Sudhir Naik, who hit India’s first ODI fours, passes away at the age of 78

Sudhir Naik, who hit India’s first ODI fours, passes away at the age of 78

Former Indian opener Sudhir Naik passed away on Wednesday. He was ill for a long time and was admitted to a hospital in Mumbai. He was 78 years old. BCCI has expressed grief over Sudhir’s demise. He played three Tests and two ODIs for India. Sudhir also holds the record of scoring the first chaggo for India in an ODI. He did this against England at Headingley in Leeds in 1974.

An official of the Mumbai Cricket Association said that recently Sudhir fell in the bathroom and suffered a head injury. After that he was admitted to a hospital in Mumbai. He went into a coma from which he could not recover. Sudhir was a highly respected figure in Mumbai cricket and was also a Ranji Trophy winning captain. He led the Mumbai team in the 1970-71 season of Ranji and also won the title.

The Mumbai legend held many different roles and responsibilities for Mumbai Cricket and Indian Cricket. Sudhir led Mumbai to a Ranji Trophy win in 1971, when Sunil Gavaskar, Ajit Wadekar, Dilip Sardesai and Ashok Mankad were busy creating history in the Caribbean. Sudhir scored 4376 runs in 85 first-class matches, including a top score of 200 not out.

Unfortunately, in 1972, when all the star players returned, Sudhir was dropped from the playing XI. In 1974, Sudhir got a chance to make his debut against England in the Birmingham Test and also scored a half-century. He scored 77 runs in the second innings of this Test. However, the Indian team had to face defeat. Sudhir’s career did not last long after 1974 and he could not return to the Indian team.

After his career as a player ended, Sudhir Naik played a major role in pointing Mumbai cricket in the right direction. He was instrumental in boosting the careers of Zaheer Khan, Wasim Jaffer and Nilesh Kulkarni. Apart from this, he also mentored many players who later played for Mumbai. Sudhir was also the Chief Curator of the Wankhede Stadium for a long time. Sudhir is also credited with preparing the stadium for the ICC World Cup 2011. It is said, he never took a salary as pitch curator of the Wankhede Stadium.

Amit Darji

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