Former India cricketer Salim Durani breathed his last Sunday morning at his Jamnagar house due to age-related ailments, confirmed his family sources. He was 88.
Durani played 29 Tests for India and took 75 wickets, with the best bowling figure of 10 for 177. With the bat in hand, he scored 1202 runs with the highest score of 104 against West Indies in 1962.
The former all-rounder was famous for his heroic performance in India’s series victory against England in 1961-62. He scalped eight and ten wickets in the Kolkata and Chennai Tests to guide India to a 2-0 series victory.
Born to Afghan parents with a Pathani lineage, Durani entertained the fans right from his first Ranji Trophy match against Gujarat and bowled with a lot of cunning.
Dropped for four seasons from 1967 to 1970, Durani was recalled to the Indian team for the 1971 tour of the West Indies, where he was chiefly instrumental in India’s historic first series win there. He did not disappoint when skipper Ajit Wadekar tossed the ball to him; he dismissed left-handers Garry Sobers and Clive Lloyd, and India notched up a win in the Port of Spain Test and the series itself.
The star cricketer also dabbled in Bollywood, starring opposite renowned actor Praveen Babi in the movie Charitra in 1973.
Durani made his Test debut against Australia at in the beginning of 1960 at Mumbai’s Brabourne Stadium, and played his last international match -- then only restricted to the traditional, five-day format -- against England in February 1973. The venue was again the place where he had started his international career.
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The stylish cricketer aggregated 8,545 runs at 33.37 in first-class cricket and hit 14 hundreds.
A joy to watch when in full flow, Durani had the ability to demolish any bowling attack on his day, though it was as a bowler he had first made his mark for the Indian team.
India’s first Arjuna Award winner in cricket, Durani was a tall man and could get the ball to lift and turn on any surface with a bit of help.
A fascinating character, the cricketer shared a special relation with the crowd, who once expressed their ire after he was dropped from the team for a match in Kanpur, and carried banners and placards that read ‘No Durani, no test!’.
In domestic cricket, Durani played Ranji Trophy for Saurashtra, Rajasthan and Gujarat.
With PTI inputs
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