Text and Images: Harish Kotian
It was a spectacular celebration of 75 years of Indian Test cricket at the 10th Castrol Awards for Cricketing Excellence.
The brightest stars of Indian cricket – the past, present and future were there in full strength in Hyderabad as Castrol honoured and felicitated the outstanding cricketers who have played for India in the last 75 years.
Amongst the cricketers who attended the function were stars of yesteryears like Nari Contractor, Chandu Borde, Ajit Wadekar, Bishan Bedi, Sunil Gavaskar, Gundappa Vishwanath, EAS Prasanna and BS Chandrasekhar.
Also present were the current heroes, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and of course Dhoni and a few players from the Twenty20 World Cup squad.
To recognize the outstanding cricketers of the last 75 years, the period was divided into six 'eras'; 1932 – 47, 1947 – 61, 1961 –71, 1971 – 81, 1981 – 97 and 1997 – 2006. Col. C.K. Nayudu, the man they still call the 'Shahenshah' of Indian cricket, was nominated as the Castrol Indian Cricketer for the first era - 1932 – 47.
The award was received by his daughter Chandra Nayudu. The awardee for the second era 1947 – 61, was Vinoo Mankad, the first Indian to complete the 'double' of 1000 runs and 100 wickets in Tests. This Award was received by his son Atul.
Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, the 'Tiger' of a cricketer who revolutionized fielding standards and instilled the 'winning' habit into his team, received the Best Indian Cricketer Award for the third era – 1961 – 1971. He could not make it to the function due to prior commitments, but sent in a recorded message.
The winners for the next two eras virtually picked themselves. Sunil Gavaskar, the first batsman to score 10,000 runs, and Kapil Dev, the first Indian to take 400 Test wickets, won the award for the fourth (1971 – 1981) and fifth era (1981 – 1997) respectively.
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