Sad to hear of the demise of Mansur Ali Khan, the Nawab of Pataudi aged 70 today. Some time Indian cricket captain, selector and at all times a gentleman, “Tiger” Pataudi, the 9th and last Nawab of Pataudi was without doubt the last of his ilk.
As a kid I received his book “A Tiger’s Tale” as a birthday gift and I treasured this. He learnt his cricket as a product of Winchester and Oxford. We remember that difficult tour of the West Indies in 1962 when the Indian skipper, Nari Contractor was felled by a ball from Charlie Griffith. He was lucky to survive that injury. Young Pataudi became the captain at the age of 21 under extremely trying circumstances. Later under his captaincy India won their first ever overseas tour against New Zealand in 1967.
What set Pataudi apart from the others of his time was that he was an excellent fielder in an age when Indians were horrible in the field. He supported the famous spin quartet of Chandrasekhar, Bedi, Prasanna and Venkatraghavan who became a force to reckon with under his captaincy.Tiger set high standards in the field, leading by example. He was an elegant batsman and one remembers the century he scored against England at Leeds in 1967. He was Wisden’s Cricketer of the Year in 1968.
Farewell, Tiger! May your soul rest in peace.