The Indian cricket fraternity mourned the demise of legendary first-class spinner Rajinder Goel, calling him a “master of his craft” whose “bradmanesque” record made him a stalwart at the domestic level.
India head coach Ravi Shastri also saluted his craft in his message. “RIP Rajinder Goel ji. Master of his craft. Killer line & length in our terrain. Humility personified. Condolences to the entire family,” he wrote on his Twitter page. Goel, a left-arm spinner, had 750 firstclass wickets from 157 games, representing Haryana and North Zone. He played 26 seasons of first-class cricket, from 1958-59 to 1984-85.
Former India captain and current BCCI president Sourav Ganguly condoled his death, describing him a “giant” of domestic cricket, whose long career is a testimony of his craft. “The Indian cricket community has lost a giant of domestic cricket today. His staggering record tells you about his craft and the control he had over it,” said Ganguly.
“To have a career that lasts more than 25 years and still be able to perform consistently speaks about his dedication and commitment towards the game. To pick 750 wickets, you need years and years of hard work and I salute his efforts. I extend my heartfelt condolences to his family,” he added.
Goel was unlucky to have played in the era of the legendary Bishan Singh Bedi as he could never play for India. He was picked for a Test match in Bengaluru during the 1974-75 series against the West Indies when Bedi was axed, but Goel was the 12th man. Despite not playing for the country, Goel was never bitter about it and accepted his fate with grace. Offering his tribute, Bedi said he envied Goel’s sense of “contentment”. “Rajinder Goel was easily the most contented human being I have known. I used to envy his sense of contentment in my moments of turmoil. RIP Goely ..You bowled yur heart out to keep the Ranji Trophy alive!!,” he tweeted.
Former India batsman VVS Laxman wrote: “Deeply saddened by the passing away of Rajinder Goel, the highest wicket-taker in the history of the Ranji Trophy. My heartfelt condolences to his family and loved ones.”