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Posted at: Nov 11, 2017, 2:01 AM; last updated: Nov 11, 2017, 2:01 AM (IST)

Ex-India cricketer AG Milkha Singh passes away

Belonged to Chennai’s legendary ‘AG’ cricket family; his grandfather moved from Amritsar
Ex-India cricketer AG Milkha Singh passes away
AG Milkha Singh 1941-2017

Chennai, November 10

Former India cricketer AG Milkha Singh passed away here today at age 75 after suffering a cardiac arrest. Milkha Singh, who played four Tests for India in 1960-61, would have turned 76 on December 31. He is survived by his wife, son and daughter.

Son of the legendary AG Ram Singh, Amritsar Govindsingh Milkha Singh had a short Test career but represented Madras state (later Tamil Nadu) in 88 first class matches.

A flamboyant left-handed batsman and a fine fielder, Milkha Singh made his Ranji Trophy debut at age 17. He played his first Test only a year later, against Australia in January 1960. 

He could not cement his place in the Indian team but scored 4,324 runs for Madras, including eight centuries and a top score of 151.

His older brother, Kripal Singh, played 14 Tests for India, and the two figured together in one Test, against England in November 1961. Another brother, Satwender Singh, played 60 first class matches for Madras/Tamil Nadu, while two nephews — S Kripal Singh and A Kripal Singh — also played for the state.

Top-class lefty

Former India leg-spinner VV Kumar, who played with Milkha Singh for several years, including for State Bank of India, said: “He leaves behind a legacy not only for Tamil Nadu and India but also for State Bank of India, having played from 1964 to 1977.”

“There are no second thoughts about his technique, ability, and flamboyant game. Milkha was one of the best left-handers I have seen in India at that time along with Ajit Wadekar,” Kumar added. “I have bowled to a lot of world-class left-handers, including Garry Sobers, but Milkha was up there.”

“Milkha and I had been to Colombo, Singapore, and Malaysia with the State Bank side,” added Kumar. 

“What stood out about Milkha was he could play any shot against any type of bowling. He stood up to the fury of bowlers from West Indies like (Wes) Hall and (Sonny) Ramadhin,” said Kumar.

“Coming to the zonals, the side was always dependent on him. And Milkha was always Tamil Nadu’s No. 3. If he didn’t come in at No. 3, the opposition would be surprised.” 

Amritsaris in Madras

As Bishan Singh Bedi today noted, the legendary AG cricketing family of Madras is, sadly, diminishing. Milkha Singh’s father, AG Ram Singh, played 56 matches for Madras from 1930-31 to 1946-47. 

Ram Singh’s father, AG Jwala Singh, had moved from Amritsar to Madras in 1904 in search of work. At that time, people there were not used to seeing or interacting with Sikhs. In Madras, Jwala Singh was asked where he came from and what his faith was. The family then adopted the Tamil convention of prefixing the individual’s name with initials denoting family/clan. Since the family came from Amritsar, they adopted AG — Amritsar Govindsingh — as their family initials. — TNS, Agencies

Test Record

Matches 4
Runs 92 
Average 15.33  
Highest 35

First Class

Matches  88
Runs 4324
Average 35.44
Highest 151

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