Rewind to Rewind toRSS FeedFeeds

1998

The tragic death of Raman Lamba

When fielding at forward short-leg without a helmet on cost an Indian international his life

Martin Williamson

August 14, 2010

Comments: 50 | Text size: A | A

Lamba pictured in his Irish sweater as he was the Ireland professional for several years.
Lamba fielding close in during an Ireland club game Bill McLeod / © Bill McLeod
Enlarge
Related Links
My Favourite Cricketer : The idol who went too soon

While traditionalists might still moan about their effect on the aesthetics of the game, there is little doubt the introduction of helmets in the last three decades has reduced the number of serious injuries in cricket, to both batsmen and fielders.

It remains, nevertheless, a potentially dangerous sport, and while almost all batsmen now wear protective equipment, a few close fielders prefer not to wear helmets, arguing they have an adverse effect on balance and reactions. They would do well to remember the sad case of Raman Lamba.

Lamba was an aggressive, if technically slightly suspect, batsman, whose career had promised much but never quite reached the heights expected. He arrived in style, smacking a hundred and two fifties in six ODIs against Australia in 1986-87, but his next five one-dayers produced only eight runs and by the late 1980s, and after a fair number of chances, he had been discarded. Four Tests were equally unproductive and despite scoring heavily in domestic cricket, he was not picked again.

He became a gun for hire, playing club cricket in Ireland - as well as representing them as their overseas player - and marrying an Irish girl. He also played club cricket in Bangladesh, which, although it had yet to gain full international status, had a vibrant club scene, attracting some good-quality players from overseas. Lamba was one of the early pioneers, first playing there in 1991 and telling friends that he was "the Don of Dhaka".

On February 20, 1998, Lamba was fielding for Abahani Krira Chakra against Mohammedan Sporting in Dhaka's Premier League at the Bangabandhu Stadium when he was summoned from the outfield to go to short leg.

Khaled Mashud was captaining Abahani Krira Chakra in the absence of the regular skipper. "I brought on the left-arm spinner for that one over and after three balls I decided to change the field. I looked around and I saw Raman and asked him to stand at forward short-leg." Mashud asked him if he wanted a helmet but Lamba said that "it was just three balls and so it wouldn't be a problem".

The delivery from Saifullah Khan was short and Mehrab Hossain pulled it hard, hitting Lamba in the forehead with such force it rebounded beyond Mashud, the wicketkeeper, who had to backpedal to take the catch. ''I knew Mehrab was out," Mashud said. "But when the other players gathered around me to celebrate, I looked for Raman. He was lying on the ground."

Lamba was well enough to get up and after reassuring fielders he was okay, unassisted he slowly made his way back to the dressing room. The team doctor told him to lie down and gave him water to drink, but after a few minutes Lamba told team-mates he felt unwell and was rushed to hospital. By the time he got there he had lost consciousness, and after he suffered convulsions, surgeons operated to a remove a blood clot from the left side of his brain. A specialist was flown in from Delhi but returned almost straightaway, saying there was no hope of recovery.

Three days after he was hit, Lamba's life support was turned off with the approval of his family. His wife, Kim, who had flown in from Delhi to be with him was at his bedside along with their five-year-old son and three-year daughter.

"He was at a private hospital first and then moved to the government hospital, but it was too late," Mashud said. "'He died because we did not have good medical facilities then."

"Raman's death was a big jolt," Kapil Dev said at the time. "It was as if the entire earth had moved under one's feet. This is a lesson for every cricketer to take precautions to avert such tragedies."

Understandably the incident affected Mehrab considerably. ''He couldn't sleep for two or three days,'' Mashud recalled. He even spent a spell away from the game, but eventually returned and went on to play for Bangladesh.

Aminul Islam, the former Bangladesh captain who was the non-striker when Lamba was struck, said that Lamba's role in helping take the country to Test status should not be overlooked. "Had Raman been alive, he would have been proud to see how far Bangladesh cricket has come. He was very dear to us, and remains one of our best cricket friends. He did a lot for Bangladesh cricket. I wrote a column in a newspaper on some memorable moments spent with Raman. And when I sat down to write it, I cried.

"Bangladesh loved Lamba, a stand in his name at the Bangabandhu Stadium was promised. But they don't even play cricket there now."

"He always dressed young, thought young and played young," Vijay Lokapally wrote in the Hindu. "Alas, he died young."

Martin Williamson is executive editor of Cricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

RSS Feeds: Martin Williamson

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by real2020 on (August 17, 2010, 18:27 GMT)

Kim, thanks for writing to this forum. Our prayers are always for Raman and for you and the kids. Every year this time my heart becomes very saddened. I still recall my childhood memories in Dhaka following cricket specially Raman Lamba being in those matches. Raman Lamba resides in every Bangladeshi cricket fan's heart like mine.

Posted by   on (August 17, 2010, 4:21 GMT)

Kim Lamba

Good to hear from you. I always wanted to know how Raman lamba's family was doing. Do you guys live in india... regards

Posted by   on (August 17, 2010, 1:08 GMT)

i cried after the incident. one of days when you dont get injurted just before that ball, nor it rains so that the game get stopped. i was praying to god, i dont know how but just keep him alive. Raman was a hero and always will be. such a cricketer comes only once in 100 years. the stats may not say alot abt him but he was such a man. cricket is just beautiful for players like him. RIP Raman. You were, you are and you will be our hero all the time

Posted by Trickstar on (August 16, 2010, 18:03 GMT)

@KimLamba Great to hear that you and your family are well and doing great. Raman would be very proud of Indian & Bangladesh cricket today . Gone but not forgotten throughout the world.

Posted by theocrat on (August 16, 2010, 18:02 GMT)

It truly is a sad story especially for kim and her children, but there is hope of you'll really seeing him again and actually spending time together just as before,of course not in this present life, but in the very near future. Accept a free study of the bible from jehovah's witnesses to learn more about this hope.

Posted by 777aditya on (August 16, 2010, 17:10 GMT)

I still dont believe that Raman is no more. As a kid, I watched a few Indian wins with W. V. Raman and Raman Lamba as openers. May his soul rest in eternal peace - God bless his family. Let's hope Kamran proves to be a chip of the old block and plays for India in the future

Posted by AIRkris on (August 16, 2010, 16:27 GMT)

god bless lamba nd his family

Posted by KimLamba on (August 16, 2010, 13:51 GMT)

Hi there, this Kim Lamba, Raman´s wife. It is heartwarming to read these comments and I convey my thanks to the author of this article. I´d like to share with you, that myself and our children; Jasmyn now 18 and Kamran now 15 are all doing well. Jasmyn is studying sports and Kamran is still in high school attaining great grades. He is extremely intelligent - taking after his father. They say with time, everything fades, but I can assure you in the case of Raman Lamba this is most definately not the case. As the children grow Raman´s presence is felt more and more, Jasmyn looks just like him, she is very beautiful, astute and has his fire and bullheadedness, Kamran has his facial expressions (especially around the eyes) and his extreme intellgence and softness of charachter. I am very blessed to have had a decade of bliss with Raman and am left with a lifetime of memories. I am still happily living in the world of Raman Lamba. I´m so glad you remember him so vividly too. God Bless Kim

Posted by Gibbs1987 on (August 16, 2010, 13:28 GMT)

Just yesterday at a club game someone asked me if he should bother wearing a helmet as the wicket was damp and very slow......I said to him you just never know and it was not worth taking the risk. The story above is just such a stark reminder of how quickly things can happen. RIP fellow cricketer.

Posted by Rajesh. on (August 16, 2010, 8:17 GMT)

I remember this like yesterday............. was such a such day. Raman Lamba was one of the fittest cricketers and may well have played even beyond 45. What a tragic end.

Comments have now been closed for this article

FeedbackTop
Email Feedback Print
Share
E-mail
Feedback
Print
Martin WilliamsonClose
Martin Williamson Executive editor Martin Williamson joined the Wisden website in its planning stages in 2001 after failing to make his millions in the internet boom when managing editor of Sportal. Before that he was in charge of Sky Sports Online and helped launch and run Sky News Online. With a preference for all things old (except his wife and children), he has recently confounded colleagues by displaying an uncharacteristic fondness for Twenty20 cricket. His enthusiasm for the game is sadly not matched by his ability, but he remains convinced that he might be a late developer and perseveres in the hope of an England call-up with his middle-order batting and non-spinning offbreaks. He is now managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group as well as his Cricinfo responsibilities.

    The world record that nearly wasn't

Rewind: Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it

    An archaelogical probe into the state of the game

Review: Gideon Haigh comes out with another set of essays that sound uncannily prescient about the way the game is headed

Blind cricket struggles for recognition in India

Despite recent successes, visually impaired players are not getting the backing that could turn them into professionals

    Crunch time for Sehwag and Gambhir

Numbers Game: The Indian T20 tournament presents an opportunity to both to show their class once again

The home invasion

Hassan Cheema: The Emirates have been Pakistan's home away from home for three decades. To see the IPL being played there must feel like betrayal

News | Features Last 7 days

UAE all set to host lavish welcoming party

The controversy surrounding the IPL has done little to deter fans in UAE from flocking the stadiums, as they gear up to watch the Indian stars in action for the first time since 2006

Attention on Yuvraj, Gambhir in IPL 2014

ESPNcricinfo picks five players for whom this IPL is of bigger significance

The watch breaker, and Malinga specials

The Plays of the day from the match between Kolkata and Mumbai, in Abu Dhabi

India: cricket's Brazil

It's difficult to beat a huge talent base exposed to good facilities, and possessed of a long history of competing as a nation

The captain's blunder

The Plays of the day from the match between Chennai and Punjab in Abu Dhabi

News | Features Last 7 days