Doha, December 3, 2020
Young sportsmen and women should emulate former stars like Tiger Pataudi and Gordon Banks by excelling in their chosen vocation and overcoming all challenges as they both did, an Indian community leader said on Thursday.
Speaking on International Day for People with Disability (IDPD), Dr Mohan Thomas said, “Indian cricket captain Pataudi, and England goalkeeper Banks, both famous stars of the 1960s era, performed well for their countries despite losing an eye in accidents.”
The physician cited these two outstanding stars of the 20th century for excelling in cricket and football despite vision disability. He said this at an event held here to mark the Disability Day in Doha.
Mansur Ali Khan, the late husband of Indian actress Sharmila Tagore and father of actor Saif Ali Khan, was known as Tiger Pataudi. He debuted for India with normal vision in both eyes. He lost an eye in a car accident on July 1, 1961 in Brighton when he was only 20 years old. Like Gordon Banks, he continued to play at the top level.
“I recall Tiger Pataudi playing well as a middle-order batsman. He faced fierce fast bowlers like Andy Roberts, Keith Boyce and Vanburn Holder in his last Test series in 1975. Pataudi led the Indian Test team astutely,” said Dr Thomas. “In the 1960s and early 70s, barring Ramakant Desai and Vasant Ranjane, Pataudi did not have fast bowlers like Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Umesh Yadav that captain Virat Kohli has.
“To overcome this weak link in the bowling, Pataudi developed and supported India’s famous spin quartet of Bishan Bedi, Prasanna, Venkataraghavan and Bhagwat Chandrashekar. Like Pataudi, Chandrashekar too had a handicap. Polio had affected his right hand. He excelled as leg-spinner for India in Tests despite the problem.”
Hailing England goalkeeper Banks as one of the world’s best, Dr Thomas said, “Banks was one of the star performers for captain Bobby (Robert) Moore along with George Hurst who scored a hat-trick in the 4-2 win over West Germany in the FIFA World Cup final in Wembley.”
Banks, who died in 2019, was a great goalkeeper, Dr Thomas said. “He represented England in 73 matches and FIFA named him ‘Goalkeeper of the Year’ six times. Unfortunately, he lost right eye vision in a car accident in 1972. His unyielding spirit did not give up. He continued to play. He played for Fort Lauderdale Strikers in the North American soccer League in 1977.”
At the FIFA World Cup in Guadalajara, Mexico in 1970, Banks made an unbelievable save off the legendary Pele’s header. “This incredible save forged their friendship. Pele often narrated that save to journalists,” said Dr Thomas.
“Banks appeared in my sight like a blue phantom. He came from nowhere and pushed my header up and over. I could not believe what I saw,” Pele said.
“Fans do not know many international players excel despite their disabilities,” said Dr Thomas.
New Zealand batsman Martin Guptill has only two toes on his left foot. Pakistani fast bowlers Shoaib Akhtar played for 10 years and took more than 400 wickets despite hyperextension in knee joints. Another Pakistani fast bowler Azeem Hafeez excelled in the 1980s despite a congenital defect of two less fingers on his right hand.
Doha, December 3, 2020