Pataudi – Nawab of Cricket

pataudi and sharmila

Book Review: On the eve of Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement, I review a book about another ‘Nawab of Cricket’ who too played and retired at his own terms.
Though I am not a cricket buff, Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi has always fascinated me.
He was the Nawab of Pataudi, or, Tiger or Tyg to friends. This is why I picked up “Pataudi, Nawab of Cricket”, a book edited by Suresh Menon with, a foreword by Sharmila Tagore.
Here was a real Nawab, though without the privy purses and the title, but with a definite air of royalty. I’d even thought of Pataudi when Padmini Kolhapure planted a kiss on the cheek of Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales.
His marriage to Sharmila Tagore interested me. Here was a true-blue Nawab, who was marrying an actress, an actress whose family tree connected with Rabindranath Tagore. She had debuted in a Satyajit Ray film and had ‘shocked’ the world (the world that was interested in such things) by wearing a two-piece bikini and more important, was a Hindu. These people seemed to belong to a world that was way different from the world of Syed Shahabuddin and LK Advani.
I believe that their marriage added to their stature.
What impressed me was the stories about Pataudi losing his eye and yet bouncing back to become one of the greatest captains and cricketers in India. There might have been more details in some books, and if there was one I think “Tiger’s Tales”. I missed reading it. It was only from the articles that paid tributes to him after his death, that I learned more about him. I read every account, and forgot about it.
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