Cottari Kankaiya Nayudu had an inborn urge for cricket. In his early life, he was popularly known as CK. He was born in Nagpur
on October 31, 1895. Surprisingly, he was a plodder, a bore to watch during the cricket matches in his early life. But later became the attacking genius and a genuine six-hitter.
It was Ranji, who was a friend of Nayudu`s father from their undergraduate days at Cambridge, who changed CK. He wondered that how could a boy with such genuine gifts like height, reach, quick footedness lack so much in enterprise in his batting approach. Then under his guidance, CK transformed himself into an attacking cricketer. Thus, CK changed his approach to the game and started taking strenuous regime of physical fitness. He was a natural athlete and after the training, he became worthy enough to be invited to play for the Hindus in the Quadrangular tournament at Mumbai
in 1916. Afterwards, whether the Hindus won or not, Nayudu was usually used to be the top scorer.
Cottari Kankaiya Nayudu then started developing as a crowd puller. There was nobody before him who could do such magic in the game in India. Some of the spectators used to come, just see him bat. He was a tall and strong player with the graceful walk, military bearing and strong wrists. He never disappointed the crowds who came for him only. The opposite team always tried to take his wicket, as they knew if they want to defeat the Hindus, CK must be removed first. But, he was always prepared with his strikes for their tricks.
Playing Style of Cottari Kankaiya Nayudu
Cottari Kankaiya Nayudu was the trendsetter for other Indian cricketers of his time. Other players of his time used to follow his batting style. He was regarded as one of the finest living cricketers, a splendid athlete, an artist and a great performer. He had a dynamic personality, elegance, charm, style. He combined the aesthetic and adventurous aspects of the game in his play. He has always maintained his position in the greatest Indian XI for the last six decades. The pyrotechnic batting skills of Nayudu in the Twenties made him the most talked about cricketer in the land. He was the greatest Hindu batsman of his time. He became a household name throughout the country. He used to bat was free and fearless way even under extreme pressure. He used to hit the ball hard, high and far. His every stroke was made with artistry, each was properly chosen for the ball it had to meet. He turned the art of big hitting into an exact science. He could easily adapt to situations. Apart from being a strong striker, he also showed his ability to play continuously and slowly while playing against England at Kolkata
in 1933-34. He controlled striking to save the match from the follow on.
International career of Cottari Kankaiya Nayudu
Cottari Kankaiya Nayudu was the first Indian cricketer to receive international acclaim that was always reserved for Englishmen and Australians. Due to one innings he played in the closing days of 1926, he became a huge name outside the country. Nayudu came into limelight in the international cricket during his first tour outside India to England. Nayudu hit six centuries in the series and secured 79 wickets as well. Once he hit 153 over 187 balls in just over 100 minutes against a visiting MCC team. In the 1932 tour of team India, Nayudu hit 36 sixes. His international career was over by the forties but there was no way Nayudu could give up cricket completely. As the Holkar Cricket Association was formed he started his second innings.
Batting and Fielding Averages
Test cricket career of Cottari Kankaiya Nayudu
Cottari Kankaiya Nayudu could not do much in the tests, but was a sight to watch in other formats. He was a regal and thrilling player. During the final Test at the Oval in 1936 when he was in his forty-first year, he played his last Test innings and Nayudu made it a memorable one. Indian team was following on 249 runs behind. Nayudu entered after four wickets had gone down for 159. During this match, Nayudu was hit in the region of the heart with the ball and he felt terrible pain. He bent over in agony, seemingly unable to breathe. All gathered to support him but after holding the chest for sometime, he stood erect, waved them all away and motioned for play to continue. He refused to leave the crease and prepared to face the next ball. Allen sent down another short delivery that was hardly slower than the previous one. Nayudu promptly stroke it over the rope. Thus, he continued to bat with grace and power. He got to his 50 and saw his team avert the innings defeat. Nayudu was finally seventh out at 295 after making 81 in about two and a half hours.
ODI cricket career of Cottari Kankaiya Nayudu
Cottari Kankaiya Nayudu scored 153 runs in 116 minutes for the Hindu XI against Arthur Gilligan`s MCC side at Mumbai
in 1926-27. He hit 11 sixes in this match. In this match, he took 16 scoring strokes to reach his first 50 with four sixes and five fours, 17 strokes to reach his second 50 with three sixes and five fours and 16 strokes for his final 50 with four sixes and four fours. He made total 49 scoring strokes with 11 sixes and 14 fours which provided him 122 of the 153 runs.
When he started his second innings with Holkar, he scored hundred in the 1945-46 final against a strong Baroda side. In 1953, he retired from the services of Holkar and moved to Uttar Pradesh. In 1956-57 at the age of sixty one, he led the Uttar Pradesh
team in the national championship. Nayudu played in 1951-52 Ranji Trophy
final against Bombay at the age of 57 years. This time, his two front teeth were broken and he was bleeding profusely after a ball hit him.
At the age of sixty-eight, Nayudu willingly played in one National Defence Fund matches in his hometown of Nagpur
in 1963. He scored ten not out. He was honoured with the Padma Bhushan
Records of Cottari Kankaiya Nayudu
Cottari Kankaiya Nayudu collected 12,000 runs and secured 400 wickets in his first class cricket career. Unfortunately, he was 37 when India played its first cricket series. He played first class cricket for 47 years. He died in November 1967 in Nagpur
at the age of 68. Cottari Kankaiya Nayudu had established a world record for most number of sixes in an innings. Even today after almost eighty years, it is one of the most talked about batting feats in Indian cricket. During his first visit to England as a member of the Indian team, Nayudu was hailed as the `Indian Bradman`. He performed so well on the tour that Wisden chose him as one of the five cricketers of the year in 1933. Nayudu`s first-class figures were 1618 runs at an average of 40.45 with five centuries.