Former India all-rounder Bapu Nadkarni, aged 86, died on Friday. The left-arm spinner played 41 Tests and 191 first-class matches in a career that last for almost 18 years. Nadkarni, who played for Mumbai and Maharashtra, made his first-class debut in 1951/52 season. He made his India debut four seasons later, against New Zealand in Delhi. Nadkarni’s last Test appearance came against the same team in Auckland in 1968.
Known for bowling economical spells, Nadkarni created history, against England in 1964, by bowling 131 deliveries without giving a single run. His final bowling figures read 32-27-5-0. He scalped 88 wickets at the highest level while in first-class cricket, he touched the mark of 500 wickets.
Nadkarni was a part of the India squad that won the first-ever overseas Test series, against New Zealand. Few years later, India also defeated West Indies down under but the NZ win was much bigger.
“I played against him when he represented ACC, but he was quite old by then. I was just starting out, and I scored 150 for Tatas in that game. Later, I met him when he was the manager of the Indian team when I scored my first Test hundred at Kolkata against the West Indies. I was batting at 70-odd at lunch when he told me that he would gift me a watch if I scored a hundred. And he kept his promise! He was the chief selector when I was made the India captain in 1987,” India legend Dilip Vengsakr was quoted as saying by The Times of India.
After retirement, the veteran cricketer took up coaching and travelled with the team on the famous tour of Australia in 1981. He also served as the chief selector and team manager.