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Polly Umrigar Profile
Full Name: Pahlan Ratanji Umrigar
Born: March 28, 1926, Sholapur, Maharashtra
Major teams: India, Gujarat, Mumbai, Parsees
Batting style: Right-hand bat
Bowling style: Right-arm offbreak
- First Indian to hit a Test double century
- One of only two Indian players to score a century and take five wickets in an innings
- Former India captain
Pahlan Ratanji Umrigar, popularly known as Polly Umrigar was an Indian Cricket player who played First class Cricket and Test Cricket. Primarily he was a middle-order batsman, although at times he also served the team as a medium pace and off spin bowler. Polly also led the Indian Cricket team between the year 1955 and 1958 in 8 Test matches, and at the time of his retirement had many national records to his credit. He was the first Indian player to score a double century in a Test match played against New Zealand.
Polly Umrigar was born on the 28th of March 1926 at Sholapur, Maharashtra in a Parsi family hailing from the Gujrati community that had a strong hold upon the scenario of Cricket in Bombay (now Mumbai) at that time. When he was 18 years old, Polly entered First class Cricket by playing for Parsis in the Bombay Pentangular in the year 1944. He was also the Captain of the Bombay University Cricket team.
Test Cricket Debut
Polly Umrigar made his Test Cricket debut with the second match of a Test Series between India and West Indies played at Bombay on the 9th of December 1948. Polly scored 30 runs in this match, and took no wicket giving away 51 runs.
He scored 252 runs not out against Cambridge University in the year 1959, and this record remained unbroken for a period of 30 years. The same year, his impressive bowling in a match against Australia played in Kanpur helped India in grabbing the victory. He took 4 wickets giving away just 27 runs in this match.
He also served the Indian Cricket team as a Captain in 8 Test matches between the year 1955 and 1958. The team won 2 out of them and lost 2 of them, while 4 were drawn. After some problems with the selectors, he gave the Captaincy up in the year 1959 at Madras.
Apart from Veeno Mankad, he has been the only Indian Cricket player who has scored a century and taken 5 wickets in the same innings. He did so in a Test match played against West Indies at Port of Spain in the year 1962. Also, he has to his credit the honor of being the first Indian Cricket player to have scored a double century in a Test match.
In his overall Test Cricket career, Polly Umrigar played in 59 Test matches, and scored 3631 runs in them including 12 centuries and 14 half-centuries, with a Batting Average of 42.22 runs and highest score of 223 runs. In these matches, he took 35 wickets giving away 1473 runs with a Bowling Average of 42.08 runs.
In his First class Cricket career, he played 243 matches and scored 16155 runs with an average of 52.28 runs and highest score of 252 not out. He grabbed 325 wickets and gave away 8348 runs in these matches, with an average of 25.68 runs.
The last moments
After retiring as a Cricket player, Polly Umrigar served as the Chairman of the selection committee of the Indian Cricket team, Tour Manager and Executive Secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). He died of lymph cancer on the 7th of November 2006, at the age of 80 years.