Arzan Nagwaswalla, a left-arm seamer from Gujarat, was selected on May 7, 2021, to tour with the Indian team to England later in the summer, as a reserve bowler. What makes Nagwaswalla’s selection unique is that he is reportedly the first Parsi cricketer to be selected for the senior men’s team since Farokh Engineer played his last Test in 1975.
We look at some prominent cricketers from the community who have played for India.
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Farokh Engineer A dashing wicket-keeper batsman, Engineer happens to be the last Parsi male to play Test cricket for India. An attacking batsman, Engineer once scored 94 runs in one session against a strong West Indian attack in Madras in 1966-67. He kept wicket to India’s famed spin quartet. From 1961 to 1975, Engineer scored 2611 runs in 46 Tests. He was also a Brylcreem model.
Polly Umrigar Pahlan “Polly” Ratanji Umrigar was one of the most prolific Parsi cricketers India has produced. A tall, right-handed batsman, Umrigar played 59 Tests, scoring 3631 runs with 12 centuries, from 1948 to 1962. He held the record for most runs and centuries by an Indian in Tests before Sunil Gavaskar broke it. He was also the first Indian to score a double-century in Tests. He also captained India in eight games.
Rustomji Jamshedji Rustomji Jamshedji played in India’s first ever Test match on home soil, in 1933-34. At 41 years and 27 days, he remains the oldest Indian Test debutant. That was the only Test he ever played, in which he took three wickets.
Rusi Modi Rusitomji Sheriyar Modi played ten Tests for India between 1946 and 1952, with one century and six half-centuries. In 1944-45, he scored more than 1000 runs in a Ranji Trophy season, making him the first batsman to do so.
Nari Contractor A former India captain, Nari Contractor’s career was cruelly cut short when he was struck on the head facing West Indian fast bowler Charlie Griffith in 1962. He had played 31 Tests till that point, scoring 1611 runs but never played for India since. A left-handed batsman, Contractor made his debut in 1955. At 26, he was the youngest Indian captain.
Rusi Surti A left-handed batsman and versatile left-arm bowler who could bowl medium-pace and spin, Surti played 26 Tests for India between 1960 and 1969. His best moments with the Indian team came during the tours of Australia and New Zealand in 1967-68 where he scored nearly 700 runs in eight Tests.
Diana Edulji Diana Edulji is one of the finest women cricketers India has produced, playing 20 Tests between 1976 and 1991. She also captained the Indian team. A left-arm spinner, Edulji was also a stalwart for Railways. She was awarded the Padma Shri for her services to the women’s game and in more recent years served as a top cricket administrator.