Salim Durani, debonair cricketer of the 1960s, passes away at 88

Salim Durani was instrumental in India’s defeating England 2–0 in the historic five-match Test series in 1961-62

Former cricketer Salim Durani passes away at 88
Salim Durani, known for his sartorial sense and swagger, also dabbled in Bollywood | Photo: Twitter/ICC

Salim Durani, the suave India cricketer of the 1960s with movie star looks, a puckish sense of humour, and a penchant for hitting monstrous sixes on public demand, died on Sunday (April 2).

He was 88. Sources close to the family confirmed his death.

Durani had been living with his younger brother, Jahangir Durani, in Jamnagar, Gujarat. He had undergone a proximal femoral nail surgery after breaking his thigh bone in a fall in January.

Sartorial sense and swagger

The Kabul-born Durani, who packed a punch with his bat and was also a handy left-arm orthodox bowler, played 29 Tests and was instrumental in India defeating England 2–0 in the historic five-match Test series in 1961-62. He picked up eight and 10 wickets in the team’s victories at Calcutta and Madras.

Durani, known for his sartorial sense and swagger, scored just one century though he had seven fifties in the 50 innings he played for the country, scoring 1,202 runs.

A decade after the epic triumph against England, he played a key role in helping India win against the West Indies in Port of Spain, dismissing both Clive Lloyd and Sir Garfield Sobers.

The star cricketer also dabbled in Bollywood, starring opposite renowned actor Praveen Babi in the movie Charitra in 1973.

“An institution in himself”

Condolence messages poured in on social media, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeting: “Salim Durani Ji was a cricketing legend, an institution in himself. He made a key contribution to India’s rise in the world of cricket. On and off the field, he was known for his style. Pained by his demise. Condolences to his family and friends. May his soul rest in peace.

“Salim Durani Ji had a very old and strong association with Gujarat. He played for Saurashtra and Gujarat for a few years. He also made Gujarat his home. I have had the opportunity to interact with him and was deeply impressed by his multifaceted persona. He will surely be missed.”

Former India batter VVS Laxman tweeted along with a picture: “India’s first Arjuna Award winning cricketer and a man who hit sixes on public demand, Salim Durani. Om Shanti. Heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and loved ones.”

Former India cricketer Ravi Shastri, too, posted along with a picture: “Easily one of the most colourful cricketers of India — Salim Durani. Rest in Peace. (Om Shanti.)”

“No Durani No Test”

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor tweeted: “Saddened by the news that cricket legend Salim Durani has passed away. Born in Kabul too early for the white-ball era in which he’d have thrived, the volatile genius was a crowd-pleaser and public favourite: ‘No Durani No Test’ posters went up when he was dropped against England. RIP.”

Boxer Vijender Singh shared a picture with the cricket legend.

(With agency inputs)