Lala Amarnath was the first Indian to score a century when in his first Test match, against England, with the score at 21 for 2, he chose to counter-attack rather than stonewall. He reached his 100 in just 117 minutes, but never made a Test century again. A strong-willed and plain-spoken man, he was sent back from England during India’s 1936 tour before the Tests started accused of “indiscipline”. In this book his son Rajender tells what really happened.
The war curtailed his best years; his fourth Test, in England in 1946, coming 13 years after his first. That tour was memorable for his becoming India’s top wicket-taker, with five wickets in the first innings of the Lord’s Test.
He was drawn into the establishment when he captained India to Australia in 1948, where his aggressive, imaginative captaincy drew praise from Don Bradman. But he never became truly part of it although he also made a name for himself as a selector and commentator. Two of his three sons, Mohinder and Surinder, played Test cricket for India while the author Rajender played at first class level in India and in League cricket in England.