Afghanistan-born Indian cricketer Salim Durani. (File photo | BCCI)
Afghanistan-born Indian cricketer Salim Durani. (File photo | BCCI)

Durani's demise is a great loss for cricket and a personal loss for me: Bedi

Tall and handsome Durani was a delight to watch and could demolish any bowling attack on his day. To match that he was a good bowler too. A rarity those days.

I was shocked and sad to hear about the demise of my dear friend and great cricketer Salim Durani. The legend has definitely gone.

Durani's demise is a great loss for the game and a personal loss for me. He used to love me a lot, I was like a darling to him.

I have known him for decades both as a player and as a person and he was one of the most humble human beings one can ever see.

Tall and handsome Durani was a delight to watch and could demolish any bowling attack on his day. To match that he was a good bowler too. A rarity those days.

When we were young and had not got to see much of him, we used to hear from all cricketers about Durani's six-hitting prowess.

Later we played a lot together and became close. Durani was one of the nicest people around. A totally unselfish cricketer and always a team man. He always had that team-first attitude. He was a delight to play with.

Durani was equally good as a bowler and his exploits against England are part of folklore. He could fox the best of batsmen with his bowling. He was also an intelligent bowler. He was a complete package, he could bat, bowl and field exceptionally well and was a true legend in every sense. His demise is a big loss for Indian cricket.

Many have often asked me to compare Durani with other all-rounders who have played for India. I think it is difficult to compare cricketers from different eras. During his time he could do anything that his captain wanted him to do. As I said earlier, he was truly a 'team' man, one who could change the course of the game single-handedly.

Durani was very popular with the crowd for his six-hitting ability. Such was his craze among his fans that they had protested when he was not named in the squad. They showed banners reading "No Durani, No Test match in Bombay". That showed the love and affection that the public had for him. As I said earlier, he was a delight to watch and was an all-rounder par excellence in his time.

With the advent of T20 and IPL, many people often ask me whether Durani would have adapted to modern times. Well, Durani would have certainly adapted as he was a gifted cricketer. With his ability to bat, bowl and field, every team would have loved to have him in their ranks. He would have certainly succeeded and helped his team secure a couple of trophies.

It is indeed a very great loss for all of us, may his soul rest in peace.

(As told to Ashok Venugopal)
 

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