Nari Contractor was a talented Indian cricketer whose promising international career was tragically cut short by a deadly short ball.
Born in 1934 in Godhra, Gujarat, Contractor was a technically sound left-handed opening batsman who played 31 Tests for India between 1955 and 1962.
Nari Contractor’s First-Class Debut:
Nari Contractor’s first-class career began in 1952/53 in an unexpected manner. He was called up on the morning of a match to replace Gujrat’s injured captain.
Nari Contractor – former Indian cricket captain, who was the second person to score double centuries on his first-class debut
This unplanned opportunity allowed the 18-year-old Contractor to showcase his skills. He smashed centuries in both innings of his debut match, becoming only the second batsman after Arthur Morris to accomplish this feat.
His Batting Exploits for India:
Contractor’s first major knock for India came in 1958/59 against the West Indies in Delhi where he scored 92 runs. The following year at Lord’s, despite getting two ribs broken by Brian Statham, he bravely scored 81 runs out of India’s total of 168.
In the 1959/60 Australia series, Contractor accumulated 438 runs, including his solitary Test century in Bombay. His gritty 74 in Kanpur helped India secure their maiden Test victory over Australia.
Nari Contractor as the Captain of India:
Aged 26, Nari was appointed captain against Pakistan in 1960/61, becoming India’s youngest ever captain. He led India to a historic series win over England in 1961/62. He captained India on their 1961/62 tour of West Indies as well.
The Fatal Blow Ending Nari Contractor’s Career:
In Barbados, Charlie Griffith unleashed a barrage of short balls to trouble the Indian batsmen. On the fourth ball of Griffith’s second over, Contractor got distracted and failed to spot the ball until it was inches from him. He had no time to react as the ball crashed into the back of his skull.
Contractor immediately collapsed and was rushed to the hospital in critical condition. He required multiple life-saving surgeries and a blood transfusion, with West Indies captain Frank Worrell donating blood first.
Although Contractor survived, the terrible blow effectively ended his international career prematurely at the age of 28. He tried to make comebacks but was never selected for India again.
Post-Retirement Life of Nari Contractor:
Contractor still played domestic first-class cricket, scoring 8611 runs with 22 centuries at an average of 39.86. In 2007, he received the C.K. Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award recognizing his contribution to Indian cricket.
Now 88 years old, Nari Contractor lives in Mumbai. His illustrious but tragically short career is remembered as an important chapter in Indian cricket history.
Nari Contractor Stats
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