Dilip Sardesai was a right-hand middle-order batsman and occasional right-arm slow bowler, who played first-class cricket in Bombay and India. Former Indian Test batsman Dilip Sardesai played 30 Tests between 1961 till 1972, scoring 2001 runs, including five centuries, at an average of just fewer than 40 and nine fifties with the best of 212. Dilip Narayan Sardesai was born on August 8, 1940, at Margao Goa.
He was a very handy lower middle-order batsman both in Test and First-Class Cricket. Although his first-class career average was 41.75 with 25 hundred/56 fifties in 179 matches in which he scored over ten thousand runs testify his class. He also held 85 catches.
In 1959-60, young Sardesai made his first impact, scoring 435 runs at an average of 87 in the inter-university Rohinton Baria Trophy. Dilip Sardesai made his first-class debut against Pakistan in 1959-60, where he grabbed the opportunity to score 87 runs in 194 minutes and also take Hanif Muhammad Catch. His batting technique was impressed Lala Amarnath, which drafted him into the Indian side. In his debut test against England at Kanpur, he made 28 runs before hitting the wicket off Tony Lock bowling.
But he really enjoyed playing against England on made his Test debut against them in 1961-62, even before he’d played for Bombay. And it was against England at Kanpur two years later that he scored 79 and after India followed on 87 to assist India and save the match.
Dilip Sardesai was limpet-like and more often than not defensive, but he could attack as well whenever the situation required. He scored one of India’s fastest hundreds, against New Zealand at Delhi in 1964-65. He will always be remembered in India’s glorious summer of 1971, when they notched up memorable Test series wins in West Indies and England.
Where Dilip Sardesai cumulative 642 runs in the Caribbean, with two hundred and a double, and provided an inspirational launching pad for Sunil Gavaskar in his debut series. Dilip was extremely lucky to be picked for the West Indies tour. Before that, it had looked as if his career was finished and buried. Therefore, he went on to be Indian cricket’s Renaissance man in the watershed year of 1971.
The 1970-71 West Indies tour was his last chance to play for India. He was technically a very correct player, with solid defensive and wristy work was his proficient against spin. But in the West Indies, he showed his courage against pace and pulled India repeatedly out of quicksand. More than six hundreds run justifying his class with two hundred and a brilliant double hundred that was provided at inspirational launching-pad for a legend – Sunil Gavaskar, in his first series.
In England later that year (1971), Sardesai’s crucial 54 and 40 runs allowed Bhagwat Chandrasekhar to move along England’s defeat at The Oval. That was England’s first defeat at the hands of India at home. England later in 1971, Sardesai’s pivotal double of 54 and 40 allowed Chandrasekhar to hasten England’s defeat at The Oval.
Sardesai was limpet-like and usually defensive, but he could attack when he needed to, and scored one of India’s fastest! Hundred against New Zealand at Delhi in 1964-65. In the previous Test, his 200 not out at Bombay salvaged a draw have been skittle for 88 in the innings.
Pakistan and India didn’t play any Test matches against each other due to political reasons from February 14, 1961, to October 15, 1978, a period of 17 years and eight months. Dilip Sardesai’s Test career lasted from December 1961 to December 1972, so he couldn’t have played in any Test matches for India against Pakistan.
There’s interesting information about Dilip Sardesai regarding, when he was 20years old and hadn’t made his Test debut yet, he was called in as a substitute fielder in the fifth and final Test match of the 1960-61 series against Pakistan at the Feroze Shah Kotla Ground in Delhi. He made his mark by catching out Saeed Ahmad 31 in the second innings off the bowling of slow left-arm RG Nadkarni. Pakistan and India didn’t meet each other in another Test match for almost the next 18 years.
Dilip Sardesai died in Mumbai on July 2, 2007, after suffering a multiple organ failure at the age of 66. Sardesai was admitted to the Bombay Hospital with a chest infection. However, he was suffering from kidney problems for a long time; and he had been on dialysis since.
He has survived his wife Nandini Sardesai, a sociologist and a member of the Indian Censor Board, son Rajdeep Sardesai, the Editor-in-Chief of the news channel CNN-IBN, and daughter Shonali, who works on conflict-related issues at the World Bank in Washington DC. His son RJ Sardesi also played seven first-class matches, scoring 222 runs at 27.75! Dilip’s son Rajdeep Dilip Sardesai is a famous television anchor and commentator. His TV persona has hardly anything to do with cricket or sports.
List of Dilip Sardesai Test Centuries:
200* against New Zealand at Mumbai, Mumbai, 12–15 Mar 1965
106 against New Zealand at Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium Delhi 19–22 Mar 1965
212 against West Indies at Sabina Park, Kingston, 18–23 Feb 1971
112 against West Indies at Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain, 6–10 Mar 1971
150 against West Indies at Kensington Oval, Bridgetown, 1–6 Apr 1971