Eknath Solkar

Country: India
Born: March 18, 1948, Bombay (now Mumbai), Maharashtra
Batting Style: Left hand Bat
Bowling Style: Left arm Medium, Slow Left arm Orthodox
Playing role: Allrounder
Died: June 26, 2005, Mumbai, Maharashtra, (aged 57y 100d)

Eknath Solkar Bio

Eknath Dhondu Solkar was an exceptional cricket player from India who left an indelible mark on the sport. Born on March 18, 1948, Solkar displayed remarkable talent and dedication throughout his career. Sadly, he passed away on June 26, 2005, at the relatively young age of 57 due to complications from diabetes.

Solkar was renowned for his outstanding fielding skills, and he still holds the record for the most catches in Test cricket, with 53 catches in just 27 matches. His fielding prowess was truly exceptional, especially considering he primarily fielded at forward short leg rather than the more traditional slips position. His close-in catching style was intimidating and played a crucial role in the success of the Indian bowling attack during his time. His presence often put pressure on batsmen and allowed the team’s bowlers to thrive. Bishan Bedi, a fellow Indian spinner, attested to the impact Solkar’s fielding had on the team’s performance, stating that they wouldn’t have been the same bowlers without him.

Despite his humble beginnings, Solkar rose to become one of India’s most respected cricketers. Growing up in a one-room hut on the grounds shared with his parents and siblings, he quickly impressed the Bombay players with his bowling skills. He transformed himself into a versatile all-rounder, combining solid batting with enthusiastic left-arm seam bowling. Solkar captained the Indian Schools team despite his modest background and went on to make his mark on the domestic circuit, making his Ranji Trophy debut for Bombay in the 1966-67 season with an impressive six-wicket haul.

Solkar’s talent and hard work caught the attention of selectors, leading to his inclusion in the Indian national team. Often referred to as “the poor man’s Sobers,” a comparison with the great West Indian all-rounder Garry Sobers, Solkar showcased his cricketing prowess during India’s historic victory over the West Indies in 1970-71. In that series, he equalled the world record for most catches in a Test match with six catches, playing a pivotal role in India’s triumph.

Another significant moment came in 1971 when Solkar played an instrumental role in India’s first Test and series victory in England. His contributions with both bat and ball were crucial in India’s famous triumph at The Oval. Solkar’s fielding remained exceptional throughout this series, with one catch, which dismissed Alan Knott during England’s second innings collapse, standing out as particularly outstanding.

Solkar’s success and reputation as a fielder did not overshadow his other cricketing abilities. He could bat anywhere in the order and was proficient in both medium-paced bowling and spin. While his bowling skills deteriorated over time, his fielding prowess remained unparalleled. In 1975-76, Solkar was selected for tours to the West Indies and New Zealand solely based on his fielding abilities. However, his batting performance began to decline, and he was no longer as dependable with the bat.

Solkar’s exceptional catching skills were often the subject of headlines. His ability to convert half-chances into catches made him a living nightmare for batsmen. His best catch came in a Test match against Clive Lloyd, where he ran and tumbled to dismiss the powerful West Indian batsman after diving to snag a dipping catch.

While Solkar’s career ended relatively early, with him playing his last Test match at the age of 28, he left an undeniable mark on Indian cricket. In his 27 Test matches, he amassed 1,068 runs with an average of 25.42. Given more support and guidance, it is likely that his career could have flourished for longer. Unfortunately, during his time, teams did not prioritize the mental well-being and specialized support for players as they do now.

Eknath Dhondu Solkar’s legacy lives on as one of India’s greatest fielders and a dedicated cricketer who overcame humble beginnings to achieve great success. His contribution to the game serves as an inspiration to aspiring cricketers in India and worldwide.

Eknath Solkar Career Stats

Eknath Solkar Batting Stats

Batting Matches Innings Nos Runs High Score Ave BF SR 100s 50s 4s 6s Ct St
Tests 27 48 6 1068 102 25.42 - - 1 6 - 3 53 0
T20Is - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
ODIs 7 6 0 27 13 4.5 79 34.17 0 0 2 0 2 0
FC 189 270 36 6851 145* 29.27 - - 8 36 - - 190 0
List A 21 15 1 125 65 8.92 - - 0 1 - - 5 0
T20s - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Eknath Solkar Bowling Stats

Bowling Matches Innings Balls Runs Wkts BBI BBM Ave Econ SR 4w 5w 10w
Tests 27 44 2265 1070 18 3/28 3/38 59.44 2.83 125.8 0 0 0
T20Is - - - - - - - - - - - - -
ODIs 7 6 252 169 4 2/31 2/31 42.25 4.02 63 0 0 0
FC 189 - 21725 8282 276 6/38 - 30 2.28 78.7 - 10 1
List A 21 - 809 554 19 3/31 3/31 29.15 4.1 42.5 0 0 0
T20s - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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