New Delhi: Former India fast bowler Raman Surendranath died here on Saturday morning after prolonged hospitalisation. He was 75.
Surendranath, a retired colonel in the Indian Army, will be remembered for his superb swing bowling on the tour to England in 1959, sharing the new ball with Ramakant Desai. Surendranath took five wickets in the first innings of the fourth Test at Old Trafford, Manchester, those of openers Gilbert Parkhouse and Geoff Pullar, Ken Barrington, Ted Dexter and Fred Trueman. And five again in the only innings England batted in the fifth Test at the Oval - Pullar, stand-in captain Colin Cowdrey, Dexter, wicketkeeper-batsman Roy Swetman and leggie Tom Greenhough.
He bowled long spells in Test cricket with a remarkable economy rate for a fast bowler. In the Manchester Test his figures were 47.1-17-115-5 and at The Oval an amazing 51.3-25-75-5.
On that long English tour, Surendranath ended up as the second highest wicket-taker with 79 wickets behind the great leg-spinner Subhash Gupte's 95. However, the wicket Surendranath and his team-mates fondly talked about was that of Peter May in the second Test at Lord's when he bowled the England captain with a beauty.
Surendranath, who revelled bowling for Services in the ideal wintry conditions in the North, was unlucky to have played only six Tests at home apart from the five he played in England. Barely three years later he played his last Test against Pakistan on an unresponsive pitch in Chennai, despite a splendid effort in the Calcutta Test when he returned figures of 46-19-93-4.
In 11 Tests, he had 26 wickets, 16 of these coming from England tour at an average of 26.62. He continued to play for Services till 1969 and in 88 fist-class matches, he took 278 wickets at 25.37 with 15 five-wicket hauls in an innings and once ten wickets in a match. His best figures in an innings were 7 for 14.