Legendary cricketer and India’s oldest living Test cricketer, Dattajirao Gaekwad, passed away peacefully at his residence in Vadodara, Gujarat, on Tuesday, February 13th. He was 95 years old.
A Life Dedicated to Cricket
Gaekwad’s passion for cricket began early. At the age of 12, he became a student of C.S. Nayudu, brother of former Indian captain C.K. Nayudu, and honed his leg-spin and googly bowling skills. He made his Ranji Trophy debut in 1948 for Bombay University and later played for Baroda.
Gaekwad went on to represent India in 11 Test matches between 1952 and 1961, sharing the field with legends like Polly Umrigar and G. Ramachandran. He also captained Baroda to a historic Ranji Trophy victory in his first year at the helm, in the 1957-58 season. This win remains a defining moment in Baroda’s cricketing history.
Beyond the Playing Field
Gaekwad’s contributions to cricket extended beyond his playing career. He became the first captain of the MS University cricket team and later coached the Baroda Ranji team until 2000. He also served as the joint secretary of the Baroda Cricket Association and the comptroller of Baroda State during his early years.
Gaekwad’s passing leaves a void in the Indian cricketing community. He is remembered not only for his on-field achievements but also for his dedication to the sport and his contributions to nurturing young talent. In 2020, the postal department issued a commemorative cover to mark his 92nd birthday, a testament to his lasting impact.
Tributes Pour In
The cricketing fraternity took to social media to express their condolences and pay tribute to the legendary cricketer. Many prominent figures, including cricketers and administrators, acknowledged his talent, leadership, and contributions to the game.
Dattajirao Gaekwad’s life and career inspire generations of cricketers. His legacy will continue to be cherished by fans and players alike. He leaves behind a rich tapestry of cricketing memories and a spirit of dedication that will continue to motivate aspiring players.