India’s left-arm spinner Rajinder Goel passed away at 77 on Sunday in Kolkata after a long-term illness.
Rajinder Goel never played for India but was regarded as a fine left-arm spinner who played during the era of Bishan Singh Bedi.
Goel played 157 first-class matches, most of them for Haryana, and finished with 750 wickets.
He holds the record for most wickets taken in Ranji Trophy as he scalped 637, 107 more than S Venkataraghavan who is second on the list. Goel made his debut in the 1957-58 season and went on to play domestic cricket until the age of 44.
I feel blessed to have received his love and guidance over the years. He will be deeply missed. My condolences to Sh. Nitin Goel and the family and friends of Goel sir. (3/3)
— Anirudh Chaudhry (@AnirudhChaudhry) June 21, 2020
In 2017, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) honoured Rajinder Goel with the CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award.
Rajinder Goel was born on September 20, 1942. He was regarded as the best bowler of the All India Schools tournament after he helped North Zone clinch the title at the age of 16.
Goel’s came closest to playing for India came when West Indies, under Clive Lloyd toured India in 1974-75. Bishan Singh Bedi was dropped before the first Test in Bengaluru and Goel was included in the Indian squad.
Rajinder Goel was easily the most ‘contented’ human being I’ve known…I used to envy his sense of ‘contentment’ in my moments of turmoil..RIP ‘Goely’..You bowled yur heart out to keep Ranji Trophy alive..!! pic.twitter.com/U1ZZCQE7KW
— Bishan Bedi (@BishanBedi) June 21, 2020
However, the trio of Erapalli Prasanna, S Venkatraghavan and Chandrasekhar played for India ahead of Goel, writes Anindya Dutta in his book ‘Wizards – The Story of Indian Spin Bowling’.
He is one of the four non-Test players to have got the BCCI’s Lifetime Achievement Award; the others being Padmakar Shivalkar, Bhausaheb Nimbalkar and journalist KN Prabhu.