Iftikhar Ali Khan Pataudi: Life and Death in the sporting arena

Pataudi Sr.jpg

The only cricketer to play for both India and England, Iftikhar Ali Khan Pataudi gained fame by scoring a hundred on debut for the latter and then renown by apparently refusing to take a position in Douglas Jardine’s Bodyline field on the leg-side. “I see His Majesty is a conscientious objector,” Jardine seems to have commented before sending Hedley Verity to take up the desired position in the leg-trap.

At the same time, his hundred was deemed too slow (strke rate 26.84) by his captain. Either that or his disagreement with the skipper led to his being dropped after the following Test (20 runs in two innings off 114 balls) . There is also the evidence of his having fielded in the leg trap in the Tests after his initial refusal.

Pataudi Sr’s career did not see great feats with the bat. He led India on their 1946 tour to England, but the Nawab’s collection was limited to a total of 199 runs in all his 6 Tests at 19.90. But he did have a major role to play in the early cricketing development of India in the 1930s and 1940s.

Pataudi Sr died tragically young, at the age of 41, while playing polo, on the 11th birthday of his son and future Indian captain Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi.

IAK Pataudi was born on March 16, 1910

Text: Arunabha Sengupta
Illustration: Maha