FAROKH ENGINEER

Farokh Engineer was born on 25 February 1938 at Bombay (now Mumbai), Maharashtra, India. He played for Mumbai, Lancashire and India as a wicketkeeper and right-handed batsman.

Farokh’s first-class career spanned from 1958/59 to 1976 and his List A career lasted from 1968 to 1976. In 335 first-class matches he scored 13,436 runs at 29.52 with a top score of 192, 13 hundreds and 69 fifties. He took 704 catches and made 120 stumpings. In his 46 Tests for India (1961 to 1975) he scored 2,611 runs at 31.08 with a top score of 121, 2 hundreds and 16 fifties. He took 66 catches and made 16 stumpings. He made his top Test score of 121, plus 66 in his second innings, against England at Mumbai in February 1973. Against a West Indies bowling unit, at Madras in 1967, which included Hall, Griffith, Sobers and Gibbs he smashed 94 runs before lunch on the first day before being out to Sobers for 109.

Farokh was an attacking batsman, often opening, and athletic wicketkeeper. He kept, with distinction, to a stellar cast of Indian spinners - Bedi, Prasanna, Chandrasekhar and Venkat. To his credit, he was chosen as first-choice wicketkeeper for the Rest of the World XI series in England and Australia in the early 1970's in which he played 6 games. He played for India in the first World Cup in 1975.

Many of us will recall Farokh’s remarkable career with Lancashire for whom he played for 9 seasons from 1968 to 1976. It was the first time that an Indian cricketer had been awarded a professional contract by an English county. It was a strong Lancashire team, captained by Jack Bond, which included the likes of Clive Lloyd, Peter Lever, Barry Wood, David Hughes and Jack Simmons. The team was ideally suited to one day cricket. It won the Gillette Cup 4 times (1970, 1971, 1972 and 1975) and the Sunday League twice (1969 and 1970) whilst Farokh was there. He played in the momentous semi-final against Gloucestershire, at Old Trafford in 1971, when the game finished in near darkness.

Farokh was a seasoned campaigner, for both Mumbai and India, before he joined Lancashire aged 30. He brought both experience and flamboyance to his county and was effective in all 4 competitions. He became an honorary Lancastrian due to his exploits for the county.

After retiring from playing Farokh later became a referee and commentator.

In November 2017, a biography of Farokh was published entitled 'Farokh: The Cricketing Cavalier' written by Colin Evans, a former cricket writer for the Manchester Evening News.

It will be a real pleasure to welcome a world class cricketer from Farokh’s era who entertained so many people with both wicketkeeping gloves and bat. A larger than life character; it is sure that we will have an enjoyable evening.

Ken Burney

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