Mohan Rai, the former Madras and South Zone fast bowler, died on Monday in Mangalore aged 80, after a brief illness. Rai played 24 first-class matches between 1955 and 1963, taking 52 wickets in 24 games with a best of 4 for 27, and scored 373 runs. He also played for South Zone against the visiting New Zealanders in 1955-56.
VV Kumar, the former India legspinner and state team-mate, said Rai was known for his pace.
"According to many, including former India captain Polly Umrigar, he was the quickest bowler in the country between 1955 and 1958," Kumar told the Hindu. "He had a very good outswinger. In fact, Rai and U Prabhakar Rao formed the finest pace bowling pair in the Ranji Trophy then when they opened for Madras."
Rao added that Rai was unlucky not to have played Tests for India. "Rai was fast and had one of the best swinging yorkers," Rao told the paper. "I remember him and myself attending former English paceman Alan Moss' camp in Bombay. Moss was so impressed with both of us that he recommended us for CK Nayudu's benefit match in Delhi."