In what turns out to be a sad day for Indian cricket, Dattajirao Krishnarao Gaekwad, the former oldest Indian Test cricketer and captain, passed away in the early hours of February 13 (Tuesday). At 95 years old, he held the distinction of being the oldest living Indian cricketer before his demise. He breathed his last at his residence in Baroda.
Dattajirao Gaekwad, popularly known as DK, was a significant figure in Indian cricket, representing Baroda and leading his team to a Ranji title in the 1957-58 season during his inaugural stint as captain. After Deepak Shodhan’s passing in 2016, Gaekwad became the oldest living Indian cricketer until his recent demise, and now C.D. Gopinath holds that distinction.
The cricket community is mourning the loss of Dattaji Gaekwad, and many social media users are expressing their grief. Former Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan shared his condolences on Twitter, emphasizing Dattajirao’s significant contributions in scouting young talent for Baroda cricket.
Under the shade of the banyan tree at the Motibag cricket ground, from his blue Maruti car, Indian captain D.K. Gaekwad sir tirelessly scouted young talent for Baroda cricket, shaping the future of our team. His absence will be deeply felt. A great loss for cricketing community.… pic.twitter.com/OYyE2ppk88
— Irfan Pathan (@IrfanPathan) February 13, 2024
Dattajirao’s Cricketing Career
DK Gaekwad made his debut for the Indian cricket team during the 1952 tour to England and participated in 10 additional Tests, with his last appearance against Pakistan in Chennai in 1961. After a brief inclusion in the side during the 1952-53 season, Gaekwad returned as the captain of the national team six years later in 1959 during their tour to England. Despite his personal success with over 1100 runs on the tour, England dominated the series, winning 5-0.
While his international career had its challenges, Gaekwad excelled in domestic cricket. As the captain, he led Baroda to their first Ranji Trophy title in almost a decade during the 1957-58 season. In the final, Gaekwad played a crucial role by scoring a hundred (132) in an innings-victory against Services. In his overall First-Class career, he amassed 5788 runs in 110 games, including 17 centuries, with a career-best score of 249*.
Celebrating his 95th birthday on October 27, 2023, DK Gaekwad made significant contributions to Baroda Cricket Association post-retirement, mentoring numerous aspiring cricketers, some of whom went on to represent India. His son, Anshuman Gaekwad, also played for India, featuring in 55 matches across formats. Anshuman received the C.K. Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award in June 2018, the highest honour bestowed by BCCI upon a former player.