(Last Updated on : 31/07/2014)
Lala Amarnath, also known as Nanik Bharadwaj Amarnath, was born on September 11 in 1911. He was born in Kapurthala
and was raised in Lahore. He played for the Hindus in the Quadrangular and made his mark early as a talented player. Alec Hosie, one of the selectors called Amarnath as the 'Bradman of India' after seeing him making 109 runs for Southern Punjab against Douglas Jardine's MCC squad in 1933-34. He was known as 'Lala' in his place. He was very outspoken in nature. Due to this, he missed two matches against the two Commonwealth sides in 1949-50 and in the following year. He was always news. He unwittingly or otherwise made sure that he was always in the public eye.
Playing Style of Nanik Bharadwaj Amarnath
The driving and cutting of Nanik Bharadwaj Amarnath were particularly delightful. As a batsman, he was once described as 'a pure romantic, the Byron of Indian cricket'. He was among the top Indian batsmen on the basis of his dare devilry, attacking skills and breathless stroke play. He was a fabulous all-rounder, shrewd captain and possessed multi-faceted personality. He was basically an attacking batsman.
International career of Nanik Bharadwaj Amarnath
He made his mark on the international scene by achieving a double distinction. He was an outstanding personality and one of the leading players in India during his international cricket debut by 1945. He made brilliant centuries and bowled like no one else in his time, fielded in a simplistic manner.
During the England tour in 1946, there was a perceptible change in the Indian team. This had a deep effect on Amarnath's future. He was often good with the bat when it was needed. He suddenly became a frontline bowler from a secondary role player in the pre- World War years.
Amarnath along with Vinoo Mankad
was India's outstanding bowlers in the three match series against England. In that match, he came at number eight and took the wickets of Alec Bedser and Doug Wright.
During the tour of Australia in 1947-48, he again made his contribution with the ball and bat. He and Mankad remained the two frontline bowlers and Merchant's withdrawal had elevated Lala Amarnath to the captaincy.
In the second match of the tour against South Australia, Amarnath made 144 in three hours. The Indians were set a target of 287 runs in 180 minutes in the second innings. They lost half the side for 60 but Mankad (116) and Amarnath (94) added 175 runs for the unbroken sixth wicket in well under two hours. Thus, they brought the Indian team within racing parlance. Amarnath himself just failed to beat the clock for his second century of the match.
In the next match against Victoria, Amarnath proceeded to play one of the greatest innings ever seen at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Amarnath came in at difficult moment. His daring and thrilling stroke play soon removed the gloom from the Indian camp. When the innings terminated at 403, Amarnath was unbeaten with 228. It was ranked as among the most sensational double centuries in MCG's long history.
Records of Nanik Bharadwaj Amarnath
India won the first-ever Test against the Pakistan Cricket team under the leadership of Nanik Bharadwaj Amarnath in Delhi
in 1952. India won the series 2-1. He was the first cricketer to score a Test century for the Indian cricket team, which he achieved on his debut. He was also independent India's first test captain, leading the team on a tour of Australia in 1947-1948. He was compared as the young batsman in international cricket George Headley of the West Indies. In the fourth Test at Adelaide he took the wickets of Ray Lindwall and Keith Miller. He was the first Indian to get a Test century and the first to get one on his debut.
Test cricket career of Nanik Bharadwaj Amarnath
Nanik Bharadwaj Amarnath was the first cricketer to score a Test century for the Indian Cricket team, which he achieved on debut. He was also independent India's first captain leading the team on a tour of Australia in 1947-1948.
Apart from bowling, he had done well in batting also. He made an excellent 50 in the first Test at Lord's. When the team for the first Test at Bombay (now Mumbai
) was announced, Amarnath was a popular inclusion.
During that match, Amarnath went in at number three and faced a shortfall of 219 runs. At that dire situation, Amarnath straightaway went for the bowling. He batted in such a way that Jardine soon bestowed spread his players in the outfield like a man opening his umbrella in the face of a sudden shower.
Unfortunately, Amarnath was sent back home as a disciplinary measure for some reasons. After this he said that he would never play cricket again and would take to tennis. But later, the Beaumont committee of inquiry cleared Amarnath and he was back in the Indian side. Then, he played against Lord Tennyson's team scoring a scintillating 123 to boot in the third 'Test' at Calcutta (Kolkata
). In the Tests, however, he was restricted to just 140 runs from ten innings.
On the eve of the first Test, he scored a superb 172 not out against Queensland. Later on the tour he had scores of 171 and 135. When he had to share the burden of the bowling with Mankad, the true value of his batting gets magnified several times over. With 1162 runs at an average of 58.10 Amarnath easily headed the tour figures, and this record somewhat hide his dismal run in the Test matches.
In the next season against the West Indies at home, Amarnath was back to somewhere near his best in scoring 294 runs at 36.75 with two half centuries. In the Adelaide Test he had promoted himself in the batting order when India were six for two and led the counter-attack in the face of an Aussie total of 674.
After one year at Bombay, Nanik Bharadwaj Amarnath repeated the same record. India required 361 for victory and it was nine for two. This time Amarnath promoted himself and with dazzling strokes on both sides of the wicket retrieved India's hopes. He brought out of a third wicket partnership of 72 and got 39.
During the tour of England in 1936, Amarnath was of twenty-four years. In the first five weeks of the tour he lived up to his reputation as one of India's brightest young stars, scoring 613 runs including three hundreds, two of them in the same match against Essex and picking up 32 wickets.
ODI cricket career of Nanik Bharadwaj Amarnath
Amarnath started his ODI career on the Bombay Gymkhana ground in South Bombay against England in 1933. He played brilliantly and simply ripped the attack apart and raced to 83 in just 78 minutes. The audiences witnessed spellbound Amarnath's bold and effervescent stroke play. The spectators swarmed on to the pitch. Amarnath was engulfed, garlanded and congratulated even as women tore off their jewellery to present it to him. The Maharajas gave Amarnath money and other expensive gifts and the nation proclaimed a cricketing hero.
During the 1946-47 seasons, Amarnath made his highest first-class score 262 for against Rest of India at Calcutta (now Kolkata
). In the process, he shared a 410-run stand for the third wicket with Modi, an Indian record for any wicket at the time. Throughout the War years, Amarnath put up an authentic show in the Pentangular and Ranji Trophy
Apart from cricket, Nanik Bharadwaj Amarnath was involved in fighting for freedom, better facilities and bulkier pay packets. He was the most outspoken player of his time. It was later seen in his comments in newspapers or on radio and TV. He is still regarded as one of the leading players in the country. In 1949, Amarnath was at the height of his power and popularity in life.
Later Phase of Lala Amarnath's Life
De Mello, the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India
passed a resolution to suspend Amarnath from domestic and representative cricket in India for continuous misbehaviour and breach of discipline. He also produced a list of some two-dozen acts of indiscipline against Amarnath. There were threats, damage suits, hand-outs, press conferences, statements; counter statements appeared in various media to showcase the conflict between the Board president and the Indian captain. Amarnath lost his captaincy and was not selected to play against both the first Commonwealth team in 1949-50 and the second Commonwealth team the next season. It was in 1951, when de Mello was ousted from the post, Amarnath came back. He was forty by the time. In his last match against Pakistan at Lucknow
in 1952, Nanik Bharadwaj Amarnath made 61 not out.
He passed away in New Delhi
in August 2000. Famous cricketers from all over the world came to pay tribute to him and were headed by Bradman himself.