Born in Bombay, India on February 25, 1938, Farokh Engineer attended Bosco High School before going on to Podar College of Commerce and Economics – University of Bombay. Whilst at university, he played and captained the university’s team and later represented Bombay and West Zone in Ranji Trophy. He also learnt to fly during that time gaining his “PPL” through the air wing. A flamboyant batsman and an agile wicketkeeper, Engineer was the first Indian cricketer to be invited and offered professional contracts by four English counties viz Worcestershire, Hampshire, Somerset and Lancashire, where he played for 12 most successful years. Lancashire offered him four three-yearly contracts until he retired from both County and Test cricket in 1976.
Engineer played in 56 Tests for India from 1962 until 1976, scored over 3,000 runs and was involved with more than 100 dismissals. He made his debut for India against England in 1961 in Kapur at the age of 23. He is holder of the fastest Test century (1967) against West Indies in their prime. Engineer achieved the feat in only 46 balls of the first morning of the Test match against a West Indian bowling attack consisting of Wes Hall, Charlie Griffiths, Sir Garfield Sobers and Roy Gilchrist.
Just as his cricket was “lively and most entertaining” so is his commentary on both radio and television with Sky Ports, ESPN. Sony Max, Star Sports and BBC Test Match Special. Engineer remains very popular on the After-Dinner circuit.
Engineer was honored with the following awards: the “Padma Shree” by the Prime Minster of India in 1973 for contributions to India and International Cricket, The Lifetime Achievement Award by Sony Television, and the Paul Harris Award, the highest honor from Rotary International.
During his career he also held the following positions: Vice President of Lancashire County Cricket Club, President of Mere CC in Cheshire, President of Whalley CC in Lancashire and Vice-President of Mobberley CC in Cheshire. He holds honorary life memberships with The Lords Taverners, and the Cricket Club of India. Engineer has written a biography titled “Farokh Engineer – from the Far Pavilion”, which has been a sell-out in the UK and whose preface has been written by Prime Minister Major.
More than merely an excellent wicketkeeper, Engineer was a superbly aggressive and unorthodox batsman. He was chosen the number one wicketkeeper/batsman every time a World XI was selected. A true character on and off the field, nothing personified macho, debonair and suave like him in his prime. No wonder he was the first Indian cricketer to land a lucrative product endorsement for the hair styling gel Brylcreem, becoming India’s Brylcreem Boy!