Abbas Ali Baig, a Gifted Cricketer Sacrificed at The Altar of Indo-Pak Rivalry

M G Singh By M G Singh, 7th Sep 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/2v8vgba0/
Posted in Wikinut>News>Sport

Abbas Ali Baig was a gifted player, but he was an Indian Muslim and his failure against Pakistan led to his demise in Indian test cricket

Indo-Pak Cricket


Indo Pak cricket has a flavor of its own. It’s more intense and challenging than an Australia- MCC test series for the Ashes, for here the dread of defeat is omnipresent. Come what may no team wants to lose to the other in an India Pakistan test series. These series flare passion and patriotism and losing a test match is akin to a defeat in battle. In a way it is an extension of the age old Hindu-Muslim conflict.

In the earlier years this rivalry was much more, though now there is a slight thaw and the game is seen in a greater and sober perspective. But 5 decades back a promising Indian cricket player Abbas Ali Baig was sacrificed at the altar of this rivalry.

Abbas Ali Baig, a Promising Cricketer.



Abbas Ali Baig was a more than competent player. He had made his debut in England after a string of scores in the English county cricket circuit while playing for Oxford. Those were testing times and the Indian team touring England in 1959 was a beleaguered lot. It had lost 3 of the first test matches by wide margins and there was hopelessness about the entire team. Polly Umrigar the main batting stay was an abject failure and the other Stalwart, Vijay Manjreker was injured.

Playing Pakistan



Those were trying times and playing against Pakistan was fraught with risk especially if you were an Indian Muslim. Abbas Ali Baig was included against Pakistan. The fact that he had scored two fifties and a century on debut was in his favor. He had also been kissed by a young girl in a spotted frock after he saved the Bombay test against the Aussies. But playing Pakistan was a different kettle of fish. In 4 innings against Pakistan Baig had scores of 1, 13, 19 and 1.

The Sacrifice



Such scores against Pakistan were taboo, more so for an Indian Muslim. There were allegations that Baig had helped Pakistan as he was an Indian Muslim. The fantastic allegation was made that Baig had failed deliberately to help his co-coreligionists from Pakistan.
This was a blatant lie, but he received poison mail accusing him of everything under the sun. In such a supercharged atmosphere the selectors could not persist with Baig and he was dropped. Here was a more than competent cricketer sacrificed at the altar of Indo- Pakistan rivalry. Baig played only 2 more test matches 6 years later but the sun had set on Baig.

Tags

Aa Baig, Cricket, India Pak Rivalry, Indian Cricket, Indo-Pak Cricket

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author avatar M G Singh
A man who spent his early years in Air Force. An avid writer with over 6000 articles and 60 short stories published.Two novels on the anvil for publication.

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Comments

author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
7th Sep 2013 (#)

Baig was not a great success after his first test century and had only moderate success in domestic cricket. However, Pataudi and Azharuddin played and captained with distinction for India and also are Muslims. Azharuddin played many tests against Pakistan too. I do not think Baig was dropped only for his failure against Pakistan - siva

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author avatar M G Singh
7th Sep 2013 (#)

Frankly Siva the situation in 1960 was different from the nineties. At that time hate mail came to Baig and the selectors had to drop him. it is documented by many writers. Thank you for your comments.

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author avatar madugundurukmini
7th Sep 2013 (#)

great player

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author avatar M G Singh
7th Sep 2013 (#)

Thank you Madu. I read somewhere that you are from Sikkim. Are you Nepali or local Sikkamese?

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
7th Sep 2013 (#)

most interesting...thank you...

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author avatar M G Singh
7th Sep 2013 (#)

Thanks carolina

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author avatar vpaulose
7th Sep 2013 (#)

Interesting, Madanji.

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author avatar M G Singh
7th Sep 2013 (#)

Thanks VP, great of you to have commented

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
8th Sep 2013 (#)

Thank you for that interesting note!

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author avatar Trillionaire
11th Sep 2013 (#)

Thanks.

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author avatar R.S.MATHUR
30th May 2014 (#)

I was only 11 when you scored 112 in England in1959 on your debut.since then I was a great fan of yours.Mr.Baig where are you and what are you doing at present? Please let me know.
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