Tributes paid to Indian cricketer 'Tiger' Pataudi

MAK Pataudi Pataudi was the youngest Indian cricket captain ever

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Tributes have been paid to Indian cricket legend Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi who died in the capital Delhi, aged 70, on Thursday.

His funeral is being held at his native village in Pataudi, outside the capital, Delhi, on Friday.

He was the youngest captain in the Indian cricket team's history and is regarded as one of the finest ever.

Cricketers and the media described Pataudi as a charismatic player who transformed Indian cricket.

Pataudi became the country's youngest national captain at the age of 21, months after being involved in a car crash which damaged his right eye.

Nicknamed Tiger, Pataudi came from an aristocratic background and was a flamboyant batsman and an agile fielder.

The Hindu newspaper called Pataudi a "a prince among cricketers".

"Arriving at a time when India was a perennial underdog in the Test arena, he wielded individual talents into a world-class team and led it with magisterial self-assurance and rare tactical nous", the newspaper said in an editorial.

Writing in the Hindustan Times, cricket analyst Pradeep Magazine said that "if there had been no Pataudi, Indian cricket would have taken much more time to graduate into a combative, cohesive unit, which played to win and not lose".

'Terrible loss'

Former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar described Pataudi as the "most charismatic cricketer of his generation".

"To bat with almost zero vision in one eye and still to score nearly 3,000 runs and half a dozen centuries in Test cricket tells you what a genius he was," Gavaskar said.

Former Pakistan captain Imran Khan echoed a similar sentiment.

"Anyone who knows batting, knows that it's difficult to play with one eye, specially [to play] fast bowling. What he achieved with one eye, the sort of ability he had, what sort of a player he could have become," he said.

Indian cricket star Sachin Tendulkar said Pataudi was a "hero" and his death was a "a terrible loss to the cricketing world".

Start Quote

MAK Pataudi

To bat with almost zero vision in one eye and still to score nearly 3000 runs and half a dozen centuries in Test cricket tells you what a genius he was”

End Quote Sunil Gavaskar Former Indian captain

Former bowling stars Bishen Singh Bedi and EAS Prasanna credited Pataudi with forging India's devastating spin bowling attack in the 1970's and 1980's.

"His faith in the spinners was absolute and we all prospered under his captaincy .. We won't find the likes of him in a long, long time. His voice cannot be filled. A great, great chapter of Indian cricket has come to a close," Bedi said.

Prasanna said Pataudi was "primarily responsible for developing India's spin quartet in an aggressive role similar to what the West Indians had later in form of the pace quartet".

Pataudi played 46 test matches for India's national team between 1961 and 1975. He led his team in 40 of these games, and won nine of them.

He led India to their first Test series win on foreign soil, when the team beat New Zealand 3-1 in 1968.

He also edited a now-defunct sports magazine and served as a TV commentator.

Pataudi's father, Iftikhar Ali Khan, played for both England and India in Tests.

Since 2007, the Pataudi Trophy, named after the family, has been awarded to the winner of bilateral Test series between India and England.

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