when Polly Umrigar blasted 172 not out against West Indies This was the innings played by Pali Umrigar on a tour of the West Indies at a time when the Indian team was struggling to score big after the Faloan.
Today's all-rounders may boast about their abilities, but if they remember the fifth and sixth decade of the last century, they will find their feat faded. Imagine what it would be like to face the storming West Indian fast bowlers on a damp-laden pitch kept open overnight without helmets, arm guards, and Thai pads.
With this modern equipment of cricket, even today a battered batsman comes out to play with full confidence and can easily score runs. In those days when there was no ban on throwing bouncers, standing in front of the saintly balls of speed sultans like Frank Warrell and Wesley Hall was a big crook. At the same time, Polly Umrigar (Polly Umrigar) showed such amazing with bat and ball, the story of which is told even today.
West Indies tour
He scored 172 runs in 248 minutes in the fourth Test (April 4-9) of the five-match Test series against the West Indies in 1962 at the Port of Spain and was not out. The date on that day was 7th April and these runs were made in such a situation when the character of the player is truly tested. The West Indies won the toss and decided to bat, declaring the first innings at 444 for nine. Rohan Kanhai scored a century (139) and four other players scored a half-century. Pali Umrigar took five wickets for 107 runs in 56 overs with 24 maidens. He averaged 1.91 runs. The lead bowler of the team, Russian Surti, did not get any wickets. Chandu Borde was also wicket-less.
India's first innings
Under the captaincy of Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, the Indian team's reply to this big score was poor. Dilip Sardesai was reduced to zero by Wesley Hall. Surti also returned to the pavilion without bothering the scorer. Five wickets had fallen for just 30 runs. Umrigar, who came after this and scored 56 runs in his style and was the top scorer of the innings. He was followed by Pataudi with 47 runs and Borde contributed 42 runs. The Indian team was bowled out for 197 runs in 80.3 overs. Hall took five wickets for 20 runs in 9 overs. Great all-rounder Garry Sobers of the hosts took two wickets for 48 runs in 25 overs.
After the follow
West Indies captain Frank Warrell landed India for the follow-on. ML Jayasimha came in to bat in the opener with Vijay Mehra replacing Sardesai. Although the first wicket as a new opening batsman fell for 19 runs after that Mehra played a big 144-run partnership with Salim Durrani. Durrani scored 104 runs. Despite this, the danger was not averted due to the faltering of the middle order. Vijay Manjrekar, who scored four runs in the first innings, was dismissed cheaply (13 runs) in the second innings as well. Captain Pataudi, who hit 47 runs in the first innings, went to the pavilion for one run.
Great game of Umrigar
The fifth wicket as Durrani came after the fall of Umrigar and hit the ground with his game. His performance in this Test match will undoubtedly be called the best. He scored a century in 156 minutes and played 203 balls to reach 150 runs. When opposition captain Hall took the second new ball, he hit four fours in the first over. The entire team was dismissed for 422 runs. He had 172 runs in the last 230 runs of India's innings. He was not out, meaning if he had got a partner, he could have got two double centuries in his name. Despite this great performance by Umrigar, India lost the match. The West Indies lost 176 wickets to score the required 176 runs.
In this match, he equaled Veenu Mankad's record of taking a century and five wickets. In this series, he had 445 runs and nine wickets in his account. The charismatic player, who scored the first double century for the country with 223 runs in 1955 against New Zealand, scored 3631 runs in 59 Tests at an average of 42. In his 15-year-long career, he scored 12 centuries. The record of his centuries was later broken by Sunil Manohar Gavaskar. Troubled by back pain, Umrigar retired from international cricket in 1962. The same year he was awarded the Padma Shri. He continued to serve his first love cricket in different roles until he said goodbye to the world in the year 2006.
The link between two generations
Born on 28 March 1926 in a Parsi family in Solapur, Maharashtra, Umrigar made his first-class debut at the age of 18. Teams were then formed in Bombay based on religion. Umrigar used to play from the Parsi team. In October 1948, against the West Indies team that visited India, they were converted by making 115 on behalf of the team of Combined Universities. Umrikar, about six feet tall, was of a very strong stature. His playing style was different from his contemporaries. Under the influence of Vijay Merchant and Vijay Hazare, the Indian team then went on a wicket-saving strategy to draw the match, but Umrigar was accustomed to taking risks. He loved to bowl fours and sixes to the fast bowlers. In this way, he is remembered as the link between the old and new school of Indian cricket.