BeyondHeadlines News Desk
New Delhi: Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, one of India’s most charismatic cricketers and a prolific batsman despite losing an eye, died in a hospital in the national capital on Thursday aged 70 following lung disease. His burial will take place at Pataudi village in Gurgaon, Haryana, on Friday afternoon.
The former national captain, better known as the Nawab of Pataudi or ‘Tiger’, was admitted to a New Delhi hospital earlier this month and appeared to be recovering before his condition deteriorated on Wednesday.
“He was suffering from interstitial (tissue) lung disease which worsened rapidly in spite of the best treatment available,” hospital spokesman S. P. Byotra told the Press Trust of India (PTI).
Pataudi is survived by his actress wife Sharmila Tagore, two daughters and a son, Saif Ali Khan, who is a popular Bollywood actor. Pataudi played 46 Tests between 1961 and 1975, scoring 2,793 runs at an average of 34.91 with six centuries, including an unbeaten 203 against England in New Delhi in 1964.
Nicknamed ‘Tiger’ because of his excellent catching and throwing in the outfield, he was regarded as one of India’s finest fielders.An adventurous batsman who was not afraid to loft the ball over the infield, Pataudi played most of his career without his right eye, which he lost in a car accident in England.
Pataudi became India’s captain at the age of 21 during a tour of the West Indies in 1962 when the then skipper Nari Contractor was injured after being hit on the head by a bouncer from Charlie Griffith.
He led India in 40 of his 46 Tests, winning nine and securing the country’s first series win abroad on the 1967/68 tour of New Zealand.
Indian cricket chief Narayanaswami Srinivasan led rich tributes to the legendary sportsman.
“He was an exemplary individual, who guided Indian cricket to unprecedented heights, as batsman, fielder and captain,” Srinivasan said in a statement.
“He revolutionised fielding standards in the Indian team and across the country. In an age wherein a draw was considered as good as a win, Tiger Pataudi encouraged his players to go flat out for victory.”
Current superstar Sachin Tendulkar said Pataudi’s death was a “terrible loss to world cricket.”
Former India captain and spin great Bishan Bedi, who began his career under Pataudi, said there will “never be another cricketer like him.”
“Tiger was a royal in every sense,” Bedi added. “A man of stature, both on and off the field. Superb batsman, brilliant fielder and a great captain. He was an inspiration for all who played with him.”