Tiger Pataudi is one of Indian cricket's all-time favourite son, his career a glorious cocktail of cricket, charisma and celebrity. In part this was due to his background, his drop dead good looks, his marriage and the delicious romance attached to his career - the inspiring triumph of overcoming a horrible physical disability.
There is also the stirring stuff about how he led India in 40 of the 46 matches he played, how he gave respect to Indian cricket and took it forward. Much has been said, written and spoken about his contribution in bringing Indianness into the Indian dressing room, leading from the front, in creating an all spin bowling attack, focussing on fielding in an era when dropping catches was normal and chasing balls in the deep was considered a waste of time and effort.
Pataudi's career has been beautifully captured in a book called Pataudi, the Nawab of Cricket which contains articles written by players who played with him and others who observed him from a distance. Also, there are excellent pieces written by his family, wife Sharmila and daughters Soha and Saba that are not only personal and intimate but provide a rare insight about Pataudi.
While the book covers a lot of ground that is known to fans and followers, there are several gems that have not been reported widely. For instance:
* Tiger Pataudi made his international debut barely six months after his tragic car accident which left him with very limited sight in his right eye.
* He once scored a test century in two and a half hours
* Tiger captained Oxford one year after becoming captain of India
* Pataudi played Ranji for Hyderabad which was captained by Jaisimha, not always a regular member of the Indian team
* He did not carry a kitbag or equipment to a cricket ground , preferred to walk out to bat picking up any bat closest to the dressing room door
* Tiger liked music, was a fan of Talat Mahmood, Rafi and Lata. He also played the tabla, sitar and the harmonium.
* Modest, almost diffident by nature, he never spoke about his cricket or his career.
* In his test career, he took one wicket - that of Colin Cowdrey
* Pataudi preferred travelled by train, was scared of flying, and did so only after fortifying himself
* He played hockey when in college, and later was an accomplished bridge player
Tiger Pataudi was cricket's original superstar, such was his aura even his teammates were struck by it, to the extent many did not know how to address him. Till the time he left us last year, I saw senior colleagues referring to Pataudi not by his name. Instead, they played safe, calling him Skip or Captain.
Note: The author's views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of NDTV.