Vijay Hazare

11 Mar 1915
18 Dec 2004
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Vijay Samuel Hazare About this sound pronunciation (help·info) (11 March 1915 – 18 December 2004) was an Indian cricket player from the state of Maharashtra. He captained the Indian cricket team in 14 matches between 1951 and 1953. In India’s 25th Test match, nearly 20 years after India achieved Test status, he led India to its first ever Test cricket win (and the only victory under his captaincy) in 1951–52 against England cricket team at Madras, winning by an innings and eight runs in a match that began on the day that King George VI died.

Hazare was born in Sangli, in the then Bombay Presidency of British India in 1915, one of eight children of a schoolteacher.

Primarily a right-hand batsman, Hazare was also a right-hand medium-pace bowler. A “shy, retiring” man (according to Wisden in 1952), it was widely thought that he was not a natural captain, and that his batting suffered as a result. His rival, Vijay Merchant said that the captaincy prevented Hazare from becoming India’s finest batsman: “It was one of the tragedies of cricket.”

Even so, Hazare’s Test record is very respectable: he amassed 2,192 runs in 30 Test matches with a batting average of 47.65. His first-class record is even more impressive, with a batting average of 58.38 for his 18,740 runs (highest first-class aggregate for an Indian player after Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid). He scored 60 first-class centuries (including 7 in Tests), the fourth highest for an Indian player and 10 first-class double centuries (including six during World War II, when India was the only major cricket-playing country to continue holding its domestic first-class cricket competition without interruption).

His bowling record was more modest, and he took 595 first-class wickets (including 20 in Tests, and Donald Bradman’s wicket three times) at an bowling average of 24.61. On the Indian domestic circuit, Hazare played for the Maharashtra, Central India and Baroda teams.

Some of his notable achievements include:

First Indian batsman to score a triple century in first class cricket (considering KS Duleepsinhji as an English cricketer)
First Indian to score two triple centuries:
the first, his highest score, was 316 not out for Maharashtra against Poona in 1939–40
the second was 309 out of 387 for The Rest against The Hindus at Bombay in 1943–44. Despite his innings, Rest lost the match by an innings. It included a partnership of 300 with his brother, Vivek Hazare. Vijay scored 266 (88.6% of the partnership) of the 300 runs while Vivek contributed 21. Hazare scored 79.84% of his team’s score, then a world record, and it is the second highest individual score in a losing cause. Rest’s total is the smallest completed innings to contain a triple century.
First Indian to score a century in each innings of a Test match (116 and 145 on successive days against the Australian cricket team in Adelaide in 1947–48, which was the same team that became known as The Invincibles)
Ironically, against England at Kanpur in 1951–52, Hazare also became the first Indian batsman to score a pair (a duck in both innings)
First Indian player to score a century in three successive Test matches
First Indian player to make fifty centuries in his first class career
Highest partnership for any wicket in first-class cricket (577 runs with Gul Mahomed for Baroda against Holkar in the final of the Ranji Trophy at Baroda in 1947. This record stood for many years, and was only broken in 2006 by Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene who put on 624 for Sri Lanka against South Africa.
First Indian player to complete 1000 Test Runs

In retirement, he was for a short while an Indian Test cricket selector. He has been honoured with a trophy in his name, the Vijay Hazare Trophy, a zonal-cricket tournament in India. He died in December 2004 following prolonged illness caused by intestinal cancer.

He and Jasu Patel were the first cricketers to be honoured with the Padma Shri.

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