Dattajirao Gaekwad: Remembering the Cricketing Legend

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GG News Bureau
New Delhi, 13th Feb. Dattajirao Gaekwad, an accidental captain of the Indian cricket team, displayed remarkable talent during his brief stint in the limelight. Renowned for his cover drives, which rivaled those of the iconic Vijay Hazare, Gaekwad’s potential warranted more than the 11 Test matches he played.

He passed away on Tuesday in his hometown of Baroda at the age of 95, leaving behind a legacy that extends beyond his statistical achievements.

During Gaekwad’s era, cricket wasn’t always measured solely by statistics. Despite his Test average remaining under 20, his leadership was tested during India’s challenging tour of England in 1959, where he captained the team in four out of five Tests. However, his tenure was scrutinized for lacking the spark and charisma associated with effective leadership.

Critics speculated that Gaekwad’s rise to the captaincy was influenced by nepotism due to his close ties with Fatehsinh Gaekwad, the Maharaja of Vadodara, who managed the national team and had been his patron since a young age. Wisden, the authoritative voice in cricket, was critical of his leadership, describing it as lacking energy and personality.

Despite the challenges at the international level, Gaekwad shone in domestic cricket, particularly for Baroda, playing a pivotal role in their maiden Ranji Trophy triumph in 1957-58. His performances were often overshadowed by Vijay Hazare, a cricketing legend of the era. Even when Gaekwad scored a century, Hazare’s feats often garnered more attention.

Gaekwad made his international debut against England in 1952 and played his final Test against Pakistan in 1961. In the Ranji Trophy, he represented Baroda from 1947 to 1961, accumulating over 3000 runs at an average of 47.56, including 14 centuries.

Despite his understated career as an international cricketer, Dattajirao Gaekwad gave his all on the field. As captain of the Indian team, he carved out his own piece of history, an achievement that remains a testament to his dedication and perseverance, indelibly etched in the annals of Indian cricket.

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