It was an evening to remember one of India’s greatest captains — the late Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, who passed away in 2011.
In an annual memorial lecture instituted by the BCCI in Pataudi's honour, Sunil Gavaskar, delivering the lecture, said the desire to win and the aggression required to do so was instilled in the India team under the Nawab.
“He changed the mindset. The Indian team was run over by any team. He gave the team the confidence that you can play against any team and win,” Gavaskar said.
He also recollected the funny side of ‘Tiger’, the pranks he played on his team, including the orchestration of a hostage scene. On a serious note, the former India opener appealed to the administrators of the game to ensure Test cricket remains the pinnacle of the sport. The call comes at a time when T20 poses a big threat to the survival of the longer format.
“Test level is how the players should be rated…not the ODIs and T20s,” he said.
Gavaskar stressed the need for major Test-playing nations to take the step forward to keep the format strong, by preparing balanced wickets, “which would make the game competitive and interesting.” “It is Test cricket which separates men from the boys, I would request all administrators to look into it," he said.
There was no one from the Pataudi family at the function. Sharmila Tagore, the Nawab's wife, was indisposed.