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Former India Test captain M.A.K. Pataudi dies at the age of 70


Mansoor Ali Khan, the 9th and last Nawab of Pataudi, has died at the age of 70 in New Delhi. He is rated as one of India's greatest captains and credited with installing a winning attitude and unity that had largely been missing from the national side up until that time.


(Above) The Nawab of Pataudi pictured in 1960

Nicknamed 'Tiger', Khan was only 21 and India's then-youngest ever-captain when he followed in his father's footsteps and was appointed to lead the team while touring the West Indies in 1962. More remarkably this was only months after Khan was involved in a car accident that permanently damaged the sight in his right eye.

Despite this he would go on to captain India 40 times over the next 14 years, winning 9 tests including the first ever overseas victory and Test series win, in New Zealand in 1967/8. The team's success was founded on improved fielding standards and Khan insisting they play to their strengths and field three spinners, an unheard of tactic at the time.

A charismatic stroke-maker despite his disability, he scored 2793 test runs at an average of 34.91 with six centuries. A courageous player, his battling 75 in a losing cause at the MCG in the 1968 New Years Test was voted the 14th greatest Indian Test innings. Coming in at 25-5 on a green pitch, it was described at the time as 'an innings played on one leg and with one eye' as Khan required a runner throughout after pulling a hamstring.

Tributes poured in from the great and good of Indian cricket when news of his death became known:

"It is a terrible news for me, he brought me up and guided me. I can't even express myself, it is one of my saddest days. He was a great human being, a great cricketer, a great fielder, shrewd captain, it is really sad. He always guided the youngsters. I was very close to him, so I can't really forget the way he brought me up. He was my first captain under whom I played. Whatever career I had, it stands on him."
Former India batsman Gundappa Viswanath

"It is an extremely painful loss for me. Unbearable and shocking loss. He was one of the greatest captains to lead India. He gave a new face to Indian cricket and emphasised on the role of quality fielding. He was primarily responsible for developing India's spin quartet in an aggressive role similar to what the West Indians had later in form of the pace quartet. He always believed that teams have to bowl at least 80 to 85 attacking overs out of 100 overs."
Erapalli Prasanna the former India spinner

"He was by far the best Indian captain to my mind of thinking. He was the first leader of Indian cricket who told everybody in the dressing room, 'look you are not playing for Delhi, Punjab, Madras, Calcutta or Bombay, you are playing for India. You are Indian.' That left a very very good mark on the minds of youngsters who played under him...His faith in the spinners was absolute and we all prospered under his captaincy, he guided us so comfortably and serenely, the spin quartet had the highest regard for him... We won't find the likes of him in a long, long time. His voice cannot be filled. A great, great chapter of Indian cricket has come to a close."
Former India captain Bishen Bedi 

"Tiger Pataudi was the most charismatic cricketer of his generation. To bat with almost zero vision in one eye and still to score nearly 3000 runs and half a dozen centuries in Test cricket tells you what a genius he was. He will be terribly missed and it's a huge loss to the game of cricket."
Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar

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