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By Bharath Ramaraj
As we leave 2013 behind, there are many great moments to look back and cherish. However, there were some fine cricketers and officials who sadly passed away. The columnist intends to look back at the cricketing figures who breathed their last in 2013, leaving behind a truckload of memories:
Neil Adcock: The South African fast bowler terrorised batsmen in the 1950s with pace and extra bounce.. He made his First-Class debut for Transvaal against Natal in 1952. In his first Test series against New Zealand, he gave an inkling as to what was to come by scalping 24 wickets against the hapless Kiwis. He also had his fair share of success against England in their own den in 1955 and at home in 1956-57. In Australia in 1957-58, he yet again performed well. He also formed a fine opening pair with Peter Heine.
He was named the Wisden Cricketer of the Year in the year in 1961. Wisden wrote about Adcock, “Unlike many fast bowlers NAT Adcock does not employ a pronounced movement of the body at the point of delivery. He bowls without interruption in the course of his run, swinging his arm on a trunk that is virtually upright — like a sudden gust turning a light windmill”
This year, he died after a battle with cancer and pneumonia. There was some controversy over his death with the current manager of the South African team, Mohammad Moosajee stating that the South African cricket team would wear black-arm bands in memory of cricketers who played in the post-apartheid era.
Christopher Martin-Jenkins: On January 1, 2013, the famous BBC commentator Martin Jenkins died after suffering from cancer.
Jenkins joined BBC in 1970 and did some outsanding work with the Test Match Special commentary. He played for Sussex Second XI and his son Robin Martin-Jenkins did yeoman services for his county’s main team as an all-rounder.
Rusi Surti: The quintessential all-rounder of Indian team in the 1960s, Surti left us this year at the age of 76. Surti, many times known as ”poor man’s Garry Sobers” could bowl medium pace, spin and was a fine left-handed batsman who had an array of strokes in his repertoire. In 1967-68, when India were getting pummeled by the Australians, he stood tall amongst the ruins by accruing 367 runs at an average of 45.87. Surti also was an agile and brilliant fieldsman, an anomaly in Indian cricket those days.
John Westcott: The Portugal born right-handed batsman played five Tests for South Africa. He died at the age of 86 this year and leaves behind a distinguished First-Class career.
Peter Van Der Merwe: He played 15 Tests for South Africa in his career and passed away at the age of 76 in 2013.
Sammy Gullien: He is one of 14 players to have played for two countries as he represented both New Zealand and the West Indies as a wicket-keeper. He died this year at the age of of 89.
Haseeb Ahsan: The Peshawar born off-spinner died at the age of 74 and left behind a trail of memories. He played 12 Tests for Pakistan.
Mazharul Haque: The former Bangladesh batsman’s death due to a massive heart-attack at the age of 33 shocked the entire cricketing world.
Kandiah Francis: The international umpire who was popularly known as KT Francis unfortunately passed away in 2013 at the age of 73. He would go down into the annals of history as the umpire who stood in Sri Lanka’s very first Test match at P Sara Oval against England in Colombo in 1982.
Raymond Strauss: The Western Australian swing-merchant was known for using the ‘Fremantle Doctor’ to great effect to swing the ball like a boomerang. He passed away at the age of 86. Strauss left behind a fine legacy of swing bowling that inspired a few more to follow in his footsteps and play for Western Australia as well as go onto don the national colours.
Reg Simpson: The elegant opening batsman from Nottinghamshire and England was famed for standing up to the might of any fearsome pace attack. He was 93 and at the time of his death, he was the oldest surviving English cricketer.
Guy de Alwiss: After a long and scary battle with cancer, the former Sri Lankan wicketkeeper breathed his last in 2013. He was only 52.
Daryn Randell: The tragic death of former South African First-Class cricketer occurred in a club game as he tried to pull a short of a length delivery. However, he was hit on the head and that led to his death. The 32-year-old’s death saddened the cricketing world. Hats off to the distinguished cricketers for they enriched the beautiful game with their invaluable contributions. May they rest in peace!
(Bharath Ramaraj, an MBA in marketing, eats, drinks and sleeps cricket. He has played at school and college-level, and now channelises his passion for the game by writing about it)
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