Born on 11 September, 1911 at Lahore in Pakistan and died on 5 August 2000 at New Delhi.
Lala Amarnath Nanik Bhardwaj, in short, 'Lala' was India's first centurion in test cricket, having scored a brilliant hundred on test debut against England at the Bombay Gymkhana in 1934. Incidentally, his son, Surinder also scored a hundred on test debut against New Zealand in 1975-76 and what is more interesting is that the century was the hundredth hundred by Indians in tests. An aggressive top order batsman and a medium pacer who would bowl from a short run-up and off the wrong foot, Lala would send in accurate, banana in-swingers and demonic leg-cutters.
Lala Amarnath's figures do not do full credit to his talent. In 24 tests, he scored 878 runs at an average of 24.38 with the one hundred he scored on his debut as his highest. He also claimed 45 wickets at 32.91 apiece with best bowling figures of 5-96. Outspoken and forthright, though he was faring well with the bat on the 1936 tour of England, he was sent home on disciplinary grounds by India skipper Vizzy. He was later exonerated of the charges, and toured England after the War again in 1946. He led India against Australia on the 1947-48 tour and then against the West Indies in 1948-49. After losing the captaincy and his form against England in 1951-52, he was restored as captain against Pakistan in 1952-53 and won the series for India. That was his farewell series.
Lala served on the national selection committee in the 'fifties and was its chairman twice. He also commentated on the game for AIR and Doordarshan in the role of an expert and was an excellent coach to his sons. Besides Surinder, his other son Mohinder was also a star performer for India. His third son Rajinder, however, could not make it big though he played well at the Ranji level.