State teams, coaches, support staff observed a minute’s silence as a mark of respect for Murtaza Lodhgar.© Twitter
Former Bengal left-arm spinner and Mizoram U-19 head coach Murtaza Lodhgar died of cardiac arrest on Friday night in Visakhapatnam,Cricket Association Bengal president Avishek Dalmiya confirmed. Lodhgar, 45, was in the port city with the Mizoram colts, who were set to play the league phase of Vinoo Mankad Trophy (U-19 National One Dayers) as BCCI’s domestic season is set to commence. “The tragedy happened just after dinner. Murtu bhai (as he was known in Bengal circles) along with team’s physio went out for an after-dinner walk and suddenly felt enormous chest pain and fell on the road. The physio and other team members immediately took him to the hospital where he was declared brought dead late on Friday,” Dalmiya told PTI.
“I still can’t believe that Murtu bhai is no more. It is a personal loss for me as he was one of the pillars of first division club Rajasthan SC. He was one of the most loved cricketers in our fraternity and also worked with our women’s team with distinction. It’s an irreparable loss,” Dalmiya said.
The Cricket Association of Bengal is trying to make arrangements so that his family can bring his body to the city for the burial. The cricketer’s family will be flying to Vizag on Saturday.
Lodhgar was a power-house performer in club cricket but due to presence of domestic giant Utpal Chatterjee, he played only nine Ranji Trophy games in which he had 34 wickets.
One of the highlights of his short first-class career was a five-wicket haul against Karnataka at the JU (Salt Lake) ground in the 2004-05 season.
He played a few more matches that season but never got consistent opportunities as he was in the wrong side of 30s and slightly portly for the top-level cricket.
“Gone way too early my friend,” tweeted former Bengal captain Deep Dasgupta.
He was regular at the bustling club cricket scene in the United Kingdom. However friends and well-wishers will remember him as an ever-smiling, humble person.
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