The grand old man of cricket statistics, Anandji Dossa is no more. The Eternal scorer declared him out yesterday — a few days after his 98th birthday — far away from his beloved Mumbai, in America.
Anandji Dossa at his Ghatkopar home in 2012. File Pic/Sameer Markande
His innings was overall silken smooth with more hits than misses and he was confident of going on to get his 100. When a friend asked him when they will meet again on their last meeting in Ghatkopar, Mumbai on his 96th birthday, Dossa is believed to have replied, "after four years."
Former India cricketer Madhav Apte was saddened when mid-day broke the news of his mentor's death yesterday. "I became a Jolly Cricketer (a club which Dossa helped to form) in 1946 and I can say that Anandjibhai was the biggest influence of my life and cricket. His contribution was immense and cricket would have been better if people like Anandjibhai were running it," said Apte.
The erstwhile Mumbai captain remembered how Dossa honoured him by presenting a Marathi cricket book to him several years ago. "It was a very elementary book on cricket, but it was written in 1895 by a headmaster from Miraj (in Maharashtra)," said Apte.
Batting legend Sunil Gavaskar was quick with his tribute: "That's sad news, he was not only the doyen of statisticians but also one of the gentlest and nicest of men. The combination of Vijay Merchant and Anandji Dossa made listening to All India Radio such a delightful experience. May his soul rest in peace." Dossa compiled the statistics for Gavaskar's autobiography Sunny Days.
Sudhir Vaidya, like Dossa, a former BCCI statistician, called Dossa 'the father of cricket statistics'. Pune-based Vaidya paid him a rich tribute: "Anandjibhai's contribution to cricket is remarkable, immense and unparalled. This is a huge loss."
It is learnt that Dossa will be cremated in New York on Wednesday. This writer's relationship with Dossa dates back to the late 1980s when he first visited Dossa at his home in Santacruz (West).
He had a room full of cricket books — all neatly covered with brown paper. The same collection was donated to the Cricket Club of India which then erected the Anandji Dossa reference library on the second floor — an apt tribute to a great stats man.
Dossa never cringed when pestered for cricket statistics. His neat entries in countless registers are only a part of his contribution to cricket. Legend has it that once Vijay Merchant asked Dossa in the AIR commentary box if he could tell him how many runs Pankaj Roy scored with and without spectacles. The figures were provided in a flash. Once upon a time there were no computers. But there was Anandji Dossa.