M.A.K. Pataudi, who passed away on Thursday in Delhi, was a born leader – someone who defied the odds to emerge as one of India’s most successful captains.After 12 captains in a decade and half, there was a crying need for a stable, unbiased, charismatic captain in the 1960s. It is at this stage that Pataudi made his entry on the national scene. With the seniors unwilling to take on the responsibility, a 21-year-old Tiger, just three Tests old, suddenly found himself installed as the team’s skipper in March 1962.Though few knew it then, a new era in Indian cricket had begun – the Pataudi era.Even with his visual impairment, he showed the foresight of a champion.After becoming the youngest captain in the world, he made some bold moves that went on to define his leadership. In a first in world cricket at that time, it was Pataudi who had the guts to employ the spin quartet.Against conventional thinking, as had become customary with him, Pataudi regularly used three spinners against the opposition, realising India’s only chance lay in playing to their strengths.The Nawab of Indian cricket led India in 40 off the 46 Tests he played between 1961 & 71, leading India to nine famous victories to make him India’s most successful leader for a long time to come.Fittingly, it was under his captaincy that India clinched their first Test series win on foreign soil, when they defeated New Zealand 3-1 in 1967-68.Sixties was the decade when Indian cricket started becoming a force to reckon with. Be it the formation of the famous spin-quartet or the ushering in of a vast improvement in the fielding or the forging of a winning spirit in a disarrayed team, Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi was at the head of them all.advertisementHe was called Tiger not for nothing. It wasn’t just a name, it was an attitude.