Dattajirao Krishnarao Gaekwad, India's oldest living Test cricketer, passed away at his residence in Gujarat's Vadodara on Tuesday. He was 95.
Gaekwad is survived by his son, Anshuman Gaekwad, a former coach of the Indian cricket team.
Gaekwad, who is distantly related to the Baroda royal family and studied at Maharani Chimnabai High School in the erstwhile Baroda state, is celebrated for winning the Ranji Trophy for Baroda in his first year as Baroda captain cricket team in 1957-58. Led by Gaekwad, the Baroda team had defeated the Services Team by an innings and 51 runs in the last match played at the Motibaug Stadium in Vadodara.
Under the shade of the banyan tree at the Motibag cricket ground, Indian captain DK Gaekwad, from his blue Maruti car, tirelessly scouted young talent for Baroda cricket, shaping the future of our team. His absence will be deeply felt. A great loss to the cricket community. pic.twitter.com/OYyE2ppk88
— Irfan Pathan (@IrfanPathan) February 13, 2024
Gaekwad was a disciple of Test cricketer CS Nayudu, brother of former Indian cricket captain CK Nayudu, in 1948 when he was appointed by the Maharaja of Baroda to coach young players. At that time, Gaekwad was 12 years old and was part of the first Under-14 and Under-16 cricket tournaments launched by CK Nayudu in Baroda.
Gaekwad, who absorbed the leg-spin and googly bowling tactics of CS Nayudu, played in 11 Test matches between 1952 and 1961 after making his Ranji debut for Bombay University (as part of the united province) in 1948 and had Polly Umrigar and G Ramachand for colleagues.
Gaekwad, who shared partnerships with legends like Vijay Hazare, became the first captain of the MS University cricket team when it was formed and later also coached the Baroda Ranji team until 2000. Gaekwad was also the joint secretary of the Baroda Cricket Association in late 1960s along with cricket administrator Jaywant Lele. He had also served as Comptroller of Baroda State during his early years.
In October 2020, on the occasion of DK Gaekwad's 92nd birthday, the Postal Department had issued a commemorative cover.
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