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Madhav Mantri, a cricketing doyen, passes away

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India’s wicket-keeper-batsman in the 1950s, Madhav Mantri passed away on Friday morning at the Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai. He was 92.

“He suffered his first attack on May 1 (Maharashtra Day). He recovered and was recuperating at the Lilavati. He suffered a massive heart attack today morning and died. He did not return home after he was hospitalised on May 1,” Mantri’s niece told The Hindu.

A maternal uncle of India’s batting maestro Sunil Gavaskar, Mantri, under Vijay Hazare’s captaincy, made his Test debut against Nigel Howard’s MCC team at the Brabourne Stadium in December 1951. He made 39. Thereafter he did not trouble the scorers much during the 1952 tour of England. He was fast bowler Freddie Trueman’s three victims when India was reduced to 0 for 4 in the Headingley Test of 1952. He played his fourth and last Test against the Abdul Hafeez Kardar led Pakistan team at Dacca in January 1955.

A walking compendium on Indian cricket, Mantri was a great raconteur and cricket lovers absorbed every bit of information and anecdote he had to say at after-dinner functions in the city. He played with illustrious cricketers like Polly Umrigar, Ghulam Ahmed, Vinoo Mankad, C.D. Gopinath, Hemu Adhikari, G.S. Ramchand, Sadashiv Shinde (Sharad Pawar’s father in law), Dattu Phadkar, Pankaj Roy, Vijay Manjrekar, Subhash Gupte, Naren Tamhane, Lala Amarnath and Chandu Sarawate.

Mantri played 95 first class matches, scored 4403 runs and as a wicket-keeper, had 192 victims, 136 caught and 56 stumped. After retirement from first class cricket, he became coach, selector, manager and was also president of the Mumbai Cricket Association.

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