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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Raj Singh Dungarpur World Cricket Summit - Ian Chappell praises Tiger Pataudi

Recently, I had posted about the speech    Rahul Dravid delivered   at  the Australian War Memorial, speaking at the  Sir Donald Bradman Oration.  Back home, there was a similar event in Mumbai – the RSD World Cricket Summit (WCS), a cricket think-tank that convenes annually to pursue excellence in cricket.  This is a cricket initiative commemorating the memory of late Shri Raj Singh Dungarpur.   The Forum reportedly has 300 hand-picked guests, all stalwarts of their individual domains,  brought together  by their shared passion for sport and especially cricket.   The RSD Voice of Cricket Lecture was instituted at the inaugural RSD World Cricket Summit in 2010 by Nawab Mansur Ali Khan  Pataudi. The Voice of Cricket Lecture is a means to provide cricket with a voice of the most distinguished figures of cricket, both contemporary and legendary.
Maharaj Raj Singh was born in the erstwhile princely state of Dungarpur in Rajasthan (then called Rajputana)in  1935. He was the youngest son of Maharawal Lakshman Singhji, the ruler of Dungarpur. Dungarpur was a bachelor wedded to the game to whom  cricket was everything.    He was a first class cricketer, Cricket Club of India chief, national selection committee chairman and BCCI President; he  left a lasting impression on the game and the cricketers.   He reportedly opened bowling for Rajasthan and Central Zone, captained Rajasthan later.  He was a selector of the national team for two terms. He also managed the Indian cricket team four times on overseas tours. He was also the president of Cricket Club of India for 13 years in Mumbai. He served as the President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India for two terms.  He passed away in 2009 at age of 73.

Sanjay Manjrekar,  Ian Chappell, Mike Brearly, Kapil Dev and Ajay Jadeja
Raj Singh Dungarpur is quoted as saying “Sport does not build character but reveals it”.  This year the speech was rendered by Ian Chappell  who paid rich tributes to late Pataudi.   He reportedly spoke  "Tiger's services could have been better utilised as an administrator. He had a wonderful knowledge of the game and had the ability to give more to cricket and life. I know he had some role to play in the IPL and was a match referee, but he could have been used more wisely given his vast experience as a player,"  A reticent, but thoughtful voice, Pataudi was known to have a way with words and possessed the ability to say a lot without speaking much and Chappell endorsed that.   Chappell paid tribute to Pataudi's cricketing feats, achieved with only one eye. "If you want to know how difficult playing cricket with one eye is, try catch a ball with only one eye and see how tough it is!"
He recounted Pataudi's knocks of 75 and 85 in the MCG Test of the 1967-68 Australia tour. "He had missed the first Test at Adelaide due to a hamstring injury. He was still half-fit, but chose to play because India's batting was in poor health. He had a one-eye handicap and an injured leg. Throw in the inconsistent and overcast Melbourne weather and India's position of 25 for 5 and you can understand how grim the scenario was. He just camped on his good leg, the backfoot."    Chappell also recalled his extreme surprise at how during every rain break, Tiger walked to the middle with a new willow. When he inquired after the game at how he could play so well with different bats, Pataudi revealed he never carried bats. "He (Pataudi) told me that his bag for the tour included a sweater, a pair of socks, jockstraps and nothing else. The bat he picked up was always the one nearest to the dressing room door," Chappell said.  Chappell also  admitted his ignorance in asking Pataudi as to what he did for his living, without knowing his family history of Prince. 
Tiger Pataudi  scored 2793 runs in 46 Tests, led the team to victory in nine matches, including India's first overseas win against New Zealand.   Pataudi, whose flair and acumen inspired a generation of cricketers,  lost his right eye in an accident when he was 20.  After retiring from Test cricket, he served as a match referee for two Ashes Tests in 1993 and also served as a governing council member of the IPL.   
Besides Ian Chappell, there were many other notable cricketers including  Mike Brearly, Kapil Dev, Sanjay Manjrekar, Ajay Jadeja…
With regards - S. Sampathkumar
PS :  In some ways, Raj Singh Dungarpur was the person who introduced Sachin Tendulkar. He was chairman of the selection committee that selected him to tour Pakistan as a member of the Indian cricket team when he was just 16.  Krishnamachari Srikkanth was the Captain during that tour.

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