Dattajirao Gaekwad, the country's longest-living Test player, bid farewell on Tuesday at the age of 95. The former cricketer, known for his keen eye for talent and significant contributions to Baroda cricket, breathed his last at his residence in Baroda. Gaekwad's cricket career spanned almost nine years, during which he played 11 Test matches for India.
Primarily recognized as a batter, Dattajirao Gaekwad also showcased his versatility by bowling medium pace and leg spin. His Test career, which began with a debut against England in Leeds in June 1952, concluded with a match against arch-rivals Pakistan in Chennai in January 1961. Throughout his international journey, Gaekwad amassed 350 runs in 20 innings, displaying his batting prowess, including a memorable half-century.
While Gaekwad's Test career was relatively brief, he made a significant impact in the domestic cricket scene. Playing 110 first-class games, he accumulated an impressive total of 5788 runs at an average of 36.40. His contributions included 17 centuries and 23 half-centuries, showcasing his consistent and formidable presence in the cricketing arena. In addition to his batting exploits, Gaekwad also contributed with the ball, claiming 25 wickets during his first-class career.
The news of Dattajirao Gaekwad's passing was shared by former India allrounder Irfan Pathan on social media. Pathan paid a heartfelt tribute, recalling Gaekwad's tireless efforts in scouting young talent for Baroda cricket, shaping the future of the team. Gaekwad's leadership during India's 1959 tour of England was notable, despite the team facing challenges and a clean sweep.
The cricketing community mourns the loss of a legend, and Dattajirao Gaekwad's contributions to the sport will be remembered as a significant chapter in Indian cricket history.
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