Salim Aziz Durani was a remarkable cricketer whose career spanned two-and-a-half decades. His achievements, though, with the bat and ball in international cricket did not quite measure up to the immense talent he possessed. He was a big hit with the fans. The old-timers say that had he been more focused, he could have easily been India’s second greatest all-rounder after the versatile and intelligent Vinoo Mankad.

The son of Afghan parents with a Pathani lineage, Durani entertained the fans right from his first Ranji Trophy match against Gujarat and bowled with a lot of cunning.

Dropped for four seasons from 1967 to 1970, Durani was recalled to the Indian team for the 1971 tour of the West Indies, where he was chiefly instrumental in India’s historic first series win there. He did not disappoint when skipper Ajit Wadekar tossed the ball to him; he dismissed left-handers Garry…

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