Dilip Sardesai made his Test debut for India in 1961 and between then and 1971, he forged a career so prolific that Vijay Merchant called him ‘The man responsible for the Renaissance of Indian cricket.’ His historic double hundred marked a turning point in Indian cricket. Until then, despite boasting some great players in their ranks, India were pretty much perpetual underachievers – India played 116 Tests between 1932 and 1970 and won just 15. But that series in 1971 marked India’s first win in West Indies and Sardesai’s 200 in Kingston proved pivotal.
He then went on to score a 54 and an unbeaten 40 at The Oval that same year and India claimed their first ever series win in England. Sardesai was known for his ability to play spin but in the 1971 West Indies series, Sunil Gavaskar noted that he was the one who showed the rest of the team how to handle the Carribean pacers. His performance that year was also a remarkable turnaround in his own career as he had a couple of wretched seasons before that, so much that his inclusion in the Indian team for the West Indies tour was questioned.
Here area few of facts about Indian cricket’s Renaissance Man:
– Made his India debut in 1961 against England
– Was the first-ever Goa-born player to represent India in Test cricket
– Was part of the Indian team that beat West Indies in 1971, the first ever win in the Carribean
– Became first ever double centurion for Indian in that series
– Was also part of the team that beat England that same year, scored a century in that series
– Scored a total of 10230 runs in First Class cricket playing for India and Mumbai