Getty Images (Representational Image)
Getty Images (Representational Image)

Mumbai: Former Mumbai and Karnataka Ranji Trophy cricketer, Sharad Rao, died here last night following a cardiac arrest, according to informed sources. The 60-year-old former right arm medium pacer was part of the then Bombay Ranji Trophy squad, led by late Eknath Solkar, which defeated Bishan Singh Bedi’s Delhi team in the 1980-81 final to lift the trophy. Rao, whose first class career spanned from 1980-81 season to 1985-86, played ten games and grabbed 16 wickets, with 4 for 27 as his best figures.

Rao also played for Karnataka in the national championship and represented the Karnataka Sporting Association in local cricket tournaments. He also played for Tata Sports Club in inter-offices tournaments. Rao also bowled to a 14-year old Sachin Tendulkar in a Kanga League match. Hemant Kenkre, Tendulkar s first captain for Cricket Club of India (CCI) in the 1988 Kanga League A Division recalled once. Against Karnataka Sports Association, we were batting second and the pitch was deteriorating. Young Sachin walks in at No. 4 and I was the non-striker. The first ball he faced off Sharad Rao, a former Karnataka Ranji medium-pacer, he hit it straight over middle-stump for a six. That six spoke a lot about Sachin s attitude; it showed his fearlessness. It was not a slog, but a beautiful shot copybook,” he said.