New Delhi: Google Doodle today has a special gift for Dilip Sardesai, on his 78th birth anniversary. The doodle has a man donning the whites and hitting the ball out of the park. Born in Goa, Dilip Sardesai has been the only cricketer from the state to represent India. Antao D’Souza who was born in Goa played for Pakistan. Known for his outspoken attitude, Sardesai oozed confidence even on the field. We all know the incident when Sardesai walked up to captain Vijay Merchant (who believed in youth policy) asking him the reason for being dropped. 30-year-old Sardesai asked Merchant to not come up with useless explanations. Sardesai made his first mark in cricket in the inter-university Rohinton Baria Trophy in 1959–60 where he made 435 runs at an average of 87. He made his first-class cricket debut for Indian Universities against the touring Pakistan team at Pune.
He made his debut for India against England in 1961 in Kanpur and played 30 Test matches for the country before hanging up his boots in 1972, playing his last game in Delhi. He scored 2001 runs at an average of 38.48, with five centuries nine half-centuries.
Sardesai was popularly known as ‘Sardee-Singh’. During his successful 1970–71 tour in England, Sardesai was asked at the airport whether he had anything to declare. ‘I have come here with runs’, he replied, ‘and I’ll go back with more’.
Sunil Gavaskar had once in his book Sunny Day wrote, “He showed us how to play fast bowling, and in doing so gave us the confidence we needed to beat the West Indies.” He was active between 1961 and 1972 and played 30 matches for India. Scoring 2001 runs, Sardesai earned the tag “Renaissance Man of Indian cricket.”
He represented Bombay in the Ranji Trophy in 13 seasons, including 10 finals, and never finished on the losing side. He scored 199 against Rajasthan in 1967 final.
Sardesai is still remembered for being the mastermind for defeating the mighty West Indies in 1971. The Indian suffered defeats against Barbados and Guyana, but Sardesai stood tall and scored 642 runs in the series, which also included f 212 in the Test match at Kingston, Jamaica. He was also a part of the team who defeated England for the first time in 1971.
Sardesai’s final first-class match was the famous Ranji Trophy final against Madras in 1972–73, which ended on the first ball of the third day. He scored over 1,000 first-class runs in three domestic seasons, with a career-best of 1,429 runs in 1964–65, which included his highest first-class score, 222, for Associated Cement Company against Indian Starlets in the final of the Moin-ud-Dowlah Gold Cup Tournament.
He passed away in 2007, aged 67, due to a chest infection.
It was on July 2, 2007, that the cricketer passed away in Mumbai. While speaking about his father, Rajdeep Sardesai said, “I was told he was terrific against spin. “He wasn’t the greatest fielder but he was always someone who was ready for a fight.” Team Latest wishes the late cricketer a very happy birthday.