CHAT Seasoned journalist Kishin R Wadhwaney pens the story of the Nawabs of cricket
Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi was one of the most captivating personalities and death doesn’t seem to have affected 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 Mansoor Ali Khan 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 intregral 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. “Mansoor’s name has been emphasized in the title as a credit for his popularity and the indelible part he has played in the rise of Indian Cricket, definitely more than his father,” explains Wadhwaney. “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 summarizes.
“Mansoor was a very good friend of mine,” he says beginning the discussion on Tiger Pataudi.
Wadhwaney describes Mansoor as “commoner in public life”, unlike his father who was all in all “a nawab”. Mansoor inherited his sense of humour from Iftikhar.’ “He (Mansoor) played cricket on his merit and not because he was a nawabas blood was given preference in those days,” Wadhwaney points out.“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 don’t believe in half-baked stories and I also wanted to restrain myself from getting too personal,” he explains. Admitting that there are some grammatical errors in the book, Wadhwaney explains that they are “mere publishing errors” and assures that they would be corrected at the earliest.
M. M. A.