Former India and Mumbai batter Sudhir Naik dies after brief illness

Former India and Mumbai batter Sudhir Naik dies after brief illness

Former India batter Sudhir Naik, who played three Test matches in 1974-75, died in a Mumbai hospital on Wednesday after a brief illness, Mumbai Cricket Association sources have confirmed. He was 78 and is survived by his daughter.

“Recently, he fell on the bathroom floor and sustained a head injury after which he was admitted to a Mumbai hospital. He slipped into coma and never recovered,” an MCA source, who was keeping tabs on Naik’s health, told PTI.

Naik was a very respected figure in Mumbai cricket circles. He was a Ranji Trophy-winning captain when he led Mumbai to glory in the 1970-71 season. Mumbai won the Ranji Trophy that season without stars like Sunil Gavaskar, Ajit Wadekar, Dilip Sardesai and Ashok Mankad.

But when the next Ranji season started, Naik was dropped from the playing XI as the main batters were back in the squad.

In 1974, Naik went on the tour of England and made his debut in the Birmingham Test, where he got his only half-century – 77 – in the second innings in a losing cause. He played 85 first-class games and scored 4376 runs at an average of 35.29, hitting and seven centuries including a double.

His reputation was, however, tarnished when he was accused of shoplifting at a London departmental store.

Following his playing career, which ended in 1978, Naik turned to coaching, and was a big influence in Zaheer Khan’s career. He was also a chairman of Mumbai’s selection committee and in later years worked as the chief curator at Wankhede Stadium.

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