Five-time Ranji Trophy winner Hoshi Amroliwala passes away

Hoshang Amroliwala, the former Mumbai cricketer, passed away on Friday (December 29). He was 86 years old. The authorities at the Parsi Tower of Silence in Mumbai confirmed the news.

A middle-order batsman and legspinner, Amroliwala, whose first-class career spanned from March 1957 to March 1964, played 44 matches, scoring 1782 runs and picking up 14 wickets. He finished with a batting average of 44.55 and a bowling average of 24.35.

His first-class debut was for Mumbai against Uttar Pradesh in the 1956-57 Ranji Trophy quarterfinal, and he made an immediate impression with an unbeaten 64 from No. 10. He was a part of the team that lifted the title that season, beating Services by an innings and 38 runs in the final.

He was also the first bowler to register a five-wicket haul in the Irani Cup (known as Irani Trophy then). In the first Irani encounter between Mumbai and Rest of India in New Delhi in 1959-60, he took 6 for 44 in the first innings and picked up two more wickets in the second. His scalps included ML Jaisimha, who made a century in the first innings, Nari Contractor, Rusi Surti, Rusi Modi, Budhi Kunderan and HT Dani (twice). He also made 76 not out in Mumbai’s second innings as his team lifted the trophy on first-innings lead.

His most memorable batting performance of 139 came in the 1958-59 Ranji final where Mumbai beat Bengal by 420 runs. He played five Ranji finals for Mumbai, ending on the winning side on all occasions. His last match was the 1963-64 final against Rajasthan, which Mumbai won by nine wickets.

He also represented Bihar Governor’s XI against the visiting West Indians in 1958, Mumbai against Marylebone Cricket Club in 1961 and Cricket Club of India President’s XI against International XI in 1962. In that game, he made 90 and an unbeaten 47 against an attack that included Ian Meckiff, Sonny Ramadhin, Richie Benaud and Bob Simpson. That would be his best season. He finished 1961-62 with 455 runs in seven matches at an average of 65.

Before that, he had crossed 400 runs in 1958-59, when he finished with 402 in six matches at an average of 67.

He toured East Africa as a part of the Syed Mushtaq Ali-led Sunder Cricket Club in 1957 and to Sri Lanka with Tata Sports Club in 1972. He represented the century-old Parsi Cyclists Club in the Kanga League A division.

Published on Wisden India