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Wednesday, November 08, 2000

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Eddie Aibara passes away

HYDERABAD, NOV. 7. One of finest cricketers never to play for the country, Eddie Aibara of Hyderabad, passed away in sleep in the early hours of Tuesday. He was 86.

It was the culmination of a grim battle for survival since April this year. It all started after he had a fall in Vijayawada where he went to conduct a coaching clinic in April this year. He slipped into coma last evening and when the most loyal attendant, Pochamma, tried to wake him up at 3.30 a.m. today, he was already dead, said Noshir Mehta, former Ranji star and Aibara's cousin. For one who had no health problems and conducted coaching camps till six months ago with unmatched dedication, the tale of woes began ever since that Vijayawada incident.

Aibara represented Hyderabad in 45 Ranji matches scoring 2773 runs with seven centuries at an average of 40.78 during a career that spanned between November 1934 and January 1959. He had the rare record of scoring atleast half-century against every foreign team that visited Hyderabad.

It was significant that Aibara was a member of the Hyderabad squad which won the 1937 Ranji Trophy and also the coach of the State team that won the trophy the second time in 1987. ``That Ranji Trophy win was the most memorable moment,'' he used to say with a sense of pride. The reason was understandable as he it 137 to play a decisive role. For one who rubbed shoulders with such illustrious stars like Prof. D. B. Deodhar, Mohd. Nissar, Ghulam Ahmed, Mushtaq Ali, Vijay Merchant, Shute Banerjee. He always felt that with the exception for a few paragraphs in the local English daily Hyderabad Bulletin nothnig much was written about him. ``May be, if I had been in Mumbai I would have played for India,'' he used to say. ``And it was the era of recommendations,'' he pointed out. Incidentally, his love for Hyderabad made him turn down a request from Vijay Merchant to move over to Mumbai.

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