Notes on C. K. Naidu

Dr M.E. Pavri, commenting on the failure of the Indian cricket team against Jardine’s redoubtable MCC in 1933–4, criticised Nayudu for being aloof on the field and in the dressing room, for not interacting with his players properly, and for not paying much attention to strategies – relying on his instincts instead of his players’ capabilities while making decisions. Pavri wrote:

Major C. K. Nayudu was, undoubtedly, the best all-round cricketer and the best available captain, but not an ideal one, as he was not able to control the men under his command and there was no co-operation between him and the players. There was a lack of team work, and the ‘team spirit’ was absent altogether. The manner in which Ramji fielded carelessly and standing at point, with hands behind his back, clearly showed that there must have been some sort of disagreement between him and his captain. … [I]t seemed that Major Nayudu was obsessed with self-importance, which leads to narrow-mindedness and is fatal to success.

The Andhra Students’ Association in Lucknow extended a similar reception to Nayudu on 11 January 1943. They were more outspoken regarding the glory Nayudu’s feats had conferred upon Andhra:

We welcome you not only as one of the greatest Cricketers of the World, but also as a great Andhra. You are one of the makes of Modern India in the field of Cricket. India is proud of you. But we Andhras are prouder still, for you have added to the glory of Andhra, the land that has produced great men in every walk of life.

During the Pentangular final against the Muslims in 1935, C.S. Nayudu incurred a bout of mumps during the second day’s play and retired to his hotel bed. As the fever grew worse, he was in no condition to take the field. Set 300 to win, the Hindus had started their second innings well. C.K. hit a brisk 53 but a post-tea collapse on the fourth afternoon left the Hindus staring at defeat. Nayudu desperately summoned C.S. to stem the rot. This is what followed next:

Nearly everyone was opposed vehemently to the idea, but the majestic Nayudu was unbending in his attitude. … Groping for his cricket clothes from under the rug, C.S., nevertheless, was up on his tottering legs in an instant and dressed up in a hurry stumbling and swaying … [C.S.] now fell in an unconscious heap on the pavilion steps … the indomitable spirit of the Nayudus brought forth respect and admiration from all.


Major C.K. Nayudu, once again, as on the first day of the match, was the idol of the huge crowd. Whether ‘C.K.’ played a ball, sent down a delivery or did some fielding, everything was cheered. Going out after tea on Sunday, he was literally mobbed by youthful admirers, each wanting to tap their hero on the back. Evidently they forgot that the Major’s broad shoulders carried a covering of human flesh and there was a limit to slaps of appreciation. When stumps were drawn, Nayudu had to run to the Club House to avoid being shouldered. The crowd was not to be outdone fully and they refused to disperse unless Nayudu came out. The Major had to appear three times on the Club House top dock before the thousands, who called for ‘Nayudu’, decided to tread their way back.

In a brilliant marketing move, Nayudu’s fame was used to promote Hindi films too. An incident of his life was used to draw attention of the readers to the story of a V. Shantaram film produced by Prabhat Chitra:

NAYUDU Was Surprised

The Press reported that Major C.K. Nayudu was surprised when he discovered at the last minute that he was dropped out of the Test team. The reports stated that NAYUDU had sealed his lips on the incident. How much more surprised – and shocked – should NIRMALA be when she, too, discovered at the last minute that she was marrying the wrong man! She sealed or concealed nothing; but declared open war against those responsible for the mean trick. It was an uneven battle – an innocent lone girl pitted against Tradition, Society and Wealth. She fought with the fiery strength of the woman’s heart, and the result was ‘The Unexpected’ Hindi – Duniya Na Mane – Hindi.




About Dilawar

Graduate Student at National Center for Biological Sciences, Bangalore.
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