India’s longest-living test cricketer Dattajirao Gaekwad passes away at 95

Dattaji Gaekwad was a distinguished cricketer who donned the Indian jersey in 11 test matches.

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Courtesy: India Today

The cricketing fraternity mourns the loss of Dattajirao Krishnarao Gaekwad, India's oldest living test cricketer, who breathed his last at the age of 95 in Vadodara, Gujarat. Fondly known as Dattaji Gaekwad, he leaves behind a rich legacy intertwined with remarkable achievements and contributions to the sport.

A distinguished cricketer who donned the Indian jersey in 11 test matches, Gaekwad's cricketing journey was marked by notable milestones and commendable feats. His leadership prowess shone brightly during the 1959 tour to England when he captained the Indian side, leaving an indelible mark on the annals of Indian cricket history.

Gaekwad's cricketing prowess was honed under the tutelage of Test cricketer C S Nayudu, a pivotal figure in his formative years. His early association with the sport paved the way for a stellar career that saw him representing Baroda with distinction. Notably, Gaekwad led the Baroda cricket team to victory in the Ranji Trophy in 1957-58, a testament to his astute leadership and exceptional skills on the field.

Beyond his exploits on the cricket pitch, Gaekwad's influence extended to coaching and cricket administration. He played a pivotal role in nurturing young talent as a coach, imparting invaluable knowledge and skills to aspiring cricketers. Gaekwad's dedication to the sport transcended generations, as evidenced by his tenure as the first captain of the MS University's cricket team and his coaching stint with the Baroda Ranji team until 2000.

Gaekwad's illustrious career was not merely defined by his on-field performances but also by his administrative acumen and commitment to the development of cricket in Baroda. His service as the joint secretary of the Baroda Cricket Association and his role as the comptroller of Baroda State underscored his unwavering dedication to the sport and its governance.
In recognition of his contributions to Indian cricket, Gaekwad was honored with a commemorative cover by the postal department on his 92nd birthday in October 2020, a testament to his enduring legacy and lasting impact on the sport he loved.

As the cricketing fraternity bids farewell to one of its stalwarts, Dattajirao Gaekwad's legacy will continue to inspire aspiring cricketers and serve as a beacon of excellence in the annals of Indian cricket history.

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