9 things you should know about D.B Deodhar
A pioneering figure of Indian cricket in pre-indipendant India, D.B Deodhar long career spanned over two the World Wars and 34 First-class seasons.
Dinkar Balwant Deodhar born in Pune, fondly known as the Grand Old Man of Indian Cricket was a prolific batsman of the pre-independence era. An aggressive right-hand batsman and part-time leg break bowler, D.B Deodhar also captained Maharashtra in Ranji Trophy from 1939 – 1941.
In his first-class career span of 81 matches and 34 first class seasons, he scored 4522 runs at an average of 39.32, with a highest score of 246. It was perhaps unfortunate, that by the time India became a Test-playing nation, he was considered to be past his prime- clearly a wrong judgment by the selectors, as he continued to amass runs in First class matches.
It was perhaps fitting that he completed a century in real life too, departing for his second innings at the age of 101, passing away in 1993.
Here are 9 things about the great man every single Indian Cricket fan should know about:
1. Deodhar Trophy
Deodhar Trophy- the most prestigious limited overs tournament of Indian cricket is named after him. Started in 1973, it is an ODI tournament between five zonal teams of India.
In 2009, the BCCI scrapped the Deodhar Trophy due to a tightly packed domestic calendar. It was brought back for the subsequent seasons.
2. Century against MCC
Lord Tennyson’s XI had come to tour India in 1937-38, to play matches against cricket teams of British India. Even against a line-up of world class bowlers, Doedhar was too good to put down, especially on his home turf Poona. It was his brilliant knock of 118 that saved Maharashtra’s grace and ended the match in a tie.
3. “Too Old” to Play Test Cricket
In 1932, when the first Indian Test team was being selected to tour England, the selectors considered Deodhar, who was 40 at that time, to be “too old” for test cricket. Deodhar, undeterred, continued to play first class matches with elan.
4. No-nonsense captain
The iconic batsman was considered to be a no-nonsense captain, and was crucial in establishing Maharashtra as a feared opposition in Indian cricket. He led them to the Ranji Trophy in two consecutive seasons, in 1939-40 and 1940-41.
4. Double ton at 48
Being overlooked for the Test team did not affect his playing style, and his stellar form in the 1940 Ranji season proved the selectors wrong. Two months short of his 49th birthday, he had scored a spectacular 246 against Vijay Merchant’s Bombay- the most feared Indian side of those times. His double ton helped Maharashtra put up a mammoth total of 675.
5. Inspiring youngsters Off-field
When he wasn’t playing cricket, the star batsman would teach at the S.P College in Pune, where he was the Sanskrit professor. He was equally admired off-field as he was on-field.
6. Century in each of the innings
Maharashtra were playing their first Ranji match of 1944-45 at Deodhar’s favourite cricket ground, the Poona Club Ground, when he added another feather to his cap. Maharashtra were 3 wickets down for 34 when the 52-year-old Deodhar walked out to bat. He steadied the first innings with his 105, and added another quickfire 141 in the second innings. He added 216 runs along with Madhav Paranjpe, winning the match for Maharashtra. At 52, he had achieved another great feat- of scoring a century in each of the innings.
7. Cricket between the World Wars
The Grand Old Man of Indian Cricket was the only other cricketer apart from the Kent all-rounder Bill Ashdown, whose career spanned from before the First World War (Bombay Triangular 1911) to after the Second World War (Ranji Trophy 1945).
8. Commemorative honours
In 1996, the Indian Post issued a commemorative stamp in his honour, along with stamps for C.K Nayudu, Vinoo Mankad, and Vijay Merchant.
In 2012, a statue of him was unveiled in Sahara Cricket stadium in Pune.
9. Getting the Padma Bhushan
While he was awarded the Padma Shri award way back in 1965, he was bestowed with the Padma Bhushan – the third highest civilian award in India- in 1991 by the Indian Government. He’s one of only 9 other cricketers to be conferred with the honour.