Remembering Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi

OV Digital Desk
4 Min Read
Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi

Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi (05 January 1941 – 22 September 2011) was an Indian cricketer and a former captain of the Indian cricket team. He was also known as Tiger Pataudi, M. A. K. Pataudi, Mansur Ali Khan; however, officially he is known as Nawab Mohammad Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi.

At the age of 21, Pataudi became India’s cricket captain and was called “one of the greatest”. John Arlott and former England captain Ted Dexter called Pataudi the “best fielder in the world” of his time.

Early life

Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi was born in Bhopal, India, on 05 January 1941. Mansoor Ali Khan was the son of Iftikhar Ali Khan, himself a famed cricketer, and the Nawab Begum of Bhopal, Sajida Sultan. Hamidullah Khan, his grandfather, was the last ruling Nawab of Bhopal, and Abida Sultan, his aunt, was the princess of Bhopal. The Pataudi family traces their origin to Faiz Talab Khan, an ethnic Pashtun from the Barech tribe of Kandahar, Afghanistan. He became the first Nawab of the Pataudi State in 1804.

In addition to Minto Circle in Aligarh and Welham Boys’ School in Dehradun (Uttarakhand), he went to Lockers Park Prep School in Hertfordshire and Winchester College. Additionally, he studied Arabic and French at Balliol College, Oxford.

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On Mansoor’s eleventh birthday in 1952, his dad died while playing polo in Delhi, so he became the ninth Nawab. In 1947, the princely state of Pataudi was merged with India, but he held the title until the 26th amendment to the constitution abolished his entitlements.

Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi got married to Sharmila Tagore. They have three kids: Saif Ali Khan, a Bollywood actor, Saba Ali Khan, a jewellery designer, and Soha Ali Khan, a Bollywood actress and TV personality. Kareena Kapoor Khan is his daughter-in-law, and Sara Ali Khan is his granddaughter.


In his cricket career, he was a right-handed batsman and a right-arm medium pace bowler. When he was 16, he made his first-class debut for Sussex. He also played for Oxford while at university and was their first Indian captain.

In 1961, he was a passenger in a car that got into an accident in Hove. One of the shards of glass from the windscreen penetrated and permanently damaged his right eye. Fortunately, he only lost one eye. The damage caused Pataudi to see a doubled image. It was feared this would end his cricketing career, but Pataudi was soon in the nets, learning to play with one eye.

In December 1961, despite his eye injury, he made his Test debut against England in Delhi. Between 1961 and 1975, he played 46 Tests for India, scoring 2,793 runs at an average of 34.91, including 6 centuries. Mansoor captained the Indian cricket team in 40 of 46 matches, winning 9 of them, losing 19 and drawing 19.

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Award and legacy

The Arjuna Award was given to him in 1964. In 1967 he was awarded the Padma Shri. Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi Memorial Lecture was instituted by the BCCI on 6 February 2013 to recognize his contributions to cricket. Sunil Gavaskar gave the inaugural lecture on 20 February 2013.


Tiger was admitted to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in Rajendra Nagar, Delhi on 25 August 2011 because he had an acute lung infection. He died on 22 September from respiratory failure. His body was buried in Pataudi, Gurgaon, Haryana.

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