Dubai: The cliché may say what’s in a name, but the name of the winner’s trophy for the upcoming India-England Test series has become quite a contentious issue. While the MCC had decided to christen it as ‘Pataudi Trophy’ since 2007, the Indian cricket board has still not found time to put a seal of endorsement on it.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) had, during the last home series last year, invited former Indian skipper Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi as a guest of honour to hand over the winner’s trophy named after his father Iftikar — the only cricketer to have played for both India and England, in 1930s and 40s.
However, the family of Tiger is quite upset with the Indian board’s reluctance to regularise the name of the series like the Border-Gavaskar Trophy (India vs Australia).
A recent news report reveals Sharmila Tagore, wife of the deceased Tiger, has shot off a strong mail to N. Srinivasan, president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), following up on her request to formalise the naming of the trophy for her father-in-law and deceased husband for their contribution towards cricketing ties between these two countries. Tiger Pataudi, one of the most iconic figures in Indian cricket’s history, passed away in September last year.
Incidentally, the fixtures for the Test series (starting from November 15) on a website like Cricinfo.com has already branded the series as ‘Pataudi Trophy’, but Tiger’s family is yet to receive any official intimation from the board to that effect. Informed sources in the BCCI, however, feel that, while they are ready to go with the existing name of the trophy, they are biding their time should any title sponsors be roped in for the high-profile series.
With the growing practice of such series trophies being branded after their sponsors, the likes of a Frank Worrell Trophy (Australia vs West Indies) or Gavaskar-Border Trophy may not be able to hold on to their own for long. A perfect case in point was the presentation ceremony of the India-England series last year, when two winner’s trophies had to be presented to England, who recorded a 4-0 sweep — first from sponsors npower and then the Pataudi Trophy, which played very much second fiddle.
What has further hurt Pataudi’s family is the board’s dragging of feet about instituting a Pataudi Memorial Lecture, something which the board president had promised last year. Tiger’s wife also drew the BCCI President’s attention to it in her recent email sent from London.
While such memorial lectures are very much of a part of the cricketing establishment’s culture, the Indian board has been far from proactive on such issues. Late last year, Imran Khan had delivered a Pataudi memorial lecture in Kolkata thanks to a private initiative.
The other initiative of its kind, the Dilip Sardesai Memorial Lecture, named after the stalwart Indian middle order batsman of the 1970s, had been courtesy of the efforts of his son — Rajdeep Sardesai — a renowned journalist in India.
Surely Tiger Pataudi deserved better than this.