The talents of Raj Singh Dungarpur, a former administrator of the Board of Control for Cricket in India for three years and a key figure in the world of Indian cricket, were detected early on. "He will not be led; he will lead," opined his housemaster in an end-of-term school report. Thus praised, the 12-year-old Dungarpur was promptly punished for playing cricket in the dormitory. Enthusiasm undimmed, the boy went on to captain his school cricket team and the team at Vikram University where he was a student, before playing for Rajasthan for 16 years as a medium fast bowler. Yet, it was more for his actions off the field that "Rajbhai" ("Brother Raj") made his name. As manager of the national side in 1986, he presided over the triumph of the Indian team against the English cricketers in both the Test Match and the one-day series. Later, he served as India's representative on the International Cricket Council and was president of Mumbai's prestigious Cricket Club of India for 13 years.
A member of the selection panel that chose the Indian team to tour to Pakistan in 1989-90, it was Dungarpur who plucked the 14-year-old Sachin Tendulkar, arguably the finest batsman of his generation, from obscurity and placed him on an international stage. He also ensured that the strict rules of the CCI were amended to allow the teenager to use the dressing rooms. That same season, he was responsible for the selection of Mohammed Azharuddin as captain of the national team for the New Zealand tour.
"Profession has its limits; passion has no limits," he said in a 2004 interview. To prove the point, under the aegis of the BCCI in May 2000, he along with the former Test batsman Brijesh Patel and former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskarset set up the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore, a breeding ground for budding cricketers and coaches irrespective of their background. Away from the pitch, Dungarpur was an ardent supporter of the BJP party and campaigned on its behalf. Latterly, he had been engaged in converting his ancestral house into a home for orphans and elderly couples abandoned by their children. He remained a bachelor throughout his life, despite enjoying a long relationship with the singer Lata Mangeshkar, and openly regretted that he had had no children.
Raj Singh Dungarpur was born on December 19, 1936, and died on September 12. The youngest son of the ruler of the Rajput state of Dungarpur, he is survived by two older brothers. * The National