Rusi Dinshaw, the only Parsi to have ever been selected in a Pakistan Test squad, passed away on Monday, and his death has brought into focus the failure of the PCB to look after its former players.
Dinshaw a stylish left-handed batsman and left arm spinner who was a member of the Pakistan Test squad that first toured India in 1952-53 was reduced to begging at the Karachi Parsi Institute and at some traffic lights in the city before his death.
“It is very sad to hear about the plight of Rusi Dinshaw because while he may not have actually played a Test match but he had the honour of being in Pakistan’s first Test squad and is an important part of Pakistan cricket’s history,” former Test captain Aamir Sohail said.
Relatives of Dinshaw said that in the 60s he had began to show signs of depression and was diagnosed with schizophrenia and the electric shock treatment prevalent in those days broke his spirit. “He used to come to the Karachi Parsi Institute ground every day and ask people for money and just shuffle around asking visitors for five and ten rupees. I have seen his prime and it is a tragedy that no one from Pakistan cricket including, the Board, ever bothered to provide him any medical care or financial support,” the head curator at the KPI, Hussain said.
Dinshaw, who came to Pakistan after partition, has the honour of scoring a double hundred in the Ruby Shield schools tournament in Kolkata and also in 1946 he led Karachi University to victory against Bombay University to win the Maharaja Kumar of Kutch/Bihar Trophy.
“He later represented Sindh and Karachi and was a good batsman. I was pretty close to him and over the years seeing his plight it really hurt me,” Pakistan’s former Test captain, Hanif Muhammad said.
Hanif and Dinshaw toured India together in 1952-53. “I remember when we were introduced to the then Indian President Dr Rajendra Prasad he specially asked about the young Parsi batsman,” Hanif said.
Former Test leg-spinner, Abdul Qadir noted that Dinshaw was not the first Pakistani player who had got such treatment. “It is sad to hear about the circumstances in which Rusi Dinshaw lived but I recall how our former Test bowler Mahmood Hussain also spent his final days when he didn’t even have proper slippers and no one bothered to support him,” Qadir said.