(Last Updated on : 14-08-2014)
Pahlanji Ratanji "Polly" Umrigar was a highly successful middle order batsman and even went on to captain the national team. Tall and impressively built, he was capable of dominating the bowlers but struggled at times against express pace. A versatile cricketer, he could also bowl the occasional off spin and off cutters at medium pace. As a fielder, he often positioned himself at first-slip. He was prominent figure in the Indian side between the 40s and 60s. Playing in a rather weak side, Polly Umrigar's talent almost always stood out. And so it was little surprise that at the time of his retirement, he held the record for the most runs and centuries by an Indian.
Umrigar's 252 not out against Cambridge University in 1959 was an innings of high quality and was at one time the highest score by an Indian during an overseas tour. Umrigar was also the first Indian to hit a Test double century. He excelled as a bowler in the 1959 Kanpur
Test against Australia claming 4 wickets. India went on to defeat the mighty Aussies in that game. Umrigar led India in a mere 8 Tests before resigning. "Polly kaka" as he is fondly called, has the rare distinction of scoring a century and taking 5 wickets in a Test. The performance came against another mighty side West Indies and that too in their own den at Port of Spain in 1962. After retirement, he continued to be involved in the game through the BCCI. Umrigar died in November 2006, at the age of 80, after losing a prolonged battle with lymph cancer. Pahlan Ratanji Umrigar continues to remain an inspiration for the future generation of Indian cricketers.
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