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'Man Who Hit Sixes on Demand': Former Indian Cricketer Salim Durani Dies at 88

Fondly called 'Prince Salim' for his graceful style, Durani was known for his talent to hit sixes on demand.

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Salim Durani, a renowned Indian cricketer from the 1960s, passed away at the age of 88 on Sunday, 2 April. He was known for his ability to hit sixes on demand and his regal demeanor both on and off the field.

Durani had been residing in Jamnagar, Gujarat, with his younger brother Jahangir Durani, and had undergone proximal femoral nail surgery earlier this year after suffering a thigh bone fracture from a fall.

Fondly called 'Prince Salim' for his graceful style, Durani was known for his talent to hit sixes on demand.

Salim Durani.

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter/hamidghalib)
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Throughout his career, Durani played 29 Tests for India between 1960 and 1973 and was highly respected in the cricketing world.

Despite being fondly called "Prince Salim" for his graceful style, he remarked during an interview years ago that if he had hit a six every time the audience demanded it, he would score 300-400 runs in every inning.

Salim Durani was known to have been born in Afghanistan's Kabul, but according to The Hindu Business Line, the cricketer once said he was actually born 'under the open skies' – somewhere near Khyber Pass – when his mother went into labour while they were travelling in a camel caravan from Kabul to Karachi.

Leading India to Victory

Salim Durani began his Ranji Trophy career with the Saurashtra team before being transferred to the Rajasthan team in 1958 after being invited by the Maharana of Udaipur.

He was known for his ability to lead India to victory even in seemingly lost matches. However, his debut Test against Australia during the home tour in January 1960 was unremarkable, with him only scoring 18 runs in the first innings and bowling a single over.

Nevertheless, he went on to become the highest wicket-taker in domestic cricket for the next two years, earning him a place in India's final two matches against England in 1961.

During India's 1971 tour of the West Indies, they had yet to win a Test match in the Caribbean when Durani delivered one of his most unforgettable performances. In the second Test held in Port of Spain, Durani took crucial wickets such as Clive Lloyd and Garry Sobers. He only gave away 21 runs in his 17 overs, playing a vital role in India's first-ever five-day match victory in the 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.

Condolences Pour In

Cricketers and public personalities from across India and the world took to social media to pay tribute to the legend.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: "Salim Durani Ji was a cricketing legend, an institution in himself. He made a key contribution to India’s rise in the world of cricket. On and off the field, he was known for his style. Pained by his demise. Condolences to his family and friends. May his soul rest in peace."

"Saddened by the news that cricket legend SalimDurani has passed away. Born in Kabul too early for the white-ball era in which he'd have thrived, the volatile genius was a crowd-pleaser & public favourite: "No Durani No Test" posters went up when he was dropped against England. RIP," tweeted Congress MP Shashi Tharoor.

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Former cricketer VVS Laxman tweeted, "India's first Arjuna Award winning cricketer and a man who hit sixes on public demand, Salim Durani. Om Shanti. Heartfelt Condolences to his family, friends, and loved ones."

"Easily one of the most colourful cricketers of India - Salim Durani. Rest in Peace," tweeted Ravi Shastri, former head coach of India.

Here are some other reactions:

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