Salim Durani – The Cricketer Who Hit Sixes on Demand
Known for his big strokes on the field and his royal aura off it, Salim Durani was a highly respected cricketer who played 29 Tests for India between 1960 and 1973. Popularly called Prince Salim for his elegance on and off the field, the all-rounder – who turns 83 on 11 December – was known for hitting sixes on demand.
In a programme broadcasted on Epic channel, Durani said:
The Afghanistan-born cricketer was transferred to the Gujarat team after making his Ranji Trophy debut for Saurashtra – a considerably weak team in the zone. In 1958, he was shifted to Rajasthan’s team after getting an invite from the Maharana of Udaipur.
Durani was known to make India win matches that they were slotted to lose, but the cricketer’s debut match wasn’t so impressive. It was India’s third Test against Australia during the home tour in January 1960 when he scored just 18 runs in his first innings and bowled just one over.
Recalling the first ball he faced in international cricket, Durani said:
However, he went on to pick up the maximum amount of wickets in domestic cricket for the next two years and was subsequently called on for India’s final two matches against England in 1961.
In the fourth Test, Durani scored 43 runs and returned with figures of 5/47 and 3/66. And in the next match, he picked up a six-wicket haul for 105 runs in the first innings and took 4/72 in the second innings. India won both games by a considerable margin.
It was India’s tour of West Indies in 1971, and the visitors were yet to win a Test in the Caribbean in which Salim Durani bowled one of his most memorable innings. Removing cricketers like Clive Lloyd and Garry Sobers in the second Test at Port of Spain, Durani conceded just 21 runs in the 17 overs that he bowled, and helped India win their first five-day match in West Indies.
After retiring from cricket in 1973, Durani appeared in the film Charitra with Parveen Babi and became the first cricketer to win the Arjuna Award.
Though he was greatly recognised for his talent on the field, but it has been a well- known fact that Durani limited himself with respect to his cricketing career.
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