The cricketing world bids farewell to Dattajirao Krishnarao Gaekwad, India’s longest-living Test cricketer. He passed away on Tuesday at the age of 95. Gaekwad, a stalwart of Indian cricket, passed away at his house in Gujarat’s Vadodara. He left behind a legacy that spans decades and a family deeply embedded in cricket history.

He was born into a family with distant ties to the royal lineage of Baroda. Gaekwad’s cricket journey started under the tutelage of Test cricketer C S Nayudu. The Baroda team won the Ranji Trophy in 1957-58 thanks to C S Nayudu’s exceptional leadership. Under Gaekwad’s captaincy, Baroda defeated the Services Team and clinched the title. The victory showcased Gaekwad’s innate ability to inspire and lead.

Gaekwad’s career was notable for his achievements on and off the pitch. He was a respected figure in the Baroda cricket community. Unsurprisingly, Gaekwad served as the joint secretary of the local Cricket Association alongside Jaywant Lele. He was instrumental in nurturing future talents, including his son, Anshuman Gaekwad, who became the India team’s coach.

Throughout his 11 Test matches for India between 1952 and 1961, Gaekwad demonstrated exceptional skill and sportsmanship. His debut in Ranji Trophy cricket in 1948 for Bombay University laid the foundation for a brilliant career. He played alongside and against some of the greatest names in Indian cricket, like Vijay Hazare, Polly Umrigar, and G Ramachand. Gaekwad’s legacy is not just in the runs he scored or the matches he won but in the respect he earned as a player and a mentor.

In recognition of his contributions to cricket and his life, the postal department issued a commemorative cover on his 92nd birthday in October 2020. It became a testament to his enduring influence on the sport and its followers.

Gaekwad’s life story is one of dedication, perseverance, and a deep love for cricket. His passing is a great loss to the cricketing community, not only in India but around the world. As tributes pour in, D. K. Gaekwad’s legacy will live on through the players he inspired and the many lives he touched.

He is survived by his son, Anshuman Gaekwad, and a family that continues his heritage. The cricketing world extends its deepest sympathies to the Gaekwad family. Let’s keep the memories of a man who was not just a cricketer but a pioneer, mentor, and gentleman of the game.

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