Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi had spoken to Hindustan Times on August 11, when India was on the verge of losing its number 1 position in Tests.
To our knowledge, this was the last interview he had given to any journalist. He left for England soon after, and had to be hospitalised on his return to India. Pataudi said in this interview that he was keen to visit his birthplace Bhopal but was not sure when he could undertake the trip. “I will visit Bhopal but cannot say when,” Pataudi told HT over telephone. He also rubbished media reports that Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor will tie nuptial knot in Bhopal and said, “The reports carried by a few newspapers about the nikah and reception in Bhopal are not true.”
Here is the last interview as it appeared on August 12:
India seem determinedly headed for a series loss in England and losing their status as the best Test-playing nation. The two teams are playing for the Pataudi Trophy, named after Iftikhar Ali Khan Pataudi, whose son Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi was ironically the first Indian captain to win a Test series overseas.
From a not-so-important challenger who won their first Test series in New Zealand in 1967 to the world champion team of 2011, the current England series seems to trigger a slide from the summit.
HT on Wednesday spoke to the captain who started it all, Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, on the current form of the Indian team. “I don’t agree with Dhoni that the players are overworked and tired. If you are a professional cricketer, you are supposed to only play cricket. Playing too many matches cannot be an excuse,” he told HT on phone from Pataudi House near Delhi. He said the team was not mentally and physically fit to play the series and that they had a problem winning against even a weakened side like the West Indies in the last Caribbean tour. “If we are relying so heavily on Zaheer Khan, there is something wrong. Being a number 1 side, you can’t depend solely on certain individuals,” said the 70-year-old stylish cricketer of yesteryear. He still counts the West Indian side of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s and the Australian side from the ’90s till around 2009 as the true world champions. “They won in every country, under all conditions, against all opponents,” he said. Pataudi maintained that India had still not overcome their weakness on bouncy, swinging pitches. He, however, defended the inclusion of fresh-off-board Virendra Sehwag in the Third Test. “It was a gamble. If Sehwag did not get out early, the entire scenario would have changed. He has that kind of influence on a match,” he said. About the controversy regarding Ravi Shashtri and Sunil Gavaskar’s receiving whopping sums from the BCCI affecting their quality of commentary, Pataudi was candid. “If I had taken money from somebody, even I would find it difficult to speak against that person or organisation,” he said.