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'In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. But in the keen-eyed world of cricket, a fellow with just one good eye-and-a-bit has to settle for something less than the perfection he once sought. Lucky me, despite this, to have been able to play the game all over the world in the company of giants.' Pataudi  about himself.

The Times of India: Pataudi taught players to put country before self: Bedi
Partha Bhaduri, TNN | Sep 23, 2011 IST

There is an important reason why Tiger Pataudi stands head and shoulders above every other Indian cricket captain. He was the first man who brought into the dressing room a sense of 'Indianness', a feeling of belonging to, and playing for a country.

Neville Cardus said:  "There was suppleness and lithe grace which concealed power, as silkiness of skin conceals the voracity of strength in a beautiful animal of the jungle."


Brief, breezy and brilliant was the general tribute paid to M.A.K.Pataudi by so many in the month of September, particularly on 22 September 2011 onwards when he died of lung infection. How heroic he was I not merely wondered but felt most sincerely when I had my own right eye was bandaged for a week and found walking even in the small rooms of my apartment without hurting my legs an adventure in the month of September 2011 when I heard the news of his illness and death.

So little is known and remembered about the sports heroes of yesteryear's. In the case of politicians we have biographies and even mythographies by their admirers and sycophants. Someone should piece up the legendary bits and make a small portrait of Nawab of Pataudi. Also of Frank Worrel, the greatest gentleman cricketer who was the architect of cricket renaissance in the stodgy, dull, drawn cricket matches in the post Bradman era.

Nawab of Pataudi as we called him even though Indira Gandhi in her frenzied mood of populism in 1971 had abolished princely titles and privy purse, played cricket of the highest class, facing fierce fast bowlers when even helmets had not been introduced, lofted them over in fielders and even hit them for sixers. It would sound like fiction had it not actually happened, had not been seen by thousands of spectators all over the world and even mentioned in the record books of crickets.  ALL THIS WITH ONE EYE!

His horoscope as given here attracted me. More than that I remembered, as I recollect, as one who followed Indian and world cricket rather closely, the pride he had brought to us, Indians through what Indian cricket always lacked--the will to succeed and win. Remember the earlier generation of cricketers, earlier to Nawab of Pataudi, Hemu Adhikari and the great Vijay Hazare, patting the balls with a dead bat and drawing a Test match which our teenage generation was taught to treat as a triumph.We saw it all, we admired it and went home satisfied. We saw the great Vijay Merchant, Rusi Modi, Mustaq Ali, those brilliant batsmen, drop catches, failing to stop shots reaching the boundary lines, Vinoo Mankad fielding to his own bowling brilliantly, Polly Umrigar brilliant in outfield, and later Vijay Manjrekar and Chandu Borde as exceptionally brilliant fielders. But the in-field, particularly slips, short leg, leg slip, cover manned by men who seemed to think in their raja like moods that fielding was an act of servility aroused derision.

Worse, the Indian team, divided on linguistic, caste, community and regional basis, never seemed to play like a national team. Those were the days of great Dhyan Chand and Digvijay Singh Babu, of the golden era of Indian hockey. Cricket was the game of aristocrats or upper middle class families, forbiddingly costly and snobbish like tennis.

Getting defeated in Test cricket was as common as corruption in public life is in India these days. Getting white washed in foreign tours as Dhoni's team was in 2011 in England, and drawing matches on our own docile pitches in India in what were cricket melas, not contests, had entertained us still without any feeling of elation.

Three pronged approach of Pataudi
With deep thinking and consummately conceived three pronged strategy, he moulded the Indian team into a combative outfit:
a) With quartet of spinners like Prasanna, Bedi, Chandrasekhar and Venkatraghavan he decided to attack batsmen of foreign teams since India had no pacers like Kapil Dev then:
b) These spinners had world class  close-in fielders like Abid Ali, Rusi Surti, Venkatraghavan, Wadekar, Pataudi himself was a brilliant cover fieldsman and he had the most extraordinary Solkar:
c) And the spirit he infused in them is beatifully put, in the words of Prasanna thus:

Erapalli Prasanna, the former India spi nner, lauds Pataudi's captaincy skills: "It is a great personal loss, he was a very dear personal friend, he was my first captain, I learnt a lot from him. He was by far the best Indian captain to my mind of thinking. He was the first leader of Indian cricket who told everybody in the dressing room, 'look you are not playing for Delhi, Punjab, Madras, Calcutta or Bombay, you are playing for India. You are Indian.' That left a very very good mark on the minds of youngsters who played under him."

Many cricketers have talked of his sense of humor but I have not seen any of them reported. The one I read in newspapers is 'the ICC is the voice of cricket and the BCCI its invoice.''

My own personal list and opinion about the under performance of some famous Indian cricketers is very long but let me point out three of them whom I had seen play.

Vijay Merchant
I have not seen a more classy player with such exquisite late cut, behind the wicket strokes and classical technique. The usual Indian pettiness, each criticizing other, never putting up a solid front, involvement in petty to big intrigues left him disgusted and he often refused to play as he did on the eve of  the tour of Australia under the captaincy of Lala Amarnath. Mustaq Ali and Rusi Modi too have refused to play and we sent a weak team to Australis to face the formidable team of Don Bradman.

Pataudi himself
Loss of one eye left Pataudi as an inevitable under-performer. It was his bad luck.

Salim Durrani
Our generation had thought that Salim Durrani who could hit sixers on public demand, and bowl out a team on his day, lacked motivation all his life, would have become a world class all-rounder.

Even Pataudi under whom he played failed to motivate him unlike others like Prasanna , Bedi, Venkatraghavan, Chandrasekhar and Eknath Solkar who according to me was the greatest ever in-fielder of the world during his time.

I have had no occasion to make predictions about him as I got his horoscope many years after he had retired. I have made predictions about Saurav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar in writing and even television programs, discussed the horoscopes of V.V.S. Laxman, Rahul Dravid and others often in small groups or class room. I got correct birth time of Virendra Sehwag from his closest relative though on the website others used a wrong birth date which they have corrected now. The mother of Ashish Nehra came to me and got successful predictions about her son.

I dug out the horoscope of Tiger Pataudi from my records after his death and looked at it as my admiration for him has been very great always.

MAK Pataudi1. Death of father in Ketu Mars on his birthday on 5 January 1952.

2) Venus Moon period of his life was a strange period of loss of one eye and selection for the Indian Test team, and captaincy thrust on him after the tragic end of the career of Nari Contractor when a Charlie Griffith ball nearly killed him in the pre-helmet era. Incidentally, while many people have cursed Griffith, I distinctly remember to have read a report that when Contractor was in the hospital struggling with death, he had stood outside the hospital whole night, weeping and not eating food. The human side of that story of Griffith should also be remembered and he praised for it.

Venus Jupiter period both exalted in the navamsha was the period in which he brought glory to India when India achieved its first ever overseas victory over a foreign team on foreign soil. The colonial inferiority complex thrust on us and petty squabbles Indians are known for seemed to have come to an end, at least temporarily.

Then he was in news because of his romance with Sharmila Tagore.

Saturn Venus
"It was suggested that Merchant's animosity towards you was rooted in his differences with your father, and that he got even by using his casting vote to keep you out of the side in 1971." This was the question put to Pataudi and he gave an evasive reply.

Yes, in this period Pataudi lost his captaincy, his Privy Purse and regal title and even lost in election when he contested parliamentary elections. But in this period he married Sharmila Tagore, a glamor girl of Bollywood of that era. (Dec 1969)

Why I admired him is for precisely the same reason for which I admired Gavaskar who could hit back the racially arrogant Australians and remember his attacking speech delivered at MCC after which the Australian seemed to have reduced their sledging for some months at least. I have liked Saurav Gaunguly who groomed youngsters and rallied Indian team behind him to mould a winning team of which Dhoni took full advantage till the disastrous tour of England of 2011.

Pataudi had an enviable advantage of his education in England, friendship with white players and of course his royal background to mold the Indian team into a winning combination without having to show the arrogant racially patronizing visitors their place.

He died in Rahu Venus-Moon.

I have always felt that Indians pulling each others legs, intriguing against each other, never putting up a determined united front, as happened I had to fight single-handedly the astrology case in the Supreme Court in 2003, will never improve, that being our history whether during our sordid history of foreign rule or even now.

Between the reams and reams of such stories of sordid behavior, there comes and shines resplendently a chapter which is the Pataudi chapter, though a very small chapter.

(26 September 2011)

Another tribute

My tribute to Nawab Pataudi 
Date: Mon, 26 Sep 2011
Manoj Pathak

No more roar
Tiger Mansoor Ali khan Pataudi is no more. He succumbed to lung infection and with him an era of Indian cricket is bygone.

Tiger who shot to fame, partly because of his regal blood, and partly because of his elegant looks and largely because of his cricketing skills, had his share of great times. He lost his eye in an accident and overcame that handicap by scoring freely against cricketing giants of that time. He transformed a meekly Indian squad into a formidable opposition who started believing in themselves and their skills and that they could win against other countries. He was the first captain of Indian team, the youngest ever, who realized that the strength of Indian cricket lies in its power of spin than pace. His pat on the back of Bishan Bedi, Bhagwat Chandrashekhar, Erapalli Prasanna and Venkataraghvan, transformed sleeping Lions into Killing Lions on soils abroad.

His marriage to Sharmila did no damage to his fame, which shot up and the stories of their romance kept making news in non-so-glossy magazines of that era. In fact, a famous, joke was also in circulation during those days. It went something like, Pataudi was playing a match and Sharmila calls up the dressing room. She is told that Pataudi saab is out batting and she says, 'no worries, i will hold the line, he would be back soon.'

Who can forget his classy innings of 203 and then not so famous five runs in over an hour of batting and his mauling of Vanburn Holder of West Indies in Chennai Test. I still remember vividly, Pataudi ji had retired hurt and as per need of the team, he came back to bat. Holder was bowling at that time. Pataudi took 20 or 24 runs off him in one over and commentator Prem Kumar ji had remarked, Holder ji ka pant dheela kar diya hai Nawab saab ne.

My remembrance for that departed soul. May god give us more such Men, who matter? My condolences to his family for them to bear this loss. Nation joins them today in this hour grief.

Keywords: KN Rao, Journal of Astrology, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bedi, Jyotish, Indian Astrology, Hindu Astrology, Vedic Astrology, Jupiter, Saturn, Rahu, Kundli, Horoscopes, MAK Pataudi, Indian Cricket

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