Dilip Narayan Sardesai (8 August 1940, Margao, Goa – 2 July 2007, Mumbai) was an Indian Test cricketer. He was the only Goa-born cricketer to play for India, and was often regarded as India’s best batsman against spin bowling.
Often regarded as Indian cricket’s ‘Renaissance Man’ and the best batsman against spin bowling, Dilip Sardesai was on Wednesday commemorated with a Google Doodle on his 78th birth anniversary. Sardesai is famously remembered for the integral role in the watershed year of Indian cricket, when in 1971 he scored 642 runs, including 3 centuries and a highest of 212, and helped India script their maiden test series win in the West Indies.
Later in the same year, he was also part of the Indian team that went on to win its first Test series in England. Sardesai scored 54 and and 40 in India’s two innings of the Oval Test. Leg-spin legend Bhagwat Chandrasekhar then claimed 6/38 to dismantle the hosts for the famous victory.
Sardesai made his first mark in cricket in the inter-university Rohinton Baria Trophy in 1959–60 where he made 435 runs at an average of 87.
He made his first-class cricket debut for Indian Universities against the touring Pakistan team at Pune.
He made his debut against England in the 1961 Kanpur Test against England in the 1961 Kanpur test and played his international innings against the same opposition in 1972 during the Delhi test. He toured West Indies later in the season, playing in three of the five Tests. He was the batsman at the other end when Nari Contractor was seriously injured by Charlie Griffith in a match against Barbados. Contractor’s injury created a place for Sardesai in the team. He scored 31 and 60 in the Test at Bridgetown, opening the batting, but was dropped after a pair in the following match. Sardesai scored 449 runs in the five Test series against England in 1963–64 with 79 and 87 in the 5th and final Test as the most notable performances, helping India to secure a draw after being made to follow on.
Sardesai’s celebrated career spanned 30 Tests, in which he scored 2001 runs at an average of 39.23, including five centuries and nine fifties.
Incidentally Rajdeep Sardesai, the celebrated TV anchor and a senior journalist is his son.