M.A.K. Pataudi – An Indubitable Genius

Written by  //  September 23, 2011  //  Sport  //  3 Comments

I lost a contact lens, while walking home today. I am short sighted on both my eyes and with my right eye partly – only partly – blinded, I was utterly disoriented. I trudged on with as much care as I could muster, stopping at a traffic signal to check my twitter feed. Tributes were pouring in for Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi – ‘Tiger’ Pataudi – who had sadly died, in Delhi, with a lung infection. Here I was, struggling to orient myself with the loss of my right contact lens, while this man had made test match hundreds with one good eye. Genius is often difficult to fathom, I thought, but has it ever been so unmistakable?

Even leaving aside his vision, Pataudi was a very good batsman, a great fielder, and, arguably, an even better captain. As Raju Bharatan said, in the Hindu, after Pataudi was awarded the C.K. Nayudu Award in 2001, “Tiger it was who brought the Indian cricket team out of its slavish British fixation, a fixation abiding in the 1960s. Tiger inspirationally let it be known that each member of the Indian team simply had to learn to stand shoulder to shoulder when face to face with the white man on the field of play. Tiger’s being in no way awed by the white-skinned opponent helped cut the Gordian knot of the Indian team’s facing the `Englishman to man”.”

And it was Pataudi, crucially, who got the best out of the famous quartet of spinners – B.S. Chandrasekhar, Bishan Bedi, Erapalli Prasanna, and S. Venkataraghavan. As Prasanna puts it: “He 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.”

Till this date, though, whenever I had thought of Pataudi, his impaired vision had played but a minimal role in my consideration. In spite of making the odd public appearance, and in spite of being the husband and father of popular film stars, Pataudi had an air of detached elegance to him – he was an almost debonair, mythical figure to me. Every time I saw him, I wished I had been there to watch him bat. Oh boy, he must have been fun to watch, I used to think.

Today, though, I wonder, how much greater he could have been had he had two good eyes. I am led to believe that the Indian media, particularly the broadcast media, is inundated with accolades concentrating on his impaired vision as opposed to appreciating his pure contribution to the sport. For Pataudi, notwithstanding his eyesight, was indubitably a great cricketer. The Internet, though, mercifully, contains enough tributes that narrate the Pataudi story with authority and excellence that only those who had seen him closely can provide, so I won’t tread down that path. What I can say, though, is that despite my reluctance to concentrate on his impaired vision, the circumstances of the day – with his genius presenting itself to me so obviously – commands me to wonder how much greater he could have been with two good eyes.

3 Comments on "M.A.K. Pataudi – An Indubitable Genius"

  1. rajasekaran k September 25, 2011 at 3:35 pm ·

    Tiger was not only a good batsman,but also an excellent fielder.you are right!we can not think of tiger without referring to his eye sight.At the same time one should not ignore the fact that he was a nawab and had his education in London and such a regal background was a dream for other cricketers of his time. His father was also a v.i.p.no wonder he became the youngest captain of India and the record is still in tact.I too feel that he would have achieved much more if he had not lost his eye sight in one eye.He was sophisticated and known for his sarcastic one liners.What made him to stage a come back even after losing the eye sight?An English writer asked.pat came the reply,’After seeing the English bowlers bowl”.This reply is always etched in my mind.

  2. cheap eyeglasses and frames prescription glasses December 15, 2013 at 4:18 am ·

    My brother recommended I might like this web site. He was
    once entirely right. This submit truly made my day.
    You can not imagine simply how much time I had spent for this information!
    Thank you!

  3. stock prices online September 15, 2014 at 3:20 pm ·

    I’m really loving the theme/design of your web site.

    Do you ever run into any web browser compatibility
    issues? A couple of my blog audience have complained about my blog not operating correctly in Explorer but
    looks great in Opera. Do you have any suggestions to help fix this issue?

    My site – stock prices online

Comments are now closed for this article.