Deepak Shodhan is currently the second-oldest living Indian cricketer (Photo Courtesy: Deepak Shodhan)
Deepak Shodhan (above) is currently the second-oldest living Indian cricketer after Pananmal Punjabi (Photo Courtesy: Deepak Shodhan)


With Madhav Mantri’s sad demise Pananmal Punjabi becomes India’s oldest surviving Test cricketer. Abhishek Mukherjee looks at an oft-forgotten Test opener whose career was restricted to a single Test series.


With the demise of Madhav Mantri on May 23, 2014, Pananmal Hotchand Punjabi, 19 days younger than Mantri, became India’s oldest surviving cricketer. A sound, old-school opening batsman (and occasional wicket-keeper), Punjabi played 32 First-Class matches for Sind and Gujarat, and finished with an average of 38.29 with six hundreds.


He made it to the Pakistan tour of 1954-55 based on three hundreds in four innings. He opened batting with Pankaj Roy in all the Tests, but though he reached double-figures seven times, he could never go past 33. He never played another Test.


Punjabi is also the only living nonagenarian among Indian Test cricketers. The list of surviving Indian cricketers above 80 reads:



Date of Birth

Age on May 23, 2014

Pananmal Punjabi

September 20, 1921

92 years 244 days

Deepak Shodhan

October 18, 1928

85 years 216 days

Datta Gaekwad

October 27, 1928

85 years 207 days

CD Gopinath

March 1, 1930

84 years 82 days

Chandrakant Patankar

November 24, 1930

83 years 179 days

Madhav Apte

October 5, 1932

81 years  229 days

Bapu Nadkarni

April 4, 1933

81 years 48 days

Sadashiv Patil

October 10, 1933

80 years 224 days

Nari Contractor

March 7, 1934

80 years 76 days


 (Abhishek Mukherjee is the Deputy Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs at and can be followed on Twitter at