Datuk Dr Amarjit Singh is regarded as the most successful Malaysian cricketer. While studying medicine in India, he honed his skills in the sport and upon returning to Malaysia, he found himself captaining the Penang team.
Born on Nov 15, 1949, Dr Amarjit’s first represented Malaysia in 1979. He donned national colours for 11 years, including eight as captain.
He won the Malaysian Cricketer of the Year award in 1983 and 1984. He also contributed to the development of cricket by serving as Malaysian Cricket Association (MCA) vice-president from 2001 until 2005, deputy president (2009-2010) and worked as the national cricket team physician from 1979-2010.
MCA paid tribute to Dr Amarjit on its website on March 15. Here is an excerpt from the article.
FROM being shot at by communist guerillas to bowling to feared batsmen, Datuk Dr Amarjit Singh Gill has seen his fair share of blood and glory.
Widely acclaimed as the national team’s most successful captain and the longest-serving until he was surpassed by Suresh Navaratnam, Dr Amarjit’s astute leadership saw Malaysia dominate the Saudara Cup series in the 1980s with an unprecedented five wins in a row.
Dr Amarjit also led Malaysia to a famous victory over Bangladesh in the 1986 ICC Trophy tournament in England with the captain taking the wicket of top Bangladeshi batsman Athar Ali Khan.
As national team skipper from 1982 to 1989, Malaysia never lost an international match on home soil.
Born in Sentul, Dr Amarjit went to Methodist Boys School Sentul and Victoria Institution before undertaking his medical studies at the University of Bombay in 1967.
Ironically, Dr Amarjit’s first love was hockey and he would have been a dual international had he not set the sport aside to focus on his medical career. That was to cricket’s benefit, though, as he felt batting and bowling was a better fit for his schedule than a hockey stick.
Still, Dr Amarjit excelled at hockey, winning the 1976 Razak Cup with the Malaysian Armed Forces. He also represented Bombay University at Hockey from 1969 to 1971.
“I was only the second foreigner to ever captain the Bombay University hockey team in 1971,” said Dr Amarjit.
“In 1970, I was also selected to the Bombay Varsity cricket squad which was captained by Sunil Gavaskar. It was that season when I took seven wickets for one run and six for four in the second innings, in a Bombay Varsity intercollegiate quarterfinal match.
“When I returned to Malaysia in 1975 to start work, I could only play on weekends which was when I switched to cricket. In Malaysia, I am known for cricket but in Bombay, they know me as a hockey player. ”
Dr Amarjit professed to have no regrets in choosing cricket over hockey.
“You take one day at a time and I thank the almighty that I remained fit and was able to play until I was almost 40 when I called it a day,” he said.
“It was better to go when you’re still wanted rather than be booted out. Perhaps, the only regret is missing out on being a double international.”
SERVING THE NATION
Before fully focusing on cricket, Dr Amarjit served the nation in a different capacity.
His stint with the Armed Forces coincided with a secondment to the services as a medical officer where he was posted to the Malaysian-Thai border on special operations against communist insurgents in 1976.
“On one occasion, while we were winching up a booby-trapped soldier our helicopter was shot. We all survived to tell the tale, thanks to the grace of God,” recalled Dr Amarjit, who was recommended for the “Panglima Gagah Berani” award for his exploits on the frontier.
For his contribution to the country, Dr Amarjit was conferred a Datukship by His Royal Highness, the Sultan of Pahang, in 2001 and the “Pingat Jasa Malaysia” medal by the Malaysian Armed Forces in 2015.
Visit MCA’s website to read the full article.