Nari Contractor recalls how five catches were dropped in one over
As surprising as it may sound, five catches were dropped in the opening over of an innings in the All Inter-University final between Mumbai and Delhi at Bangalore in January 1953.
Former India captain Nari Contractor, who played for the Bombay side, led by Mehli Irani and managed by GK Menon, recalled: "Behram Govadia was the bowler and I dropped the fourth catch, at gully. I burst out laughing and Govadia lost his cool. He couldn't believe that the fielders were dropping catches and laughing," recalled Contractor.
After restricting Mumbai to 287, Delhi were dismantled for 215 with Govadia claiming five wickets. Five players from that Bombay team went on to play for India - Contractor, Chandu Patankar, Ramnath Kenny, Naren Tamhane and GR Sunderam.
Nari Contractor is a traffic figure of Indian cricket. His career was cut short when he was struck on the skull by a short delivery from Charlie Griffith in 1962. He needed several emergency operations to bring himself out of life danger.
Almost two years later he courageously played first-class cricket again. But he could never really make it to the national Test team again. It should be noted that at the time Nari Contractor was seriously injured, batsmen did not wear helmets.
Contractor, a left-hand batsman, made his Test debut as a 21-year-old in 1955-56 but did not really come to the fore until the late 1950s, when he scored his maiden and only Test century against the Australians in Bombay.
He was the youngest to hold the captainship post when he was appointed India's captain in 1960-6i and a year later he led the side to a historic series win over England. Contractor now lives in Mumbai where he coaches at the Cricket Club of India. He had also received the C.K. Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007.
Contractor was recalling his playing days on the occasion of the 90th birthday of GK Menon, one of India’s most renowned cricket journalist. He paid a fine tribute to Menon's quality as a cricket writer and said he had a good knowledge of the game.
Menon was praised for his interest in ‘ maidan cricket’ and was one of the founding members of the Shivaji Park Youngsters club. BCCI's General Manager (Game Development) Prof Ratnakar Shetty also attended the birthday celebrations.