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Former India Captain Mak Pataudi Passes Away

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One of India's most visionary captains and its youngest-ever skipper Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi lost his battle with a lung infection and passed away at a Delhi hospital today evening. Pataudi, who captained India in 40 of his 46 Tests is survived by his wife, yesteryear acting superstar Sharmila Tagore, son Saif Ali Khan and daughters Saba and Soha Ali Khan.

"His condition has deteriorated since Wednesday and he is unable to maintain his oxygen level in spite of maximum treatment. He continues to remain in the ICU (intensive care unit)," news agency IANS quoted Neeraj Jain, senior consultant and chairman of pulmonolgy (chest medicine) at Sir Gangaram Hospital in central Delhi, as saying earlier today.

The 70-year-old Pataudi was admitted to the hospital in August with acute lung infection. The condition does not allow normal passage of oxygen to both the lungs. The patient breathes out more carbon dioxide during infection.

"This disease....had been static since the last three months. It worsened very acutely over the last four weeks," Jain told IANS adding a possible lung transplant was discussed. "The possibility of lung transplant was discussed very early as soon as his condition worsened. But he was not a suitable candidate for it," he added.

India may have won only nine of the 46 Tests under Pataudi, but it was under his astute leadership that India won their first overseas Test against New Zealand at Dunedin in 1968 enroute to winning their first away series 3-1. Pataudi played three spinners in the team for most of his captaincy stint, as he believed that India should play to its strengths. Pataudi, who became India captain at the age of 21, only a few months after an accident permanently damaged the vision in his right eye, scored 2793 runs including six centuries and a highest score of 203* in 46 Tests at an average of 34.91.

Mansur was nicknamed "Tiger" by teammates for his aggressive approach and agility in fielding.

He was born to Iftikhar Ali Khan Pataudi, eighth Nawab of Pataudi and his wife Sajida Sultan, in Bhopal on January 5, 1941; and was educated at Welham Boys' School in Dehradun, Lockers Park Prep School in Hertfordshire, Winchester College, and Balliol College, Oxford. Pataudi was awarded the Arjuna Award in 1964 and was a recipient of the Padma Shri in 1967. Iftikhar and Mansur are the only father-and-son duo to captain India.

Pataudi served as a ICC match referee between 1993 and 1996; and he was also a consultant to the BCCI from 2007 and part of the first IPL governing council but refused to continue in that role following Lalit Modi's sacking as its chairman in October 2010.

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