Vijay Merchant - The Master Class

Hormazdiar Khan

Hormazdiar Khan aged 65 lives a retired life in Mumbai with his wife who’s a homemaker. His married daughter Tinaz works at Ernst & Young and has a four year old son.

Hormazdiar is a B.Com graduate from Bombay University , having done his schooling from St. Xaviers Boys Academy, Bombay.

Hormazdiar was last employed as senior stores manager with Reliance Foundation Hospitals. He also has a diploma in Materials Management and is a qualified internal ISO auditor with Prince Aly Khan Hospital Mumbai.

Khan loved playing cricket in his youth and follows cricket matches and happenings these days.

  Presently Hormazdiar is involved in writing articles which he publishes on Old Bombay group on Facebook. Khan is also a lover of old Hindi filmi songs and a diehard fan of Rafi, KIshore, Mukesh and Manna Dey .

His most cherished music directors are SJ, LP. Naushad, Madan Mohan, SD and RD Burman, Kalyanji Anandji and Usha Khanna. His favourite lyricists are Hasrat Jaipuri Shakeel Badayuni, Sahir Ludhianvi, and Majrooh Sultanpuri.

Vijay Merchant – The Original Master of Determination and Concentration – Indian Test Cricket.  

The Indian test cricket team over the years has been blessed with some very determined test cricketers in the side. They were blessed with immense talent combined with concentration.  While at the crease they did not throw  away their wicket; but put a price on it.

The bowlers had to toil hard  to send them back to the pavilion.The cricketers who were reputed for this quality of batsmanship  are Sunil Gavaskar, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and to a certain extent Chetaswar Pujara amongst the current test players.


                                                                Vijay Merchant at play

However,  the original master of them all happened to be Vijay Merchant. ( career spanning from 1929 to 1951, &  test cricket career from 1933 to 1951 with a gap of 10 years in  between ; from  1936 to 1946 due to World War II)

Merchant happened to be a disciplined batsman, having a wide array of strokes in his armour,while batting; especially the late cut and the leg glance.  Merchant was very particular to begin his innings as a batsman, by not taking any chances by playing flashy strokes but  largely playing safely in the  "V."

 For the first few overs Merchant studied the behavior of the pitch and the abilities of the pace bowlers , before  unleashing  a  wide range of stroke play that he was blessed with.


Merchant and Mushtaq Ali - the pening pair 

A specialist while batting on uncovered and  dicey wickets, his batting was a joy to watch. In fact it was a lesson  in the art of correct batsmanship.
No wonder he was often compared with the Don himself; having a staggering average of 71 in First Class matches and a much envied  test match average of over 47. 

Unfortunately, Merchant could play only 10 test matches, as the Second World War disrupted the playing of test matches in his playing days.

A master batsman on English pitches, Merchant amassed a lot of runs, especially on the tour to England, in 1934, scoring 1745 runs at an average of over 51; for which Wisden honoured his achievement by nominating him the Cricketer of the Year.


Merchant in full flow 

The legendary English cricketer C.Fry was so impressed with his batting and commented “let us paint Vijay Merchant white & take him to represent England on the tour to Australia."

A tremendous batsman Merchant represented the Hindus in Pentangular tournament games and Bombay in Ranji Trophyfor several years.  

Bad health and  a shoulder injury ,cut short his career, but whenever he was fit, Merchant dominated the bowlers, with his ability to score runs allround the pitch.

We should not to forget that Merchant played as an opener, without any protective gear and on all types of wickets and faced  bowlers of international class.

One wonders how many records he could have broken as an opening batsman for India, if fate would have not been cruel to him in his playing days.

The Legend passing on wisdom to eager youngesters 

Truly the best example to learn copy book cricket, for any budding cricketer, having the correct combination of technique, concentration & strokeplay ,Vijay Merchant certainly was the best opening batsman India has produced, till date.


Add new comment