Lala  Amarnath


Nanik Amarnath Bharadwaj

Born: 11 September 1911, Kapurthala, Punjab
Died: 5 August 2000, New Delhi
Major Teams: Hindus, Southern Punjab, Gujarat, Maharajah of Patiala's XI, Uttar Pradesh, Railways.
Known As: Lala Amarnath
Batting Style: Right Hand Bat
Bowling Style: Right Arm Medium
Other: Wicket-Keeper


A dashing player with a flamboyant personality, Lala was India's first Test centurion, with a strokeful 118 on debut against England in 1933-34, in India's second Test. His accurate slow medium bowling (off the wrong foot, as he often liked to mention) took enough wickets for him to be an allrounder. His personality (and possibly envy over his talent) led him afoul of authority several times, notably in 1936, when his captain Vizzy decided to send him home from the tour to England. He recovered from this disgrace to lead India to Australia after World War II, in 1946-47. While his Test performances never quite did justice to his talent, his double century against Victoria in a tour match was much talked about. The highlight of his captaincy was a 2-1 win at home in India's first series against Pakistan, in 1951-52. His sons Surinder and Mohinder went on to play Tests as well. Surinder was also a debut centurion; coincidentally, India's 100th Test ton. After retirement, Lala was for a while a Test selector, and later an entertaining and popular commentator, forthright as ever.

Many considered Lala Amarnath a great ambassador for Indian cricket and also of the Indian nation. He scored the first Indian test century on Bombay 1933 against England. Amarnath, however, gained further fame and notiriety from his brutally candid attitude to politics in the game. 

Most famously he was sent home from the Engalnd tour in 1936 after opposing the then captain, the Maharajah of Vizanagram whose sporting skills and captainship owed more to his social position than his sporting abilities, during the tour the Maharajah possessed 36 pieces of personal baggage and two servants. Amarnath was asked by the Indian Board of Control to apologise for his disobedience, due to British government pressure this demand was dropped. He was to again revisit clashes with the Board in 1949 after he denounced the Board for playing power politics with Indian cricket.
His cricketing style was unusual, in bowling his swing and swerve were excellent coupled with his unorthodox double hop at the end of his bowling run up, his batting explosive and his fielding square to either side of the wicket was also superb.

He was independant India's first cricket captain. Partition adversely afftected his team in the 1947-48 Australian tour as many players left the team due to the troubles in their native Punjabi towns and cities.

Amarnath continued to be a personality in cricket much of his life as he frequently commentated on games and his criticism of aspects of the game never ceased. 

Amarnath is survived by three sons and two daughters, the sons are all professional cricketers and possess much of their father's rebellious fervour. 

Test Debut: India v England at Bombay, 1st Test, 1933/34
Last Test: India v Pakistan at Calcutta, 5th Test, 1952/53

Career Statistics:

                      M    I  NO  Runs   HS     Ave 100  50   Ct  St
Batting & Fielding   24   40   4   878  118   24.38   1   4   13   0

                     Balls    M     R    W    Ave   BBI   5 10    SR  Econ
Bowling               4241  195  1481   45  32.91  5-96   2  0  94.2  2.09

 (1929/30 - 1963/64)
                      M    I  NO  Runs   HS     Ave 100s   Ct  St
Batting & Fielding  186  286  34 10426  262   41.37   31   96   2

                       R    W    Ave   BBI    5  10
Bowling            10644  463  22.98  7-27   19   3


                      M    I  NO  Runs   HS     Ave 100  50   Ct  St
Batting & Fielding    0    -   -     -    -     -     -   -    -   -

                    Balls    M     R    W    Ave   BBI   4w  5w    SR  Econ
Bowling                 0    -     -    -    -     -      -   -    -    -


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