Rusi Nausherwan Dinshaw, the only member of the Parsi community ever to have been picked to tour with the Pakistan cricket team, passed away on Monday, March 24, at the age of 86.

He was part of the first ever Pakistan team to tour India in 1952-53 as a Test playing nation but was unable to make the Test team. He did, however, play against Central Zone at Nagpur and against Indian Universities at Bangalore but without much success.

For the last three decades he had been under psychiatric treatment and for the last twelve years had been confined to a ward in Parsi General Hospital in Karachi.

Fifteen years ago when I stopped him outside the Metropole Hotel in Karachi as he walked round and round the building talking to himself and with a bundle of Dawn newspapers tucked under his arm, he was unable to communicate things for loss of memory. I felt very sad.

An elegant left-handed batsman, Rusi Dinshaw having made his first-class debut for Sindh at the Karachi Gymkhana against the touring West Indies team to Pakistan in 1948, also played in two unofficial Tests for Pakistan against Ceylon in the 1949-50 season. The first was at the Bagh-e-Jinnah, Lahore where he scored only 12 runs in the match in which Imtiaz Ahmed made 127 and Pakistan won the game by an innings and 45 runs.

New Delhi: Rusi Dinshaw is introduced to Indian President Dr Rajinder Parshad during the 1952-53 tour of the Pakistan cricket team
New Delhi: Rusi Dinshaw is introduced to Indian President Dr Rajinder Parshad during the 1952-53 tour of the Pakistan cricket team

His second unofficial Test was at the Karachi Gymkhana where Ceylon was beaten by ten wickets and Dinshaw was run out for 8.

In 1949-50 he also played for a Karachi-Sindh XI at Karachi Gymkhana against the Commonwealth touring team, scoring 34 before getting dismissed leg before to Frank Worrell.

In the same season he also played for Karach-Sindh XI against Ceylon at the same venue, scoring 35 which remains his highest score in first-class cricket.

In 1951-52 he played for Bahawalpur-Karachi team against MCC at the Dring Stadium in Bahawalpur, making 31 against them.

He was reported to have scored a double century in a Rubie Trophy school match in Calcutta in the forties. In 1946 he led Karachi University to victory against Bombay University in a varsity match.

The former captain of Pakistan, Hanif Hohammad, who was also a member of the 1952-53 team to India described Dinshaw as a ‘gentleman cricketer.’

“He was an elegant looking batsman and a very nice company. I am sad to hear that he is no more. Also sad that no one responsible for running this game in Pakistan ever bothered to take care of him in difficult conditions that he lived,”said the Little Master.

“I remember that when we were introduced to the President of India, Dr Rajinder Parshad in the President’s House at Delhi, the president asked me, ‘Which one amongst you is the only Parsi cricketer in your team’. And I immediately pointed towards Rusi,” recalled Hanif.

In his first-class career from 1948-53, Rusi played in 9 matches scoring 171 runs at an average of 14.25 with 35 being his highest.

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