Oxford unveils plaque for cricket star

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A plaque was unveiled at the Oxford University Pavilion in University Parks on Friday to celebrate the life and career of the Oxford and Indian cricketing legend Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi.

Mr Pataudi, known as the ‘Tiger Pataudi’, studied French and Arabic at Balliol College. Having captained Oxford and famously having scored centuries in each of the three Varsity matches he played in, he then went on to captain the Indian national side between 1961 and 1974.

His international career was nearly ended before it had even begun when he lost an eye in a car crash in 1961. Recovery saw him back in the nets learning to play with partial sight and he was able to lead Indian cricket for over a decade. The plaque was to celebrate the life and career of the ‘Tiger Pataudi’ who passed away last September at the age of 70.

Members of the Pataudi family in attendance were his widow Sharmila Tagore, eldest son Saif Ali Khan, a famous Bollywood actor, and his fiance Kareena Kapoor, daughters Saba Ali Khan and Soha Ali Khan and her partner Kunal Khemu. The family was welcomed by University Chancellor Lord Patten and Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Hamilton.

The University head of (Sport) Development Andrew Thomas said, “We were delighted to welcome such a prominent family from India with deep connections to Oxford and to share in the opportunity to honour Tiger Pataudi, one of our sporting legends.” 

The family of the Mr Pataudi had lunch at his former college Balliol and then went on to the Ashmolean, exploring the Indian collection. They finished their visit by watching the 160th match of the Harlequins, a club for Oxford cricketing alumni. 

Mr Thomas also commented, “The Pataudi family enjoyed the opportunity to walk around Oxford in relative anonymity, although at one stage a passing car came to an abrupt halt and a group of surprised and excited autograph hunters jumped out!”

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