Obituary: M. L. Jaisimha

NOT ONLY was M. L. Jaisimha one of India's old-style cricketers, good-looking and charming, but he was also one of the most stylish batsmen with an indolent grace that was both flamboyant and dashing .

He played for India through the Sixties, when cricket was fun, with little or no thought for monetary compensation. In his spotless white cricketing gear, he looked the picture of elegance. Off the field his film-star good looks and frail, dignified bearing were accentuated by the distinctive cigarette almost always dangling from his lower lip.

A firm driver of the ball, Jaisimha played 39 test matches during his 12-year cricketing career from 1959 to 1971, scoring 2,056 runs, including three centuries and 12 half-centuries. He opened the innings for India, occupied a slot in the middle order and even tried his hand at off breaks, albeit with limited success, taking just nine wickets for 829 runs with two for 54 runs against England at Kanpur in northern India in 1963 - 64 being his best effort.

Jaisimha's biggest score was his knock of 129 against England in the 1963-64 home series, while his other two centuries were made against England (127 in 1961-62) and Australia (101 in 1966-68) when he flew in as a substitute. Within hours of landing at Brisbane he was padded up and stylishly hammering the ball to all corners of the field.

Motanganahalli Laximinarsu Jaisimha was born into a middle-class family in Secunderabad in southern India 1939, the twin city to Hyderabad, a deliciously decadent state then ruled by the Nawab, one of the world's richest men. He was educated locally and displayed an aptitude for sport in high school, especially cricket and tennis. He made his cricketing debut playing for Hyderabad in the Ranji Trophy league matches in 1954- 55, scoring 90 runs and taking three wickets for 51 runs. He played Ranji Trophy - the equivalent of English county cricket - for 23 seasons without a break and the Duleep Trophy for 12 years.

Jaisimha captained Hyderabad for 14 successive seasons till 1977, when he retired from first-class cricket having scored 12,700 runs in 237 matches and 374 innings. He also took over 400 wickets at an average of 30.75 runs per victim.

Jaisimha played his first test against England at Lord's at the age of 20 in 1959. It was a lacklustre debut - he made seven runs in the first innings and eight in the next. But he made a dramatic comeback in the Indian team against Australia later that year in the fifth and final test at Calcutta, creating a record of sorts by batting on all five days. Sent in at number eight, Jaisimha came into the crease in the closing minutes of the first day's play and scored two runs. He was 20 not out when the Indian innings folded the following day. On the third day, with India forced to a follow-on, Jaisimha scored zero not out, followed by 59 not out on the fourth day. He was bowled out on the fifth and final day for 74 runs.

Jaisimha was a superb player of spin with nimble footwork and unorthodox style which was a delight to watch. He was also a great strategist - in the opinion of several cricket writers the best captain "never to have led India". After retiring from first-class cricket in 1977, he was appointed the national selector for the Indian team a year later and was responsible for picking Kapil Dev - who blossomed into one of the world's best all- rounders - for the tour of Pakistan in the late Seventies. Under Dev's captaincy India won the World Cup in 1983.

A loyal friend, Jaisimha went out of his way to help sportsmen. He had a droll sense of humour and could regale people for hours with hilarious, irreverent anecdotes.

Kuldip Singh

Motanganahalli Laximinarsu Jaisimha, cricketer: born Secunderabad, India 3 March 1939; married (two sons); died Hyderabad, India 7 July 1999.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry in the band's new video 'Leave a Trace'

music
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Home on the raunch: George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard), Lady Seymour Worsley (Natalie Dormer) and Richard Worsley (Shaun Evans)

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton

film
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
New book 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

books
Arts and Entertainment
Calvi is not afraid of exploring the deep stuff: loneliness, anxiety, identity, reinvention
music
Arts and Entertainment
Edinburgh solo performers Neil James and Jessica Sherr
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
If a deal to buy tBeats, founded by hip-hop star Dr Dre (pictured) and music producer Jimmy Iovine went through, it would be Apple’s biggest ever acquisition

album review
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith is joining The Voice as a new coach

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Patriot games: Vic Reeves featured in ‘Very British Problems’
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Summer nights: ‘Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp’
TVBut what do we Brits really know about them?
Arts and Entertainment
Dr Michael Mosley is a game presenter

TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
    Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
    Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

    Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

    Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
    Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

    Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

    The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
    Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

    Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

    His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

    Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future