New Delhi: Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi was the most admired India cricket captain. He led the country in 40 of his 46 Tests he played and most players who played with him insist that he was easily the greatest captain ever. He was a prince among cricketers.
Popularly known as Tiger, Pataudi was the first captain to make players of his generation feel they were no inferior to anyone in the world cricket. His teammates, who were divided and identified on regional lines, were made to realise that they were representing their country and not their linguistic states. He made them speak only in Hindustani, if not English. He drilled into their minds that they could beat any team if they played for each other and that bonding did wonders for Indian cricket. Under his captaincy the first Test victory overseas was achieved in New Zealand in 1967-68.
Captaincy was thrust on him at a tender age of 21 in difficult circumstances when captain Nari Contractor was felled by lethal bouncer on the 1961-62 tour of West Indies. He himself was recovering and getting adjusted to a vision impairment in his right eye after a car accident in England.