Jasu Patel: 8 lesser-known facts about the Indian bowler who bowled his heart out in Test cricket
Jasu Patel was primarily an off-break bowler who was very effective and was decent with the bat lower down the order © Getty Images
Jasu Patel was primarily an off-break bowler who was very effective and was decent with the bat lower down the order © Getty Images

Born November 26, 1924, Jasubhai Patel, widely known as Jasu Patel, was a former Indian cricketer who held the record for best figures with the ball in Test cricket by an Indian cricketer for a long time. Jasu was primarily an off-break bowler who was very effective and was decent with the bat lower down the order. He is broadly remembered for his heroics in a Test against Australia at Kanpur. Suraj Choudhari throws light at some of the interesting facts about the bowler who scripted history with his canny tweakers.

1.  Tragedy: As a child, Jasu fell from a tree and broke his hand due to which he had a weird bowling action.

2.  Debut for Gujarat: Jasu made his First-Class debut for Gujarat in 1943-44 and claimed three wickets for 32 in his maiden game.

3.  Impressive knock for Gujarat: Jasu had the technique to bat. In a Ranji Trophy final against Holkar, he went ballistic and scored 152 runs, which contained 22 boundaries, while chasing 546. This also turned out to be his best performance in First-Class cricket.

4.  Prolific run earned him a Test call: Jasu was a regular in the domestic circuit and was consistently putting up some strong performances. His figures of 12 for 47 in a match against Pakistan Universities in 1954-55 sculpted his spot in the Test side. He made his Test debut against Pakistan at Karachi in February 1955.

5.  Finest performance: Jasu is widely reckoned for turning the Kanpur Test on its head with his enticing spell. Australia were up in the series by 1-0 and were looking good in the second Test too as they bowled out India for a mere score of 152. Jasu chipped-in with seven wickets in the first innings and helped India make a comeback in the Test. He continued his good form in the second innings too and picked five more wickets to carry India over the line while defending a modest target of 225 runs. He managed to pick 14 wickets in the entire Test which was the then the best record in a Test match.

6.  Anil Kumble: Jasu Patel’s record of 9 for 69 in an innings of a Test match remained un-breached for almost 40 years. This record was broken by another spin legend Anil Kumble when he too 10 wickets for 74 in an innings against Pakistan.  

7.  Padma Shri: Jasu was the first cricketer to be honoured with Padma Shri Award, which is the fourth highest Civilian Honour in India.

8.  Postal cover: His magnificent run in the Kanpur Test saw a special cover issued y the Indian Postal Service to honour his contribution.  Later, amendments were made to it.

(Suraj Choudhari is a reporter with Criclife and CricketCountry. He is an avid follower of the game, and plays the sport at club level. He has a radical understanding about the subtle nuances and intricacies of cricket, and tries to express it through paper and pen.)