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'Hanumant deserved to play more'

Last updated on: November 29, 2006 18:38 IST

Former Test batsman Hanumant Singh, who died at a hospital in Mumbai on Wednesday, should have represented the country in more matches than he did, said his one-time India colleagues.

"Hanumant was the most unlucky cricketer who should have played more for India. He would have been the ideal batsman against pace on the 1967-68 tour of Australia, especially seeing the way he played against them at home [1964]", said former left-arm spinner and gutsy lower-order batsman Bapu Nadkarni.

Hanumant, who played 14 Tests, was unfortunate to miss out as he was strangely declared medically unfit for that tour due to a knee bruise and went on to play for 10 more years in domestic cricket, Nadkarni added.

Echoing Nadkarni's views, former India skipper Ajit Wadekar, who was Hanumant's colleague in the State Bank of India team, said that the departed cricketer deserved more India caps.

"Hanumant was one of the finest batsmen I have played with or against. He had all the strokes. He was a perfect team man. I wish he had played more Test cricket. He was the major thorn for us against Rajasthan and Central Zone. We knew if we could get him the rest will follow", Wadekar said.

Wadekar also recalled that he and Hanumant had joined the SBI on the same day, August 8, 1965, and they had a close-knit group of five first class cricketers, out of which now only he survived.

"We were a close-knit group of five -- Hanumant, Budhi [Kunderan, the former Test stumper], Baloo [Gupte, former Test leg-spinner), Jimmy [Sharad] Diwadkar [former Mumbai
], and I. We were always together and of the lot, I am the only one left... very sad", said the former stylish left-handed batsman.

"He [Hanumant] was very serious about the game throughout, even after he retired, and was involved in coaching. He was a very knowledgeable cricketer", Wadekar said.

Nadkarni described Hanumant, nick-named Chhotu, as a gentleman to the core who had deep knowledge about the game and served it as a coach till his death.

"He had a natural grace. Like Rusi Modi [another former Test batsman], he was poetry in motion while batting. A very unfortunate cricketer, I am so sorry he died", said Nadkarni.

Hanumant's close friend for decades, his one-time Rajasthan team colleague and former Board of Control for Cricket in India chief Raj Singh Dungarpur was lost for words when PTI contacted him at Dungarpur.

"I am rushing back for the funeral. I am not in a frame of mind to talk now", said Dungarpur.


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