Farokh Maneksha Engineer Profile
India's first dashing wicket keeper batsman came in the form of a tall and well built Farokh Engineer. He was a real aggressor and took upon some of the world's quickest bowlers fearlessly. He made his international debut in 1961, in a Test against England at Kanpur. During this period Farokh's closest competitor came in the form of Budhisagar Kunderan and both of them were in contention for a berth in the national side. Both were part of the squad in a tour to West Indies where Engineer played three and Kunderan figured in two. The latter did not fare well with the bat while the former did slightly better.
Post this, when Engineer was picked up for the third Test in the series, there was a lot of criticism but he silenced all of it with a blazing 94 before lunch on the first day as he opened the innings along with Dilip Sardesai. Even though Engineer was tall and hugely built, his agility and reflexes were pretty good, a basic requirement while keeping against the spin quartet of Bedi, Prasanna, Venkataraghavan and Chandrasekhar. His reputation rose as a wicket keeper batsman and the high point came when he was selected ahead of Alan Knot in 1971-72 in the World XI team to take on Australia, lead by the legendary Sir Garfield Sobers. Another peak in his career was the English tour of India in 1972-73, where Farokh scored 415 runs in the series and was the pick of the Indian batsmen. He brought up his highest Test score of 121 in this series to go along with three fine fifties. His keeping to spin bowling during that series was top notch.
Nicknamed “Dikra Farookh” by his mate Eknath Solkar, Engineer had a reputation for gibberish chatter which kept the close in fielders not only entertained but also in the game. His long time understudy Syed Kirmani replaced him later in his career . Post retirement he settled down in England and represented Lancashire for a long time. Engineer's approach towards the game was very much ahead of his times and it is a real shame that he got to play only a few ODIs as he was tailor-made for the shorter formats.