Ram Ramchand September 8, 2003

Former cricketers react to Ramchand's death

GS Ramchand, former captain of India and a stalwart of Mumbai, was a popular man, both with his fellow cricketers and the press. His friends and former team-mates spoke to Wisden CricInfo following his passing

Polly Umrigar
Unfortunately when he passed away, I was at his bedside, around 10pm late last evening. I had gone to visit him in the evening, and around 8pm he just opened his eyes, but I don't think he recognised me. He was in a bad state and was on the oxygen mask, and I felt really bad for him going through this suffering. We played cricket together for so long, and for the last 15 years, we were neighbours, so we were very close to each other and I have lost a dear friend.

An asset to any side, Ramchand was an allrounder and a gutsy and tough cricketer. He was a brilliant close-in fielder and he had no gear to protect him, which just goes to show how brave he was. The 109 against Australia in Bombay in 1956-57 stands out in my eyes as one of his best knocks. As a captain, he was an average skipper, but he always led by example. A jovial character off the field, his tough character on it used to motivate his fellow players.

Chandu Borde
I am shocked to hear this news, as I didn't know it till now. I have lost a family member. What a fine gentleman he was - always well-dressed, cordial and level-headed. Though he had limited resources as a bowler, he was quite deceptive. A decent leader of men, he was very tolerant; even if a player was not scoring runs, he never used to get irritated and used to take things in the stride. He led us brilliantly to victory against Richie Benaud's Australians in the Kanpur Test [in 1959-60], always giving us the self-belief that we could beat them. As a batsman he possessed a tremendous punch along with a good sense of timing. I remember on our train journeys we - Tat (Vijay Manjrekar), Bapu Nadkarni and myself - used to pull his leg by speaking in Marathi, and although he couldn't speak it, he used to understand. At the same time he never was silent and used to give it back.

Nari Contractor
He was a very good man and it is very sad that he had to struggle for a long time when the end came. I was lucky that I got to see him a few days back when I visited him in the hospital. As a captain he was never arrogant and always had that we-can-do-it kind of attitude and that was on display when he was the skipper when we won against the Australians at Kanpur. Although this moment came late in his life, he deserved it. He should have taken over the captaincy in the immediate aftermath of Polly's [Umrigar] resignation. One of the hardest-hitting batsmen of his era, his finest innings came at Brabourne in Bombay against the Australians and came against the odds. He was also a genuine allrounder - not very fast, but he could get the job done.

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