​Hemant Kanitkar: 10 things you need to know about the Maharashtra stalwart​

Hemant Kanitkar, the former India and Maharashtra batsman, died on Wednesday at the age of 72. He played two Tests for India in 1974. Nishad Pai Vaidya picks 10 facts about the former India batsman. 

1.  Ton on First-Class debut

Kanitkar made his First-Class debut a few days shy of turning 21 in 1963. He marked the occasion by scoring 151 not out against Saurashtra. Kanitkar was the second man after Khandu Rangnekar to score a ton on Ranji debut for Maharashtra. Only Vijay Zol and Kaushikh Aphale have score more on their first appearance for Maharashtra in the Ranji Trophy.

2.  Wicketkeeping forays

Kanitkar was also a wicketkeeper and used to don the gloves in the hour of need. As a ‘keeper, In First-Class cricket, he has recorded 70 catches and 20 stumpings.

3.  Three-heavy scoring seasons lead to India cap

Kanitkar was past 30 when he was picked for India to face the West Indies in 1974-75. He had toiled in domestic cricket for years and was finally rewarded with the India cap. From 1970 to 1974, he plundered 2596 runs at an average of 61.81, averaged over fifty in each of the four First-Class seasons. He led the national run-charts in the Ranji Trophy in two successive seasons during that fruitful time.

4.  Indian Cricketer of the Year 1973

Kanitkar was awarded the honour for his remarkable consistency. He was in the midst of a very productive phase for Maharashtra.

5.  Maharashtra stalwart

Kanitkar will go down as one of the stalwarts of Maharashtra’s Ranji Trophy history. He played 64 First-Class matches for them and scored 3632 runs at an average of 43.75 with 12 tons and 12 fifties. His best was 250.

6.  West Indian adventure

Kanitkar played two Tests for India in 1974 against the West Indies. He made his debut alongside Sir Viv Richards and Gordon Greenidge at Bangalore. Batting at No. 3 in the first innings, Kanitkar scored 65. He had to open the batting in the second innings, where he scored 18. Kanitkar played only one more Test.

7.  Hrishikesh Kanitkar

Kanitkar’s son Hrishikesh is one of the domestic giants and also represented India in the late 1990s and the early 2000s. Hrishikesh is best remembered for hitting the winning runs against Pakistan in a tense One-Day International run-chase at Dhaka in 1998.

8.  Same number of Tests for father and son

It is quite interesting that Kanitkar and his son Hrishikesh have played two Tests each. It seems to be a unique case where father and son have played the same number of Test matches. However, Kanitkar junior played 34 One-Day Internationals (ODIs).

9.  Golf and tennis connections

Kanitkar’s second son, Aditya played golf. He is married to former tennis player Radhika Tulpule.

10.  Builders’ family

Kanitkar comes from a family of builders. Their company is known as Kanitkar & sons.

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Mumbai-based cricket journalist and one of the youngest to cover the three major cricketing events — ICC World Cup, World T20 and under-19 World Cup. He tweets as @nishad_45)