Indian cricket fraternity today reacted with shock and sorrow on the demise of former captain Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, who died here due to lung infection, describing him as a "great human being" and "shrewd leader" who inspired a generation of players in the country.
Former and current stalwarts of the game remembered how Pataudi had influenced their careers in different ways and said his demise has left a void in Indian cricket.
Former captain Gundappa Viswanath described Pataudi as his guide in early years of his career and somebody who had always helped the youngsters.
"It is a terrible news for me, he brought me up and guided me. I can't even express myself, it is one of my saddest days. He was a great human being, a great cricketer, a great fielder, shrewed captain, it is really sad," he said.
"He always guided the youngsters, I was very close to him, so I can't really forget the way he brought me up. He was my first captain under whom I played. Whatever career I had, it stands on him," he added.
Former captain and current selection panel chairman Krishnamachari Srikkanth said Pataudi was the one cricketer who ushered in style and aggression to Indian cricket.
"It is a great loss for Indian cricket. He is one fellow, so stylish and aggressive. He achieved so much at the age of 21, he played an aggressive brand of cricket. He was very friendly and a fun loving person, he had very subtle and good sense of humour," said Srikkanth.
"His greatest quality was the way he hit those sixes. He is called Tiger because of his extraordinary fielding at covers. He lost one eye but still went on to score so many runs. He expresses his views but never tried to impose them. One thing I like to inculcate from him is his determination and aggressiveness," he said.
Current India batsman Rahul Dravid said Pataudi's illustrious career made a great impact on the game and on the Indian team.
"It is a sad day for Indian cricket, he was an inspiration for us. I never had the chance of seeing him play but I always heard how big an impact he made on the game. I had the chance of interacting with him on various issues. He was extremely knowledgeable, he deeply cared about Indian team. It is such a loss not only for his family and friends but also for Indian cricket," he said.
Dravid's India team-mate VVS Laxman felt Pataudi's legacy will continue even after his death.
"It's a sad moment for cricket fraternity. It's shocking news to me as only few days back I met him in England. I have never interacted with him on cricketing techniques but he had a great cricketing acumen and a very knowledgeable person, given the amount of experience," Laxman said.
"His record speaks for itself. May his soul rests in peace. I am confident his legacy will continue. He had a lot of passion for Indian cricket. His knowledge and acumen about cricket will definitely be missed," he added.
Pataudi's one-time team-mate Bishen Singh Bedi described him as the "foremost outstanding champion of Indian cricket".
"Very sad day for the Indian cricket. He was the foremost outstanding champion of Indian cricket. With his sad demise, that chapter is closed now. I am too shocked to react to this news," said Bedi.
Former captain Dilip Vengsarkar remembered Pataudi as an "innovative" captain who had won many matches for the country.
"It's a sad news. He was a great player, fantastic captain and an outstanding fielder. He was a gutsy player and an innovative captain. He won many may matches for India. We are going to miss him," he said.
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