Mumbai: Salim 'Daddy' Durani getting the coveted C K Nayudu award from the Board of Control for Cricket in India is one of those decisions that will find few detractors. Enigmatic and in several ways incorrigibly, infuriatingly, hopelessly self-indulgent he may have been, but he is also a much-loved man in Indian cricket.
In more than three decades, I haven't come across anybody who has an ill-word to say about him. Where nuts and bolts existence is concerned, however, this does not mean much. For more than two-thirds of his life, he has struggled to maintain a lifestyle becoming of a stellar cricketer, often with disastrous results. His life skills have been poor to say the least, and while he may have fancied himself as a soldier of fortune, fact remains that either fortune has failed to smile on him often enough or he has spurned it consistently. But he retains his puckish sense of humour. He says he really deserves the Rs 15 lac purse that comes with the award because this can take care of his financial needs for five years at least!
Though I saw him first when India played the West Indies at the Brabourne Stadium in 1966-67 (and he made a scintillating half-century with a huge six in one innings) my abiding memory of Durani is from the 1972-73 series against Tony Lewis' England.