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Lala Amarnath

Lala Amarnath
Amarnath batting at Lord's in 1936
Personal information
Born(1911-09-11)11 September 1911
Kapurthala, Punjab, British India
Died5 August 2000(2000-08-05) (aged 88)
New Delhi, India
BowlingRight-arm medium
International information
National side
Test debut (cap 12)15 December 1933 v England
Last Test12 December 1955 v Pakistan
Career statistics
Competition Test First-class
Matches 24 186
Runs scored 878 10,426
Batting average 24.38 41.37
100s/50s 1/4 31/39
Top score 118 262
Balls bowled 4,241 29,474
Wickets 45 463
Bowling average 32.91 22.98
5 wickets in innings 2 19
10 wickets in match 0 3
Best bowling 5/96 7/27
Catches/stumpings 13 96/2
Source: Lala Amarnath, 12 May 2020

Lala Amarnath Bhardwaj (11 September 1911 – 5 August 2000) was an Indian cricketer. He is considered to be the father figure of Indian cricket. He scored the first ever century for India in Test Cricket in 1933 .[1] He was independent India's first cricket captain and captained India in their first Test series win against Pakistan in 1952.[2]

He played only three Test Matches before World War II (India played no official Test matches during the war). During this time he amassed around 10,000 runs with 30 hundreds in first-class cricket which included teams from Australia and England. After the war, he played another 21 Test Matches for India. He later became the chairman of the Senior Selection Committee, BCCI and was also a commentator and expert. His proteges include Chandu Borde, M.L. Jaisimha, and Jasu Patel who played for India. His sons Surinder and Mohinder Amarnath also became Test players for India. His grandson Digvijay is also a current first-class player. The Government of India awarded him the civilian honour of the Padma Bhushan in 1991.[3] Amarnath received the inaugural C. K. Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994, the highest honour bestowed by BCCI on a former player.[4]

Early life

Amarnath was born in an impoverished Punjabi-speaking Brahmin family[5][6][7] of Kapurthala, Punjab. Recognizing his talent in Lahore, a Muslim cricketing household adopted Amarnath.[8] He played his debut match against England in 1933 on the Bombay Gymkhana grounds in South Bombay. Amarnath also played for the Hindus in the Bombay Quadrangular. Aside from being a batsman, Lala Amarnath was also a bowler, the only one to dismiss Donald Bradman hit wicket.

Test career

In 1933's England's tour of India, Lala Amarnath was leading run-scorer. In the series he created history by scoring first ever Test 100 by an Indian batsman at Bombay.[9]

Amarnath was controversially sent back from the 1936 tour of England by the captain, the Maharajkumar of Vizianagram, for "indiscipline".[10] Amarnath and others allege it was due to politics. Vizzy, the Maharajkumar of Vizianagram, was named the captain for Indian cricket team for the 1936 tour of England, a post that he secured after lobbying and manipulation. Some of the senior players in the squad, including Lala Amarnath, C. K. Nayudu and Vijay Merchant, were critical of Vizzy's playing abilities and captaincy, and the team was split between those who supported and criticised the captain. During India's match against Minor Counties at Lord's Lala Amarnath had been nursing a back injury during the game. Vizzy had Amarnath's pad up but did not put him in to bat as a succession of other batsmen were sent in ahead of him, which prevented Amarnath from resting his injury. Amarnath was finally put in to bat at the end of the day. Visibly angry after returning to the dressing room, he threw his kit into his bag and muttered in Punjabi, "I know what is transpiring". Vizzy took this as an affront and conspired with team manager Major Jack Brittain-Jones to have Lala Amarnath sent back from the tour without playing the first test match.[11] It is also alleged that in the first test against the England, Vizzy offered Mushtaq Ali a gold watch to run out Vijay Merchant.[11]

Captain and manager

Lala Amarnath was the captain of the Indian team that toured Australia in 1947-1948. When the Partition of India took place in August 1947, Amarnath and his family had to flee the city to escape a Muslim mob. He lived in Patiala in the Indian state of Punjab till 1957, when he moved to the capital, Delhi. Lala Amarnath had received his education at Aligarh Muslim University.[12] Amarnath is widely respected for reaching out to bridge the divide between players and fans of India and Pakistan, caused by political tensions between the two countries.[13] Under his leadership, India won its first-ever Test against Pakistan in Delhi in 1952 and went on to win the series 2–1. Amarnath also managed the team when it toured Pakistan in 1954-55.

Family and legacy

His sons Mohinder and Surinder also played cricket for India and another son Rajinder played first-class cricket while his grandson Digvijay is also a first-class player. Throughout his twilight years, Amarnath was considered a living legend of Indian cricket.[14]

Mohinder played the role of his father in the 2021 sports drama 83, while Mohinder himself was portrayed by Saqib Saleem. Both of them had previously shared screen space in the 2016 action comedy Dishoom.

Preceded byNawab of Pataudi, snr Indian National Test Cricket Captain 1947/48-1948/49 Succeeded byVijay Hazare Preceded byVijay Hazare Indian National Test Cricket Captain 1952/3 Succeeded byVijay Hazare Preceded byLearie Constantine Nelson Cricket ClubProfessional 1938–1939 Succeeded byBert Nutter


  1. ^ "Full Scorecard of India vs England 1st Test 1933/34 – Score Report". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 4 May 2022.
  2. ^ "Lala Amarnath". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  3. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 October 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  4. ^ "C.K. Nayudu award for Kapil Dev". The Hindu. 18 December 2013. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 25 April 2023.
  5. ^ Bhalerao, Sarang (10 December 2012). "Lala Amarnath – the life and times of a legend". Sportskeeda. Retrieved 12 January 2022.
  6. ^ Stern, John; Williams, Marcus (7 January 2014). The Essential Wisden: An Anthology of 150 Years of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. A&C Black. p. 865. ISBN 978-1-4081-7896-6.
  7. ^ Astill, James (4 July 2013). The Great Tamasha: Cricket, Corruption and the Turbulent Rise of Modern India. A&C Black. ISBN 978-1-4081-9220-7.
  8. ^ "The Twenty Two Families of Pakistan Test Cricket – Part III. Sports". The News International. Pakistan. 7 June 2020. Retrieved 4 September 2022.
  9. ^ "भारताचे पहिले कसोटी शतकवीर कोण, तुम्हाला माहित आहेत का?". 11 September 2018.
  10. ^ Lynch, Steven. "You're fired". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
  11. ^ a b "A right royal Indian mess". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  12. ^ "Academics – Centres – Games Committee". Aligarh Muslim University. Archived from the original on 3 April 2013.
  13. ^ Kureishi, Omar (9 August 2000). "Amarnath's death a sad moment in cricket". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 14 January 2013.
  14. ^ "India's most legendary of figures". ESPNcricinfo. August 1994. Retrieved 14 January 2013.
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Lala Amarnath
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