Jaisimha was a right-handed batsman who was noted for his style on and off the field. He bowled medium pace, often opening the bowling for India, and off-breaks, and was a brilliant fielder. But it was the way he went about things that caught the eye. Partab Ramchand wrote after Jaisimha’s death that “his slim figure, which he maintained till his last day, the boyish good looks, the inimitable gait, the trademark silk shirt and scarf, the sleeves buttoned at the wrist or the collar turned up – all these attracted immediate attention. Cricket called him a “cultivated stylist”.
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They remember his walk; its languid cool. Blend that with the fresh creased flannel, the upturned collar, the easy charm. Even film-stars indulged him. The Hyderabad batsman, a biography says, once returned a bottle of champagne sent by diva Suchitra Sen with the words that it meant nothing unless she delivered it herself. She did eventually. ML Jaisimha truly walked through life like it was a breeze.
But Jaisimha was much more than a Page 3 star cricketer before Page 3 had been born. Business professor Aaron Levenstein once aptly said that “statistics are like a bikini. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” In Jaisimha’s case – 2056 runs in 39 Tests with three centuries at an average of 30.68 and nine wickets – they hardly capture the impact and influence that the cricketer had both on and off the field.
His later life
Jaisimha was a selector between 1977–78 and 1980–81, and managed the Indian tour to Sri Lanka in 1985–86. MCC made him a life member in 1978. He was also a TV commentator for some time. His son Vivek Jaisimha was a first-class cricketer.
His death was due to lung cancer.