Book on the former Indian captain, titled ‘Pataudi: Nawab of Cricket,’ released in the
It was an evening for the admirers of the late Mansur Ali Khan — the Nawab of Pataudi, or simply, ‘Tiger’ Pataudi. For those who grew up admiring his cricketing abilities, there was nostalgia. For those influenced by his personality, there was more to know about his way of being. And for all those wanting to know more about the man, there was the launch of a book titled Pataudi: Nawab of Cricket.
After releasing the book, Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor spoke of the influence Tiger, the cricketer and captain, had on him “having watched him from a great distance.” The evening came to life when legendary left-arm spinner Bishan Singh Bedi regaled the audience with his collection of anecdotes.
Noted sports writer and the editor of the book Suresh Menon, the former editor-in-chief of The Hindu, N. Ram, and Minister of External Affairs Salman Khurshid threw light on various facets of Tiger’s life. The most touching moment of the evening followed when daughter Soha Ali Khan read a portion of her contribution to the book.
Mr. Bedi’s anecdotes, filled with unabashed revelations, evoked repeated laughter from those present. Recalling that the first Test he saw was the one Tiger Pataudi played in, Mr. Bedi said: “Tiger was my first captain. Tiger was the first Indian captain to introduce the ‘Indianness’ to the team members. He never talked about his abilities or background. In fact, had he been alive, he would not have agreed with the title of the book that says, ‘Nawab of Cricket’. He was way ahead of his times,” Mr. Bedi said, as he paid glowing tributes to the former India captain in his inimitably entertaining way.
Mr. Ram brought forth Tiger Pataudi’s personality by recalling from the book, Tiger’s Tale – The Nawab of Pataudi, which was published in 1969. He talked about how the cricketer influenced everyone from “the worker down to the Editor” in the The Hindu and how everyone was affected by the “Tiger preference” during the 1960s.Mr. Ram urged Tiger’s wife Sharmila Tagore to make every effort to re-publish that book.
He recalled his observations of Tiger, as a journalist covering the home series against West Indies in 1974-75 and credited him for the quality of close-in fielders like Eknath Solkar, Abid Ali, S. Venkatraghavan, who helped Indian spinners take wickets and script the historic triumphs in the away-series against West Indies and England in 1971.
Agreeing that once Indian fielding was a “national embarrassment,” Mr. Ram recalled the days when “India had a fielding attack.” He highlighted the impact made by Tiger’s emphasis on India’s fielding and recalled, “Tiger once said, ‘I want to be a better fielder than my father was’.” He, however, disagreed with Mr. Tharoor’s suggestion that the write-up of Ted Dexter be removed from the next edition of the book. “There is no need to be intolerant about it. These are his reflections of cricket played those days.”
Mr. Menon, the book’s editor, recalled how Tiger encouraged him during his career and narrated several anecdotes. Mr. Khurshid revealed how he was keen to meet the cricketer but could never get close to him. He talked of Tiger’s dislike to politics and said, “He almost talked me out of it. Then smiled and said, you continue [in politics], but keep me out of it.”
The book, priced at Rs. 499, is a collection of reminiscences contributed by former players, actors, friends, editors and writers.