RAJESH KUMAR - Cricket Statisticians
Pataudi - Nawab of Cricket

Pataudi - Nawab of Cricket
Edited by Suresh Menon
Foreword by Sharmila Tagore

Published by:
Harper Sport - An imprint of HarperCollins Publishers India
A-53, Sector 57, Noida
Uttar Pradesh 201301, India

ISBN: 978-93-5029-607-3

Pages: 186

Price: Rs.499.00

Neha Punj, Senior Executive - Marketing

Pataudi - nawab of cricket is an extraordinary anthology - brilliantly put together by Suresh Menon, arguably India's best sports writer and journalist. The book provides us glimpses into the various facets of the man: as a batsman, as a style icon, as a lover, husband and as a captain.

The book offers a fascinating portrait of a cricketer and a gentleman whose contribution to Indian cricket went beyond the number of Tests he played and the runs he managed. All those persons who were part of Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi's life or shared moments with him, have contributed to this excellent book.

The book commences with an intimate foreword by Sharmila Tagore and finishes with his daughters, Saba and Soha, contributing loving memories of their father. Sharmila writes: "27th December 2011 would have been our forty-third wedding anniversary. But we didn't make it. We ran out of time on 22nd September. On that day I stepped into a strange new world. Everything was familiar and yet everything was different. After forty-seven magical years of being together, Tiger left. I deeply mourned his absence but I could also feel his lasting presence.

Tiger has not gone away; he continues to fill my life. He is around for me in many ways I did not expect. He may not be with me when I sit down for a meal or next to me when I put my feet up for a maovie, nor do I see him when I wake up in the morning. Yet he is here. Much as I feel deprived, I do not feel alone."

According to Rajdeep Sardesai, Nawab of Pataudi was a trendsetter on and off the field. He says if today's cricketers are cash-rich celebrities, it is because of the torch that was lit by the likes of Pataudi many years ago. "He was perhaps the first Indian cricketer to actually 'enjoy' fielding, an aspect of the game that was seen at times to conflict with its princely origins. Traditionally, princes were meant to bat in Indian cricket, leaving the more arduous task of fielding to lesser mortals. Pataudi changed that by literally bringing the eye of the tiger to the art of fielding.

"He defied family and custom to marry Sharmila Tagore in an age where Hindu-Muslim marriages were uncommon. It was the first sportsman-cinema alliance, and easily the most successful."

About her father's fighting spirit, Soha Ali Khan says, "It was when he was hospitalized that I saw my father's fighting spriit, his steely determination to live and enjoy life. That's where I saw my father the athlete. He simply didn't give up. In the three weeks he spent in the hospital the steroids ate away more than half of his muscle-tone but his heart was inexhaustible. The doctors at the ICU said they had never seen anything like it. And we were so proud of him, so proud to be his chosen ones."

Former England captain, Tony Lewis is full of praise for the Tiger: "Pataudi believed in cricket as a game of fierce opposition and fair play, of sportsmanship as well as skill. As broadcasters we spent much more time together.

Tony Lewis believes without Tiger's intelligence there never would have been a combination of Bedi, Chandrasekhar, Venkataraghavan and Prasanna spinning India to the top of world Test cricket - four spinners of high quality encompassing, as they did, many variations of flight and spin.

Suresh Menon, in his piece, the self-respect movement, says, his death at seventy brought to an end the era of the man who set the ball rolling towards India's No.1 ranking - a status achieved in his playing days, with victories in the West Indies and England, although it was under the leadership of Ajit Wadekar.

Menon adds: "Trevor Bailey, one of the best brains in the game, the finest man never to have captained England, once told me that if Tiger had not lost his eye, he would have been 'in the Bradman class'. Colin Bland, when I met him on India's first tour of South Africa, rated Tiger above Jonty Rhodes as a fielder at cover-point, because 'his anticipation was so good, he never got his trousers dirty by diving around'. No more endorsements are needed."

The book is a must for cricket enthusiasts who are ardent fans of both cricket and the Nawab of Cricket.