Umrigar was giant among men in his time | india | Hindustan Times
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Umrigar was giant among men in his time

india Updated: Nov 07, 2006 23:18 IST

Former India cricket captain Polly Umrigar died on Tuesday after a portracted battle with cancer. He was 80.

The end for Umrigar, who is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter, came at his home in Worli's Sports Field at around 8:30 pm in the presence of his near and dear ones. The funeral is scheduled to be held on Wednesday.

Pahlanji Ratanji Umrigar played in 59 Tests, captaining the country in 8 of these, and scored 3631 runs at an average of 42.22.

He was the first to score more than ten centuries -- 12 in all, a record which stood for long in his name till it was broken by a man whose batting he admired ardently -- Sunil Gavaskar.

Umrigar, the first Indian cricketer to play over fifty Tests, was a giant among cricketers in an era when defeat was more the rule than the exception for India in Test matches.

The man with the booming voice strode the Indian cricket scene like a colossus with his big-hitting prowess that got him the nick-name 'Palm-tree hitter' on tours to the West Indies twice during his career which stretched from 1948 to 1962.

Former Test batsman and chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar said the news of Umrigar's death was "shocking".

"He was our manager. I learnt a lot from him. I cannot express my grief in words," he said adding the void left by him would be difficult to fill.

Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterji also expressed his condolence in New Delhi.

One of the all time greats of Indian cricket, Umrigar played 59 Tests and scored 3631 runs at an average of 42.22. He also picked 35 wickets with his off-break bowling.

He led Indian in eight Tests, winning two and losing two.

After hanging his boots in 1962, Umrigar continued to serve Indian cricket as selector, tour manager and BCCI Executive Secertary.