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'Pataudi never complained about the car accident'

Robin Waters, the man behind the wheel when Pataudi met with an accident, says the stalwart never cursed his fate

A car accident at the age of 20 that resulted in loss of vision in his right eye had a detrimental effect on Nawab of Pataudi's career. But the departed former India captain never complained about the mishap.


Tough man: Former India captain Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi. Pic/MiD DAY
ArchivesOxford University wicketkeeper Robin Waters, who was in the
car with Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi on that fateful July 1, 1961 evening,
said Tiger took the accident bravely.
 

"While I was driving, a huge car tried to cut the corner and hit our vehicle. It wasn't our fault. It was the other driver who was responsible for the accident," Waters recalled.


Robin Waters

"Pataudi was bleeding and for a while I made him rest near a Queen Victoria statue. I remember the words 'Empress of India' written on the statue. He took the tragedy bravely," Waters said from his Dublin home, where he has been living for almost 40 years now.

"Pataudi returned to India after the accident and I went back to Ireland. There was no communication between us. Once, when Pataudi came with the Indian team to Ireland, he invited me for a team dinner.

We chatted for long.  He urged me to forget about the mishap. He would say it was in his destiny to lose the eye," added Waters, who also played for Ireland, Sussex and Bengal (in Ranji Trophy).

Waters reckoned the accident made Pataudi stronger. "He was a humble man.

He became a stronger captain after the accident," said Waters before adding, "I live very close to a Catholic church and I shall offer a mass for Pataudi."

Waters said Tiger was sensational as skipper for Oxford University team in 1961. "He demolished all attacks.
"He would have been in the same league as Sir Don Bradman if the leg-before rules were slightly relaxed during his time," he concluded.

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