Hemu Adhikari: Cricketer with iron liver, who took over the front in World War-2, was the pride of Indian Army

Luxury expensive cars, lavish life and fast-paced trips around the world, country and abroad… This is how the life of Indian cricketers looks like. Wrapped in goggles, expensive watches and millions of clothes on his eyes, he looks no less than a prince. Many can even drink water to Bollywood stars in looks. Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya… the list is long. But do you know that in the history of Indian cricket, there was also a player with an iron liver, who not only beat the opponents on the field, but was also the pride of the Indian Army.

India is celebrating 75th Republic Day of Independence. On this special occasion we wish you ‘Salaam India’ under series Colonel Hemu Adhikari (Hemchandra Ramachandra Adhikari). Lt Col Lt Col… This name is immortal in Indian history. He also fought on behalf of the Indian Army in World War-2. This cricketer who took the bat on the field was also a big gunman. He had defeated the opponents in the war. He continued to serve the Indian Army along with sports for a long time. No doubt he had no match in the game, but for him patriotism came first.

World War-2 took over
This is the reason that his first-class cricket debut was also delayed. World War-2 broke out before he made his international debut. He was bound by his responsibilities in the Indian Army. This is the reason that after this war which lasted till 1945, at the age of 28, he played the first Test. He made his Test debut in Brisbane on the tour of Australia in November-December 1947. He was one of those players in the team who used to face the fast bowlers firmly. This was the time when helmets, gloves and all the safety technology were not so fit as they are today.

I had the honor of playing for India when the officials were the managers. The officer was a strict disciplinarian, perhaps because of his military background.

Chetan Chauhan, Team India Selector

The command of the team took over on the orders of the senior
An expert in leg spin, the officer was disciplined dear patriot. Cricket writer Manoj Chaturvedi has written about him in an article. Referring to the incident of Hemu becoming captain, he said that Lt Col Hemu Adhikari was completely forgotten in the national team after 1956, but in 1959 he played three of the first four Tests in the home series against the West Indies team. India lost badly. In these Tests, the Indian team was captained by Polly Umigar, Ghulam Ahmed and Vinoo Mankad. After the Indian performance was criticized even in the Lok Sabha, it was decided to make Hemu Adhikari the captain for the fifth Test. He was on army duty in Dharamsala at that time. He refused to become the captain and said that for us the country comes before personal honour. Later, only on the orders of his officer, he agreed to captaincy. However, he captained India in the same match.

Officers were very strict officers
Chetan Chauhan, former Indian team opener and current team selectors committee chief, says, “I had the honor of playing for India when the official was the manager. The officer was a strict disciplinarian, perhaps because of his military background. It might not have gone down well with some of the guys in the team, but as far as I was concerned, he was a good man. He was always very helpful. Even after retiring from cricket, he contributed a lot to the game.


Credit for the 1971 victory and giving cricket the Little Master
Adhikari was the team manager for India’s historic tour of England in 1971 and is said to have won the series for the first time under his stellar guidance. This victory was like rolling a snake on the chest of the British. Cricket at that time was dominated by teams like England, Australia and West Indies. It was considered impossible to defeat them in their house. Not only this, he is also credited with giving cricket such players as Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev and Ravi Shastri.

Such was the cricket career
Talking about his cricket career, Adhikari scored 872 runs in 21 Test matches in his Test career, including a brilliant century against West Indies in the 1948–49 New Delhi Test. Apart from this, he was also the manager of the Indian team that won the Test series in England for the first time in 1971 under the captaincy of Ajit Wadekar. Adhikari scored 8628 runs in first-class matches at an average of 42 with the help of 18 centuries. His highest score was an unbeaten 230 which he scored against Rajasthan.

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