Nick Name: Tiger Pataudi
Birthday: January 5, 1941
Died At Age: 70
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Also Known As: Nawab Mohammad Mansoor Ali Khan Siddiqui Pataudi
Born Country: India
Born in: Bhopal, Bhopal State, British India (present-day Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India)
Famous as: Cricketer
Spouse/Ex-: Sharmila Tagore (m. 1969–2011)
father: Iftikhar Ali Khan Pataudi
mother: Sajida Sultan
children: Saba Ali Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Soha Ali Khan
Died on: September 22, 2011
place of death: New Delhi, Delhi, India
education: Lockers Park School, Balliol College, Minto Circle, Winchester College, Welham Boys' School
awards: Padma Shri
Wisden Cricketer of the Year
Who was Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi?
Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi was an Indian Test cricketer who had also served as the captain of the Indian cricket team. Born into an affluent Muslim family in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, Mansoor completed his education from top-notch schools in Aligarh, Dehradun, and Winchester. Following his high-school education, he joined ‘Oxford University’ and studied French and Arabic. His father, Iftikhar Ali Khan, was a cricketer himself. Thus, Mansoor grew up playing cricket. He initially played for the ‘Winchester School,’ honing his skills and eventually turned into an ace batsman. He played English first-class cricket for the ‘Sussex County Cricket Club.’ In the early 1960s, he moved back to India and made his Test debut for the country in December 1961. In 1962, during his tour of the West Indies, he was made the vice-captain of the Indian team. In March 1962, when the sitting captain sustained an injury, Mansoor became the youngest international Test cricket captain. He played 46 test matches for India and scored 2,793 runs, with an average of 34.91. He was also known as “Tiger Pataudi,” due to his fierce and aggressive personality. He retired from cricket in 1975 and passed away in 2011.
Childhood & Early Life
Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi was born Nawab Mohammad Mansoor Ali Khan Siddiqui Pataudi, on January 5, 1941, in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, to Iftikhar Ali Khan and Sajida Sultan. Mansoor’s grandfather, Hamidullah Khan, was the last ruling “Nawab” of Bhopal. Born into an affluent family, Mansoor led a privileged life and was educated at some of the best educational institutions in India and abroad.
To pursue his education, he moved first to Aligarh and then to Dehradun. In Dehradun, he studied at the ‘Welham Boys’ School,’ which is still known as one of the best schools in India. However, he was also interested in playing cricket and decided to follow in the footsteps of his father. He moved to the U.K. to complete his education. There, he got better cricket coaching facilities.
He joined the ‘Lockers Park Prep School’ in Hertfordshire. There, he was coached by English cricketer Frank Woolley. It was there and during his high-school years in Winchester that Mansoor developed his cricketing style.
After completing high school, Mansoor joined the ‘Balliol College’ in Oxford. He studied Arabic and French there. Mansoor played cricket both in high school and college, remaining one of the best players on his teams. He also captained his school cricket team.
Mansoor also won the public school rackets championship for his school.
He lost his father on his eleventh birthday. Following his father’s demise, Mansoor was named the ninth “Nawab” of the princely state of Pataudi (located in modern-day Gurugram). He held the title until 1971, when a constitutional amendment abolished the entitlement.
However, despite that, Mansoor was known as the “Nawab of Pataudi” throughout his life.
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Mansoor exhibited immense talent as a batsman since his teenage years. By the time he was 16 years old, he had made his place in English first-class cricket. He joined the ‘Sussex County Cricket Club’ team in 1957. He also captained his college team at ‘Oxford University’ and was the first Indian to do so. During his first-class career, he played in 310 matches and scored 15,425 runs, with a batting average of 33.67.
He returned to India in the early 1960s, after graduating college. Soon, he made a place on the Indian Test team.
However, in 1961, a car accident in Hove gravely threatened his chances of playing cricket. He was a passenger in the car, and a shard of glass from the windshield penetrated his right eye. The injury caused permanent damage. He even suffered from double vision in his damaged eye. However, the damage did not take away his dedication toward cricket, and he learned to play with one eye.
He practiced in the nets extensively and made his debut for India in December 1961, in Delhi, in a Test match against England. He played with his cap covering his damaged eye, which made it easier for him to see the ball. After average performances in the first two Test matches, he scored a century in the third Test match, which was held in Madras. Thus, he played a decisive role in India’s first Test series win against England.
In 1962, India had to tour the West Indies, and Mansoor was chosen to be the vice-captain of the team. The sitting captain, Nari Contractor, was injured and could not play in the fourth Test match against the West Indies. Thus, Mansoor made his debut as a Test captain in March 1962.
With this, he also became the youngest international Test captain, at the age of 21 years and 77 days. The record was broken by Tatenda Taibu in 2004. However, nationally, Mansoor remains the youngest player to don the captain’s hat for India in international Test matches.
Mansoor scored 2,793 runs for India in the 46 Test matches that he played. His batting average in Tests was 34.91, and he scored six centuries. However, his record as a captain was not too great. He captained the Indian team in 40 matches out of the 46 he had played in, registering only 9 victories. India suffered 19 defeats and 19 draws under his captaincy.
In 1968, however, he led the Indian team to a victory against New Zealand in a series when India was touring New Zealand. It was India’s first-ever Test series win on foreign land. However, his captaincy ended during India’s West Indies tour in 1970–1971. He also stayed away from playing Test matches for the next 2 years.
Meanwhile, he continued playing English first-class cricket for ‘Sussex.’ He made a comeback to the Indian Test team in 1973 and was made the captain for India’s tour of the West Indies in 1974–1975. However, both his and the team’s performances continued to deteriorate. He was eventually dropped from the Indian team in 1975.
Mansoor was known as one of the best fielders in the world in his time. He was nicknamed “Tiger Pataudi,” owing to his fierce and aggressive personality.
He was named the “Indian Cricket Cricketer of the Year” in 1962 and the “Wisden Cricketer of the Year” in 1968. He was also awarded with an ‘Arjuna Award’ in 1964 and a ‘Padma Shri’ in 1967.
He remained associated with the ‘BCCI’ until 2010.
Family, Personal Life & Death
Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi was well-known in the Indian entertainment circle, owing to his relationship with actor and TV host Simi Garewal.
However, in December 1969, he married actor Sharmila Tagore. The couple had three children: Saif Ali Khan, Saba Ali Khan, and Soha Ali Khan. Saif and Soha went on to become Hindi film actors, while Saba became a jewelry designer.
In 2005, Mansoor was arrested and charged with the poaching of a blackbuck and two hares. The case continued for years. The accusations on Mansoor were lifted following his death in 2011.
On September 22, 2011, he passed away from respiratory failure at the ‘Sir Ganga Ram Hospital’ in New Delhi. He was 70 years old at the time of his death.