Cricket records say former batsman PH Punjabi is living, but Sunday mid-day discovers he died on October 4, 2011
Going by cricket records, Pananmal Hotchand Punjabi is the oldest living Indian Test cricketer after the death of Madhav Mantri, who passed away on Friday at the age of 92.
PH Punjabi and Deepak Shodhan
However, it is learnt that Punjabi expired on October 4, 2011. This means former batsman, Deepak Shodhan (85 years, 219 days) is now the oldest living Indian Test player followed by erstwhile captain Dattajirao Gaekwad (85 years, 210 days) and CD Gopinath (84 years, 84 days).
Punjabi played five Tests for India during the 1954-55 series in Pakistan. Former cricketers Madhav Apte and Nari Contractor revealed that, contrary to cricket records, Punjabi passed away. "He played for Gujarat along with me and was staying in Cuffe Parade (in Mumbai) while Apte remembered reading about Punjabi's death in the newspapers.
While BCCI's statistician Dinar Gupte said he was not aware of Punjabi's death, a BCCI official confirmed on Saturday that they had been informed about his death by a relative. The BCCI's pension and one-time benefit scheme has been a boon to former players.
As recorded in the Municipal Death Certificate No: 066373, Punjabi breathed his last on October 4, 2011 in Ward No 12 of Bombay Hospital. Shodhan played three Tests for India and registered a hundred on Test debut vs Pakistan in 1952. "To me, my hundred on my Test debut is more significant than being the oldest Indian cricketer," Shodhan said from Ahmedabad.
"This is because my century came nearly 20 years after Lala Amarnath's debut ton and that too, as a No 8 batsman. I feel proud to have a Test average of 60.33. "Overall I am keeping good health, though I have a pacemaker and suffer from age-related illness."
Ahmedabad-based former India batsman Deepak Shodhan's age