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'I struck the winning run and became a hero that day'

February 22, 2024 09:51 IST
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'We used to get Rs 250 for a Test match, and if the match was over in 4 days, 50 rupees were cut.'

IMAGE: Chandu Borde at the Chandu Borde Pavillion at the Poona Club. Photograph: Archana Masih/

"I made the winning stroke in Brabourne Stadium in Bombay and Raj Kapoor who was among the spectators came and lifted me up. Somebody took my bat and ran away. I lost my bat that day."

Chandu Borde, 90, played cricket for India for a decade and first class cricket for nearly 25 years. According to Sportstar magazine, which conferred its Lifetime Achievement Award on him at its annual awards last fortnight, Mr Borde scored 3,061 runs and took 52 wickets in the 55 Tests he played for India from 1958-1959 to 1969-1970. He went on to become manager of the Indian cricket team and was a member of the board of selectors as well as its chairman.

In his long association with India's Greatest Game, he has seen many a cricketing era unfold. He has seen the Three Greats -- Vijay Hazare [whom he played with], Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar [he was manager of the Indian team when Sachin debuted in Pakistan in 1989].

"During my pre-1967 IIT days in Mumbai, I used to go to the Test matches just to watch Borde and Durrani play," Kalyan Singhal, McCurdy Professor of Operations Management at the Merrick School of Business, University of Baltimore, recalled in an e-mail after reading the first part of the interview.

'I met Sunil Gavaskar in America about 30 years ago and was happy to learn that he was also a fan of Borde. I was surprised to see that Borde still has full hair," Professor Singhal added.

Among India's senior-most cricketers, someone who has played a part in Indian cricket's glorious journey to the pinnacle where it stands today, Mr Borde spoke to Nikhil Lakshman/ at the Poona Club where he comes to walk every evening.

The legend remembers scoring a century against the blazing West Indian fast bowlers without a helmet; missing another 100 in the same Test in Madras by merely 4 runs and the many golden memories from the cricket of his time.

The concluding segment of the two-part interview:


What is your cherished memory of playing for India?

It was a very exciting match against Australia on Dussehra day. I made the winning stroke at the Brabourne stadium in Bombay and Raj Kapoor who was among the spectators came and lifted me up. Somebody took my bat and ran away. I lost my bat that day. [Laughs].

There was no television at that time. People were glued to the radio on that auspicious day of Dussehra and praying for our team. People were listening to the commentary on the chowk. It was a moment that people still remember. I won the match for India and became a hero that day.

Watch: 'Facing the great West Indian attack without helmet was frightening'

All Videos: Archana Masih/


The other memorable moment was during the West Indian tour of India in 1958. We were not used to the speed of the West Indian bowlers. The first Test match against the West Indies was in Bombay, December 1958. I was run out in the first innings [7 runs. Borde scored 0 and 13 in the second Test in Kanpur.]

I was dropped from the third Test, but because I could field and bowl leg spin they retained me in the fourth Test in Madras, but again I got out.

Watch: How Mr Borde turned the tide against the fiery West Indies bowlers


Watch: 'Tiger Pataudi always called me 'Maestro'


Who were your friends in the cricket team you played in?

Bapu Nadkarni, Vijay Manjrekar, Ajit Wadekar, M L Jaisimha. I had good friends who played for Baroda like Dattajirao Gaekwad who was the captain of Baroda and former Indian captain. [Dattajirao Gaekwad passed away last week.]

Was there groupism at that time?

There was nothing like that. Players from the same place are naturally drawn together. For instance, players from the south would talk to each other in their own language. Similarly, there were many players from Bombay and Maharashtra who used to speak to each other in Marathi. When you are with your own people you can exchange your views comfortably. There was no groupism as such. The media just makes up such things.

Once we entered the team, we played as a team.

IMAGE: Mr Borde alongside photographs of himself in his playing days at the Chandu Borde Pavillion. Photograph: Archana Masih/

What were the facilities/arrangements off the field like when you played?

We did not stay in five star hotels. Sometimes there were 2-3 players sharing a room. We used to sit together and have dinner.

In 2007 when we won the series in England under Rahul Dravid's captaincy, I was the manager. The players had single rooms and would return to their rooms when the match was over.

Nowadays there is a lot of competition among the players. There are so many entrants waiting in line -- waiting for a player to fail so that they can find a place. Therefore, all the cricketers keep themselves fit and have to perform well. They are very disciplined. There is also a lot of money in the game now.

Do you regret not playing in today's time?

Not at all! We enjoyed and never thought about money. You will be surprised that we used to get Rs 250 for a Test match, and if the match was over in 4 days, 50 rupees were cut. [Laughs]. We never got the full Rs 250 either because some amount from there was given as tips to groundsmen, bearers etc.

I get a pension from the Board for playing for India. The pension amount depends on the number of matches played. Both men and women players get pension from the Board.

Once after we won a Test in four days in Kanpur in 1959, we were invited to dinner by a local industrialist who promised us thousand rupees each for our victory. I am still waiting for the thousand rupees. [Laughs].

Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/

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