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  TA Sekhar
  Madan Lal
  Shivlal Yadav
  Roger Binny
  DK Gaekwad
  Vijay Hazare
  Kiran More
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  Balwinder Sandhu
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  Polly Umrigar
  Chandra Nayudu
  CD Gopinath
  Mushtaq Ali
  Mansur Pataudi
  Maninder Singh
  Chandu Sarwate
  Chetan Chauhan

Mushtaq Ali (Part I)

Meet Mushtaq Ali Face to Face as part of CricInfo's video/audio interview series with former Indian cricketers

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Mushtaq Ali
"I was so happy...It is no joke playing for the country. In those days to play for the country was very difficult"

[ Complete profile of Mushtaq Ali ]

CricInfo: Can you recollect some of the memories of your playing days? You began your career as a slow left arm bowler and in fact took 10 wickets in a match for the Rest of India against the touring English side in 1932. How did you make the transition as an opening batsman?

Mushtaq Ali: Its all God's gift...In all I played 11 tests, out of which 5-6 Tests I played as a bowler and the rest as a batsman. I played my first Test in Calcutta as a left arm bowler and took England captain Jardine's wicket. So it's God's gift and I don't know how I became a batsmen. I was also a good fielder. [Video | Audio]

CI: You made your Test debut at the Eden Gardens against Jardine's team. How memorable was that experience?

MA: I was so happy...It is no joke playing for the country. In those days to play for the country was very difficult. This was in 1934 and when I came back to my house, my family members were so happy that I was selected to play for India. I still have the bat with which I played. [Video | Audio]

[Douglas Jardine] [India v England - 2nd Test, 1933/34]

CI: The second Test of the 1936 tour of England in Manchester must probably be one of the greatest moments in your Test career.

MA: We left for England by ship for the 1936 tour. It was a very difficult journey as it took 15 days to reach England. In the second Test, I was batting with Vijay Merchant. In the second innings we started after tea and as luck would have it I scored a century and we saved the match. I became the first Indian to score a 100 in England. [Video | Audio]

[England v India - 2nd Test, 1936]

CI: You and Merchant are still regarded as India's best ever opening pair. What were the reasons behind the success?

MA: Vijay Merchant was a very slow and disciplined cricketer. He always used to tell me to play like this, play like that. He was a very fine cricketer and I regard him as a very good player. [Video | Audio]

CI: Let me ask something about the Pentangular cricket tournament that was the foremost domestic tournament in those days.

MA: Before the Ranji Trophy started, we had a Quadrangular tournament involving the Hindus, Muslims, Parsis and the Europeans. This later became Pentangular when the Christians were added. We played good cricket and enjoyed the game. I used to practice at the Hindu Gymkhana playing for the Muslims and we shared a brotherly atmosphere there and there was no communal feelings amongst us. [Video | Audio]

CI: You led the Muslims to a one wicket victory in the 1944 Pentangular tournament. Can you tell us something about that exciting match?

MA: I was captaining the Muslims and Vijay Merchant was captaining the Hindus. I opened the innings and was badly injured by Shute Banerjee...The doctor told me it was not possible for me to play...[In the second innings] Col. CK Nayudu asked me `Mushtaq, you are not going to bat?'. I told him I was injured. He said that `What if you are injured, your team needs you. You just go! So, I just went to the pavilion, changed my clothes and scored some 40 odd runs and we won the match. [Video | Audio]

CI: Member of the great Holkar side of the of the late 40s and early 50s:

MA: Before the Holkars it was the Central India Cricket Association in the British period. Then it was the Holkars... Then Madhya Bharath. And now Madhya Pradesh. [Video | Audio]

CI: Can you recollect your memories of the famous Ranji Trophy final of 1944-45 when Holkar lost to Bombay in the final and you scored 100 in each innings?

MA: Actually we could have won the match had I not lost my cool. It was entirely my mistake. I was well set. I scored centuries in both innings. Denis Compton playing at the other end kept telling play steady but like an idiot I played a [bad] shot and I got out. Though I scored a century in each innings we lost the match. The Holkar side were Ranji Trophy winners four times and runners up for six times. We never had enough time for practicing as we used to get only a couple of days before the match. [Video | Audio]

[Denis Compton] [Ranji Final 1945]

Mushtaq Ali: [Part II]

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