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RIP Rajinder Goel: Sourav Ganguly, Ravi Shastri, others mourn the demise of domestic cricket stalwart

Domestic cricket stalwart Rajinder Goel passed away on Sunday at the age of 77 due to age-related health issues. He breathed his last at his residence.

In a career spanning 27 years, Goel — a left-arm spinner par excellence — picked up 750 first-class wickets with an average of 18.58. He played first-class cricket till the age of 44 and represented Patiala, Delhi, Southern Punjab and Haryana.

BCCI President Sourav Ganguly led the way as the Indian cricket fraternity paid homage to veteran spinner Rajinder Goel.

“The Indian cricketing community has lost a giant of domestic cricket today. His staggering record tells you about his craft and the control he had over it,” Ganguly said in a BCCI statement. “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 be able to pick 750 wickets needs years and years of hard work and I salute his efforts. I extend my heartfelt condolences to his family,” he added.

India head coach Ravi Shastri tweeted: RIP Rajinder Goel ji. Master of his craft. Killer line & length in our terrain. Humility personified. Condolences to the entire family.”

“Rest in peace Rajinder Goel Sir. My thoughts and prayers with the family. God bless your soul,” Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan tweeted.

“Deeply saddened by the passing away of Rajinder Goel, the highest wicket-taker in the history of Ranji Trophy. My heartfelt condolences to his family and loved ones,” former Indian batsman VVS Laxman said on the micro-blogging website.

“Have always been staggered by the records of Shivalkar & Rajinder Goel. Here’s Goel’s FC record for you – 157 matches, 750 wickets! 59 five wicket hauls & 18 times 10 wkts in a match. Avg -18.58. That’s bradmanesque in bowling – 5 wkts every 2.6 matches. RIP Goel Sir,” tweeted cricketer-turned-commentator Sanjay Manjrekar.

Spinner Ravichandran Ashwin on Monday condoled the demise of domestic cricket stalwart Rajinder Goel and said the player has left a legacy that will last forever.

“The highest wicket-taker in Ranji Trophy cricket Rajinder Goel passes away, all I heard growing up was “what a fine left-arm spinner Rajinder Goel was” I have not seen you bowl sir, but you have left a legacy that will last forever. RIP Rajinder Goel,” Ashwin tweeted.

The left-arm spinner 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 had made his debut in the 1957-58 season and went on to play domestic cricket until the age of 44. Despite the illustrious record in the domestic cricket, Goel never played for India in any format of the game. In 2017, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) honoured Rajinder Goel with the CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award.

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