Right from the mid 40s to the late 50s there was one player who dazzled everyone with his stick, powerful defence and canny passes.
From Kolkata was a handsome Anglo Indian who had excelled with the Calcutta Customs and easily found a place in the Bengal and later was a permanent fixture in the intermediate line of the Indian team.
Triple Olympic hockey gold winner Leslie Claudius died at a private hospital in Kolkata yesterday after a prolonged battle with cirrhosis of liver, according to hospital sources said. Claudius is survived by his wife and three sons. Claudius was hospitalised four times over the past 11 months as he battled with the liver ailment.
There may have been equally good half backs who stood the country in good stead but not one could match the consistency of Claudius. For us in Mumbai we saw enough and more during the Aga Khan and Bombay Gold Cup hockey tournaments and if there was one player who deserved the man of the match awards or man of the tournament awards, there would be no two opinions to whom this prize should be awarded to. I had the pleasure of being invited by him to the Calcutta Customs Club where he would relate stories from the ’40s to the ’60s. He not only worshiped hockey but was also engrossed in cricket and athletics. Many will miss his jovial company, especially those who belonged to the Customs club. India has lost another great hockey player.
With inputs from IANS
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