Services team on their way back from England, which Modi regarded as his best-ever innings.

He was still only 21 when he came to England in 1946, and John Arlott was quick to notice the contrast between Modi off the field, tall, painfully thin, grey of face and huddled into an overcoat, tending to tremble, and the confident, controlled batsman. Modi made 57 not out on his Test debut, at Lord's, and went on to play ten Tests, contributing crucial innings in the two games at Brabourne Stadium, Bombay, against West Indies in 1948-49: 112, his only Test century, in the Second, and 86 in the Fifth, when India almost snatched victory.

Later he became aide-de-camp to the Governor of Bombay and one of India's most thoughtful and influential cricket writers. He died of a heart attack in the Cricket Club of India pavilion at the Brabourne, scene of his great triumphs. Initial reports said, erroneously, that he had fallen to his death from the third floor.

© John Wisden & Co