Rajinder Goel, one of the legends of Indian domestic cricket, passed away at the age of 77 in his home in Haryana. Goel holds the record for most wickets in Ranji Trophy with 637 scalps, 107 more than S Venkataraghavan who is second on the list.
A brilliant left-arm spinner with guile, flight, and presence of mind, it was only unfortunate that his career collided with that of another similarly styled spinner in Bishan Singh Bedi during the 1960s and 70s. With India relying on Bedi, Prasanna and Chandrasekhar, Goel only managed to play just one ‘unofficial’ Test against Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in 1964-65 and picked four wickets.
The closest he came to playing for India was against the West Indies in 1974-75 when Bedi was dropped from the team and he was selected, however, he couldn’t make it into the final XI.
Goel picked a total of 750 wickets in 157 FC matches in a career that started in 1957-58 to 1984-85.
In 2017, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) honored Rajinder Goel with the CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award. Rajinder Goel went on to serve as the chairman of BCCI's national junior selection committee and the chairman of the Haryana selection committee.
"He is the one bowler whom I have really dreaded facing in my life. I have never been able to feel comfortable against his left-hand spinners and Goel has been one who, because of his flatter trajectory, has not given me the opportunity to step down the track and drive,” Sunil Gavaskar wrote about Goel in his book ‘Idols’.
The Indian cricket fraternity mourned the loss of such a legend of the game and took to Twitter to pay their tributes.
Here are some tweets: