Dilip Doshi: 10 facts to know about the Indian left-arm spinner

Dilip Doshi, born on December 22, 1947, was one of the best left-arm spinners in the world in the 1970s and early 80s. However, Bishan Singh Bedi’s presence in the Indian unit meant that Doshi could only play 33 Tests, having made his debut at the age of 32.

Nishad Pai Vaidya picks 10 facts you should know about the left-arm spinner.

 

1. Growing up in Calcutta

 

Doshi was born in Rajkot but grew up in Kolkata, where his father had setup a trading business. Doshi has three siblings, brothers Naren and Parimal and sister Vasundhara. Naren Doshi was his cricketing partner at home, when they honed their skills.

 

2. Education to pursue cricket

 

Doshi was trying to chart his path to the highest level by representing the Calcutta University in the Rohinton Baria Trophy. He first enrolled in the St Xavier’s College and was later in Law College to ensure he continues playing that tournament.

 

3. Coming to Mumbai to practice

 

Doshi had come to Mumbai in his young days to practice. This was during the rainy season, where practice was not possible in Kolkata. He came down so that he could be a part of monsoon cricket and play tournaments such as Kanga League. He was a part of the Cricket Club of India (CCI), but he was a substitute for a major part.

 

4. Playing for Bengal

 

Doshi started playing for Bengal in the domestic season since his early 20s. In his book Spin Punch, Doshi wrote that players from Bengal had to compete hard with those from the bigger centres and there were times when they were not taken seriously. He narrates an incident where he was playing for East Zone against England in the 1970s and Raj Singh Dungarpur, the selector had not turned up. Instead, Raj Singh requested Ken Barrington, the England manager to tell him if he spotted anyone talented.

 

5. Moving to the Counties

 

With the help of the Jamsaheb Shatrushalyasinhji, Doshi was able to train with Sussex and even play a few matches for their second XI. He played for a few seasons in the Second XI league and also played for some of the minor counties. It was only in 1977 that he made his county debut for Nottinghamshire. Interestingly, one of the first wickets he took was that of compatriot Bishan Singh Bedi.

 

6. Garry Sobers’ watchful eye

 

During Doshi’s early days in England, he was once watched by Sir Garry Sobers during a second XI game. In that match, Doshi had taken seven wickets and Sobers had told him, “Son you’re all right.” In fact, Sobers went on to write the foreword to Spin Punch.

 

7. India call-up

 

Doshi was picked for the Indian team during the West Indian visit in 1979. He was in England when he got to know the news. He thus took a few connecting flights to get to Chennai, where he was being called. And, in that long journey, his bags were misplaced. Fortunately for him, he had carried his kit bag with him and had not checked it in.

 

8. Memorable debut

 

On Test debut against Australia in Chennai, Doshi took six or 103 in his very first innings. Later on in Mumbai, he took another five-wicket haul. His best figures came against England in Manchester in 1982 when he took six for 102.

 

9. Unfulfilled career

 

Doshi had to wait until the age of 32 to earn his first Test cap. In his four years at the highest level, he featured in 33 Tests and picked up 114 wickets at an average of 30.71. Sobers wrote about him, “I wondered, like so many others, why Dilip did not play more for his country became he was one of the finest bowlers in the world in his prime. He had all the attributes of control, flight, and spin so there might have been other reasons.”

 

10. Nayan Doshi

 

Doshi’s son Nayan, also a left-arm spinner, played for Saurashtra in the Ranji Trophy. He also played for Derbyshire and Surrey in county cricket. In the Indian Premier League (IPL), he was a part of the Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rajasthan Royals.

 

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_45)