Indian Cricket Mourns the Loss of Dattajirao Gaekwad, Oldest Test Cricketer Passes Away at 95

Indian Cricket Icon Dattajirao Gaekwad, Renowned for Leadership and Batting Prowess, Leaves Indelible Legacy at 95.

The cricketing fraternity in India is in mourning following the passing of Dattajirao Gaekwad, the former Test captain and revered Baroda legend, who breathed his last at the age of 95. Gaekwad, India’s oldest living Test cricketer at the time of his demise, succumbed to age-related ailments at a Baroda hospital on Tuesday morning, as confirmed by PTI.

Gaekwad’s legacy in Indian cricket is profound, having represented the nation in 11 Test matches between 1952 and 1961, including captaining the side during the 1959 tour of England. Renowned for his solid batting technique and versatility in the field, Gaekwad amassed 350 Test runs at an average of 18.42. His highest score of 52, achieved against the formidable West Indies in New Delhi in 1959, remains a testament to his batting prowess.

The former India captain made his Test debut under the leadership of Vijay Hazare during India’s inaugural tour of England post-independence, showcasing his skills as an opener before eventually transitioning to the middle-order. Despite limited appearances in his decade-long international career, Gaekwad left an indelible mark with his reliable batting and adept fielding.

BCCI wrote on X (Foremly Twitter) “The BCCI expresses its profound grief at the passing away of Dattajirao Gaekwad, former India captain and India’s oldest Test cricketer. He played in 11 Tests and led the team during India’s Tour of England in 1959. Under his captaincy, Baroda also won the Ranji Trophy in the 1957-58 season, beating Services in the final. The Board expresses its heartfelt condolences to Gaekwad’s family, friends, and admirers.

Gaekwad’s contributions extended beyond the international arena, as he served as a stalwart for Baroda in the Ranji Trophy from 1947 to 1961. His illustrious first-class career saw him accumulate 5788 runs at an impressive average of 36.40, including 17 centuries. Notably, Gaekwad’s unbeaten knock of 249 against Maharashtra in the 1959-60 season stood as one of three double-centuries in his first-class career. Under his captaincy, Baroda clinched the prestigious Ranji Trophy title in the 1957-58 season, emerging victorious against Services in the final.

In 2016, Gaekwad ascended to the status of India’s oldest living Test cricketer following the demise of former batter Deepak Shodhan. His passing marks the end of an era in Indian cricket, leaving behind a legacy that will be cherished by generations to come. As the cricketing community mourns the loss of a true icon, Gaekwad’s contributions to the sport will forever be etched in the annals of Indian cricketing history.

With Gaekwad’s departure, the mantle of India’s oldest living Test cricketer now falls upon Chingleput Gopinath, the Madras-based cricketer, who currently stands at 93 years and 349 days old. As tributes pour in for Gaekwad, his memory will continue to inspire future generations of cricketers, serving as a beacon of excellence and sportsmanship in the cricketing world.

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