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'Umrigar gave a lot to the game'
November 08, 2006 10:35 IST
Former India captain Polly Umrigar died at the age of 80 after losing his battle with cancer on Tuesday.
Umrigar played in 59 Tests between 1948 and 1962 and was captain for eight of them.
He was the first Indian to hit a Test double century and scored 3,631 runs at an average of 42.22, with 12 hundreds and 14 fifties. He also took 35 wickets with his off spin.
Umrigar's double century, 223, came in the drawn first Test against New Zealand at home in November 1955.
After retiring, he served as chairman of national selectors, tour manager and a member of the Board of Control for Cricket in India.
BCCI President Sharad Pawar's pays tribute to the legend:
I am deeply distressed to learn that Polly Umrigar is no more. He was not only one of the all-time great cricketers of our time, but he has given much more to the game in various capacities even after his playing days were over. His contribution to the growth of cricket in the country in general and Mumbai in particular will always be remembered.
As a national selector and manager of the India team, he had been hailed as a fair man with an incisive mind. He would figure in everyone's all-time India team. His greatest contribution to Indian cricket came as an administrator when he steered the Board of Control for Cricket in India as its Executive Secretary at a most crucial juncture. It was the time when the Board was expanding its cricketing activities with the first flush of sponsorship money.
An unassuming gentleman, he had been a regular at every major cricket game or function in Mumbai and we missed him the other day when the Board entered its new headquarters at the Wankhede Stadium and also as one of the former captains, who were honoured on the occasion. He was conspicuous by his absence at the Champions Trophy matches at the Cricket Club of India, which was his second home.
But none of us thought the end was no year as he had battled a terminal disease with fortitude.
He will be a great inspiration to the coming generations of cricketers in the country just as all of us admired him while he was playing.
I on my own and the Board's behalf offer my condolences to the breaved family.
The Board already has the Under-15 tournament named after him, but we would like to institute a trophy to be awarded to the Most Promising Cricketer of the Year from this season on and the recipient will get a cheque of Rs. 5 lakhs.