Former Test cricketer Deepak Shodhan, the first Indian to score a century in his debut innings, died on Monday at his Ahmedabad residence, aged 87.
According to informed sources he died of cardiac arrest on Monday morning after a brief battle with lung cancer.
Shodhan, a left-handed batsman who could bowl medium pace, played just three Tests in all (with an average of 60-plus) after rescuing India thanks to a fine unbeaten 110 in his debut innings against Pakistan in the fifth and final drawn Test at Kolkata in 1952-53 (the first series between the two countries after partition).
He had stepped in at No 8 with India tottering at 179 for 6 in reply to Pakistan’s 257 all out. Shodhan batted with Dattu Phadkar, GS Ramchand, wicketkeeper Prabir Sen and last man Ghulam Ahmed to guide the team to a 140-run lead.
Shodhan (who had replaced indisposed captain Vijay Hazare in the XI after being in the reserves) did not bat in the second innings of the Kolkata Test and later got picked for the tour to the West Indies. He played in the opening Test at Port of Spain and made 45 and 11 lower down the order before being injured.
He missed three Tests in between before returning to the final game at Kingston only to remain absent hurt in the first innings and scoring an unbeaten15 in the second. That strangely was his last appearance in the country’s colours although he played first class cricket till 1962.
Shodhan scored 1802 runs in 43 First-Class games with 4 hundreds and 7 fifties, at just over 31 per innings, besides taking 73 wickets at an average of 34.05. The final rites were being held on Monday at Ahmedabad, said sources.