MAK Pataudi – The one-eyed cricketing Legend

You see a leader and you can imagine a portrait with certain qualities – A thinker, a decision maker, and a person who can take the best out of everyone. But the most important quality that the leader should possess is strength and robustness. Here’s the inspiring story of the cricketing legend, and former Indian Captain – Nawab Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi (or MAK Pataudi)

The Lost Eye:

Commonly known as Tiger Pataudi, MAK was a man of great character. On July 1st 1961 – about 6 months before his Test debut, Tiger’s right eye was severely pierced by a windscreen glass splinter while returning from a Team dinner in Hove, England. He mentions in his Autobiography how his teammates asked him to walk down a short distance, but he was too lazy, and preferred driving down instead.
Three weeks after his operation, he was back into the practice nets – trying to figure out how the lost eye impacted his batting. In his autobiography, he describes it as a tricky period – “As any boxer who has had one eye closed by the blows of an opponent will tell you, it causes loss of perspective of judgement and distances. For example, when trying to light a cigarette I found I was missing the end of it by a quarter of an inch. I was also liable to pour water from a jug straight on to the table, instead of into a tumbler as I intended. But gradually I got the trick of performing such actions, finding it quite possible to adjust. Fortunately, I had the help of both my mother and sister who had come over from India to look after me.”

The Comeback:

Many people in this situation would have thought that it’s time to give up the game. Pataudi, however had different ideas. He started playing Ranji Cricket, and in the first innings he played, he noticed two balls coming his way. He played and he kept missing – he was just not able to put bat on ball.
Very slowly, he realized which one was the actual one, and which the illusion. Adjusting his batting, he scored a series of Half Centuries! With all these injuries and mishaps in the days when Helmets weren’t as advanced and protective – Pataudi still managed to maintain a batting average of about 35.
One of the most successful and respected captains of the Indian Cricket Team, Tiger Pataudi is today remembered as the one-eyed legend of Indian Cricket!

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