The first Indian to score a century in both the innings of a test match and inarguably, one of the greatest batsmen to have ever played for India, Vijay Hazare was born on this very day in the year 1950.
A late starter, Hazare got to play his first test when he was 31 because of constant tension in world politics and ongoing world war. He played his first test at Lord’s, the Mecca of Cricket in the year 1946. He did not have a good start to his career, scoring only 33 and 34 in his two innings in a match which India lost tamely to the hosts.
But he showed his class in the international arena with twin centuries in his fourth test against Australia at Adelaide in the 1947-48 season, scoring 116 in the first innings and 145 in the second innings. However, his efforts were not good enough to save his team the test match as India succumbed to loss by an innings. He scored another ton in the next test against England in December 1951 (Yes, you read it right. More than three years later!), thus achieving the rare feat of getting three consecutive tons.
Seven years from his debut when he played one last time for his country, he had 2192 runs in the 52 innings of 30 test matches at an average of 47.65. He scored seven centuries and five fifties in his decorated career, which could sadly last only for such short duration.
Of the 30 test matches he featured for India, India managed to win only three of them. Despite facing such difficult bowling line-ups of other countries which had far better players at that time, maintaining an average above 47 was a Herculean task.
Hazare’s 309 not out in a total of 387 for the Rest of India against Hindus is still remembered for its elegance and very much defined his international career too – lone warrior in an otherwise weaker troop. His first class average of 58 gave further weight to his reputation of one of the greatest players to have ever put on the white shades for India. He will always be remembered for his heroic performances and will remain the idol of Cricket forever.