Describing his predecessor and former Test player Madhav Mantri – who died today aged 92 – as one of the giants of Mumbai and Indian cricket, Mumbai Cricket Association president Sharad Pawar said he was an inspiration to the city’s cricketers.
“He may have looked diminutive, but Madhav Mantri was well and truly one of the giants of Mumbai and Indian cricket. The game of cricket and cricket administration were dearer to him than anything else,” said Pawar in his condolence message.
“He served Mumbai and India in several capacities. He played for India in four Tests, in the 1950s. He captained Mumbai to three Ranji Trophy titles in the 1950s, and inspired youngsters in the city to excel at the sport,” said Pawar.
The NCP supremo also praised Mantri for recognising the importance of fielding, a neglected art in his prime days, and for his contributions to the game in different capacities after his playing days.
“A visionary, he was among the earliest cricketing gurus in India to recognise and emphasise the importance of fielding, at a time when this department of the game was not valued as much as batting and bowling.
“He was a national selector in the 1960s. As President of the Mumbai Cricket Association from 1987-88 to 1991-92, he set high standards for his successors, with his accomplishments and commitment. He was Treasurer of the BCCI from 1990 to 1992. He loved sharing his views on cricketing matters with youngsters. He managed the Indian team on its tour of England in 1990,” he said.
“Two of the youngest members of the side on that tour, Sachin Tendulkar and Anil Kumble, would have learnt a lot from him.
“He would make it a point to watch international and domestic cricket matches at the Wankhede Stadium. He regularly attended functions organised by the Mumbai Cricket Association, and would advise and guide players and administrators. He was hugely proud of his association with Mumbai cricket.
“He was a stickler for discipline, and for playing the game in the right spirit. Indian and Mumbai cricket will miss this extraordinary individual,” Pawar added.