Published: Tuesday, August 22, 2000, 18:23 [IST]
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The third new ball also made no difference to Adhikari. India just failed to save the follow-on by 28 runs. In the second innings too India collapsed to 162 for six with two hours of play still remaining. Adhikari was there again and in the company of Sarvate put on a 58-run unfinished partnership to save India from certain defeat.

He was labelled as India's Trevor Bailey, but played his role to perfection with a great degree of success. Adhikari scored 10 Ranji Trophy centuries. He was thrice involved in Partnerships of 300 plus with players like Vijay Merchant and Vijay Hazare.

Adhikari also became famous for his outstanding fielding. At cover point he was simply unmatched. He was at his best when the West Indies came to India in 1948. He impressed Everton Weekes so much that the West Indian ranked him as the number one cover point fielder he had ever played against.

This was a great tribute because Weekes had played against Niel Harvey of Australia, whose brand of cover point fielding had many admirers. Adhikari never picked up the ball one handed as many fielders do these days. Such was his athleticism and lighting speed that hardly any batsmen dared to take runs when the ball was heading anywhere near him.

He was so sure about his target that he could hit the stumps almost at will. If he was playing today, then he could have been on par with Jonty Rhodes.

Adhikari's other hall mark was his mental toughness, especially as a captain. During the Delhi Test against the West Indies, he played two useful innings, led the side from the front and also revealed his own potential as a bowler. His superlative performance was sufficient to retain him as skipper for the tour of England. The selectors, however, had other ideas and since then Adhikari never made it to the Indian team.

Indian cricket and his Services team will never forget his contribution to the game, where he was hailed as the 'doyen'.

Adhikari is one of the most respected cricketers who dedicated all his life to the game he loved most. The BCCI has surely done a great service by announcing his name for this prestigious award, which he fully deserves.

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