CHAT Kishin R. Wadhwaney pens the story of the Nawabs of cricket
Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi was a captivating personality and death doesn’t seem to have diminished his glory. January 5, his birthday, re-iterated his importance as a new biography hit the stands. The Nawab: Biography of the Legendary Cricketer Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi has been penned by noted sports journalist Kishin R. Wadhwaney.
Wadhwaney was compelled by Pataudi’s contributions to Indian cricket and his majestic personality to write this biography. Pataudi led India in 40 Tests out of 46 he played for the country from 1961-75. He held the record of being the youngest Test captain until Tatenda Taibu dethroned him in May 2004.
“I have been very close to the Pataudi family, particularly Tiger’s mother, Sajeda Begum, and that has helped me a lot while writing his book. Sajeda Begum was truly noble, highly methodical and an immensely affectionate person,” Wadhwaney says. “Sajeda provided me with very personal information about her family and rare photos of her son, which are an integral part of the book,” he adds.
Although it is named after Mansoor, the book also contains a detailed biography of his father, Iftikhar Ali Khan Pataudi. “Iftikhar was the first prince to grace the field as an Indian cricketer. He was an outstanding player and had done exceptionally well to play for England before agreeing to lead India against his former team in 1946,” the author mentions. Iftikhar Ali Khan Pataudi was considered one of the greatest batsmen during his era and his Test career consisted of three Tests each for India and England. His record for highest score in a university game stood for 74 years from 1931 to 2005. “Iftikhar was very outspoken, humorous, an upright individual and a very good cricketer,” Wadhwaney summarises.
Wadhwaney describes Mansoor as a “commoner in public life”, unlike his father who was a thorough “nawab”. “Mansoor was as good a cricketer as he was a human being,” Wadhwaney points out. His biggest contribution, according to the writer, was “diluting regionalism inside the team”. “He made players think of country before their respective regions.”
While the author has included these insights, he has ignored the flamboyant personal life of Pataudi, particularly his much-hyped romance with Sharmila Tagore. “I wanted to restrain myself from getting too personal,” he explains.
MUHAMMAD MUTAHHAR AMIN