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Rusi Dinshaw: Only Parsi named in Pakistan’s Test squad passes away

Rusi Dinshaw. Photo Courtesy: www.bvsvirbaijeeites.com
Rusi Dinshaw. Photo Courtesy: www.bvsvirbaijeeites.com

Karachi: Mar 25, 2014

Rusi Dinshaw, the only Parsi to have ever been selected in a Pakistan Test squad, has passed away quietly and his death in tragic circumstances has brought into sharp focus the failure of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to look after its former players.

Dinshaw, an 86 year-old man in need of proper care and support, was suffering from schizophrenia. He breathed his last in Karachi on Monday.

Dinshaw a stylish left-handed batsman and left-arm spinner who was a member of the Pakistan Test squad that first toured India in 1952-53 was reduced to begging at the Karachi Parsi Institute and at some traffic signals in the city before his death.

“It is very sad to hear about the plight of Rusi Dinshaw because while he may not have actually played a Test match but he had the honour of being in Pakistan’s first Test squad and is an important part of Pakistan cricket’s history,” former Test captain Aamer Sohail said.

Relatives of Dinshaw said that in the 60s, he had began to show signs of depression and was diagnosed with schizophrenia and the electric shock treatment prevalent in those days broke his spirit.

“He used to come to the Karachi Parsi Institute ground every day and ask people for money and just shuffle around asking visitors for five and 10 rupees. I have seen his prime and it is a tragedy that no one from Pakistan cricket including, the PCB, ever bothered to provide him any medical care or financial support,” the head curator at the KPI for last many decades, Hussain said.

Dinshaw, who came to Pakistan after partition, has the honor of scoring a double hundred in the Ruby Shield schools tournament in Kolkata and also in 1946 he led Karachi University to victory against Bombay University to win the Maharaja Kumar of Kutch/Bihar Trophy.

“He later represented Sindh and Karachi and was a good batsman. I was pretty close to him and over the years seeing his plight it really hurt me,” Pakistan’s former Test captain, Hanif Mohammad said.

Hanif and Dinshaw toured India together in 1952-53.

“I remember when we were introduced to the then Indian President Dr Rajendra Prasad, he specially asked about the young Parsi batsman,” Hanif said.

Sohail said that people like Dinshaw were heroes for Pakistan cricket and it was unfortunate the PCB or the government never bothered to pay due respect to such figures.

Former Test leg-spinner, Abdul Qadir noted that Dinshaw was not the first Pakistani player who had got such treatment.

“It is sad to hear about the circumstances in which Rusi Dinshaw lived but I recall how our former Test bowler Mahmood Hussain also spent his final days when he didn’t even have proper slippers and no one bothered to support him,” Qadir said.

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