Representational photo MUMBAI: Former Mumbai opener Sudhakar Adhikari passed away on Friday. He was 82.
Adhikari was a prolific run-getter for Bombay (as it was called those days) and West Zone, and many old-timers feel that he was distinctly unlucky to have not been picked for India in the 1960s, despite having the knack of scoring hundreds against touring sides those days. In 65 first-class games that he played between 1959-71, he amassed 3,779 runs, including 11 centuries, at an average of 40.63.
Adhikari’s famous tale -he turned out for Mumbai and scored a hundred in their Ranji Trophy match against Maharashtra 9in the 1960s on the day of his marriage, is part of Mumbai cricket’s folklore. Keeping his promise to Mumbai captain Polly Umrigar that he would arrive in time for the toss, he rushed from his wedding hall at Matunga at 9.03 am and reached the Brabourne Stadium in Churchgate at 10.10am. To put icing on the cake, he then went on to score a century against a strong Maharashtra attack that had the likes of Vasant Ranjane, Sadanand Mohol and Chandu Borde.
In the evening, Adhikari returned to the venue of his wedding reception-all in a day! Of course, he was conscious of the fact that he couldn’t afford to lose his precious place in an extremely strong Mumbai team in those days.
Adhikari was a part of the Mumbai team in four Ranji Trophy finals—against Mysore in 1959-60, and vs Rajasthan in 1961-62, 1963-64 and 1965-66. He had slammed 173 for Mumbai in the 1962-63 Irani Cup game against Rest of India at the Brabourne Stadium.
Those who saw him bat say that Adhikari was in the Virender Sehwag-mould, and believed in taking the cover off the new ball with his attacking strokeplay.
In local cricket, Adhikari played for Shivaji Park Gymkhana and Tatas SC. He opened the batting for Tata SC and West Zone with former India captain Nari Contractor.