Sharmila Tagore has chosen former Australia captain Ian Chappell to deliver the welcome address, which her late husband Tiger Pataudi would have delivered, in this year's edition of the Raj Singh Dungarpur World Cricket Summit.
It is learnt that Chappell instantly agreed to the request and will do the honours in Mumbai on Monday. Apart from playing against each other in the 1967-68 and 1969-70 India vs Australia series, Chappell knew Pataudi well.
"It was a great honour to be asked by Sharmila to deliver the opening address and pay tribute to Tiger. He was a man I admired greatly for his courage and thoughtfulness as a cricketer and I enjoyed his company socially. Like a lot of people, I'll miss Tiger greatly," Chappell said from Sydney.
"We had shortlisted a few names, each a cricketing legend in his own right, but finally we thought the best person to capture Tiger both on and off the field would be Ian Chappell," said Sharmila.
"Chappell not only knew him as a cricketer, but also on a personal level, as a friend. Ian taking this long journey from Sydney to Mumbai to speak about Tiger at the RSD World Cricket Summit is a gesture that shows the regard they have for each other," she added.
The former India captain delivered the Voice of Cricket Lecture at the inaugural RSD World Cricket Summit in New Delhi last year. Pataudi called for a more transparent Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
"We would like to see a more practical, more eloquent and a more constructive BCCI in world matters. It is, of course, a democratically elected body and we are fine with that. But it keeps its doors very closed so that none of us actually know what is happening behind those doors," he said.
England's erstwhile captain Mike Brearley will deliver the Voice of Cricket lecture this year. Tagore emphasised that it was an honour to be associated with the Summit. "Going forward, I was comfortable with having something instituted for Tiger at the RSD World Cricket Summit.
"It is a wonderful gesture that takes the combined relationship of Tiger and Raj Singh forward. I too, have tremendous respect and regard for Raj Singh ji and was comfortable with the decision of instituting something in the memory of Tiger here. I cannot think of a better forum to institute something for Tiger that keeps his memory alive," she said.