Former India allrounder Rusi Surti, 76, died this morning in Mumbai. The Queensland, Australia-based Surti had been put on life support in hospital after scans revealed he had suffered a massive stroke.
Surti, often called the "poor man's Garry Sobers", played 26 Tests for India from 1960 to 1969 before settling in Australia. He represented Queensland 35 times in the Sheffield Shield and also played for Gujarat and Rajasthan in the Ranji Trophy.
A sound left-hand batsman, a left-arm bowler who could bowl either medium-pace or spin and an outstanding fielder, Surti rendered valuable service to Indian cricket almost throughout the 1960s. He scored 1263 Test runs at an average of 28.70 and a highest score of 99 while also taking 42 wickets at 46.71.
Having debuted against Pakistan in Mumbai, Surti peaked on the tour of Australia and New Zealand in 1967-68. In the eight Tests he was the most successful run-getter with 688 runs at 45.50 and also picked up 22 wickets. In the fourth and final Test against New Zealand at Auckland, he was out for 99 which remained his highest Test score.
Back home, Surti played two more Tests against New Zealand and one against Australia in 1969-70. By this time, he was representing Queensland in the Sheffield Shield and remained out of contention for India thereafter.
His first-class career, which included six centuries, stretched from 1956 to 1972, with a debut for Gujarat against Bombay at the Brabourne Stadium and a final appearance for Queensland against South Australia at the Gabba.