Legendary first-class spinner Rajinder Goel died on Sunday owing to age-related illnesses. He was 77.
The left-arm spinner holds the record for the most wickets in Ranji Trophy history with 637 scalps to his name. He took an overall 750 first-class wickets, representing Haryana and North Zone across 157 games. He also played for Delhi and Punjab, and received the CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017 from the BCCI for his service to Indian cricket.
However, Goel was unlucky not to have represented India as he played in the era of another legendary left-arm spinner, Bishan Singh Bedi. Even when Bedi was axed from the Indian team for the Bangalore Test against the West Indies in 1974-75, Goel got a look in only to be excluded at the last moment.
"It is a huge loss for the game of cricket and a personal loss for me which has left a huge void. He was one of the best, if not the best left-arm spinner that this country has seen and his record of 750 first-class wickets speaks for his tremendous ability," former BCCI President Ranbir Singh Mahendra said.
"He represented Haryana, Delhi and Punjab in the Ranji Trophy. His contribution to the game post his retirement was massive and he would eagerly watch even an inter-district game in search for talent and remained the pivot for selection of Haryana cricket teams till he regretfully laid down his office on account of the Lodha recommendations.
"He was a thorough gentleman who remained active till the very end. In his passing, the cricket world has lost one of its finest jewels. I will miss him deeply," he added.
"Sh. Rajinder Goel ji was a legend and one of the strongest foundations of the Haryana Cricket Association. His contribution to the development of cricket and identification of talent in Haryana is immense. On behalf of the Association, I mourn his passing and extend our condolences to Sh. Nitin Goel and his family," Haryana Cricket Association President Kultar Singh Malik said.
Rajinder played till the age of 44 in a career that started in 1958 and ended in 1984.
He is survived by his wife and son Nitin Goel, who has also played first-class cricket and is a domestic match-referee.
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