Bowing to pressure from the Pataudi family, particularly his wife Sharmila Tagore, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Wednesday finally decided to institute an annual lecture after former captain late Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi.
“The memorial lecture will be an humble recognition of his contribution to the sport,” BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale said in a statement.
Tagore had written a scathing letter to BCCI president N. Srinivasan over the delay in taking a decision over the Pataudi Lecture and Pataudi Trophy for last year’s India-England Test series.
The BCCI, however, had said that it was not possible to name the Test series after the former skipper since the series was always known as Anthony De Mello Trophy, first board secretary, since 1951.
But better sense prevailed and the board finally agreed to pay an annual tribute to Pataudi by instituting the lecture on the lines of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture and the Bradman Oration.
The inaugural Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi Memorial Lecture will be delivered by cricketing legend Sunil Gavaskar, Feb 20 at the Taj Coromandel, Chennai.
“The annual lecture will be part of the Indian cricket season. It has been envisaged as a forum for a speaker from across the world to share his thoughts on the glorious game, as a way to help evolve it further. The audience will comprise like-minded individuals and other key stakeholders of the sport,” said Jagdale.
Pataudi, known to the cricketing world as “Tiger”, represented India in 46 Tests from 1961-62 to 1974-75, and scored 2,793 runs, inclusive of six centuries.
He captained the national side in 40 Tests, and was in charge when India registered their first-ever Test series win on foreign soil, in New Zealand in 1967-68.
He was one of those who, with his accomplishments and encouragement to the country’s junior cricketers in the 1960s, helped lay the foundation for India’s rise as a cricketing power in the subsequent decades.
The 2011 India-England Test series in England was called the Pataudi Trophy, in honour of the Pataudi family — the father-son duo of Iftekar Ali Pataudi and Mansoor Ali Khan — by the England Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in 2007. Iftekar Ali played for both England and India.
The Trophy was named after a suggestion by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the first England-India Tests.