File photo of Wasim Raja

5 cricketers who died while playing the sport

Cricket has seen some unfortunate deaths over the past couple of months on the field in club cricket, with Zulfiqar Bhatti and Darryn Randall being fatally hurt on the ground in recent years.

Read on to find out the ones who met their unfortunate end while playing the sport that they loved.


5. Ian Folley

Ian Foley (Courtesy: Birmingham Times)

He was a right-hander with the bat and a left-arm spin bowler who played for Lancashire and Derbyshire. He succumbed to a heart attack while undergoing treatment for a hit below the eye that he got while batting for the Cumbrian Whitehaven on August 30, 1993. He was just 30. There was some mishap at the hospital where he was being treated, and he died under anaesthetic.


He started as a seam bowler but later turned to spin after the suggestion of his manager at Lancashire. He picked up a total of 287 wickets in his first-class career that spanned 140 matches. He was in prime form in the 80s and was almost selected for the England tour to Pakistan in 1987, with his 74 wickets that season.

4. Syed Faaqer Ali

Syed Faqeer Ali (Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia)

He was the son of Syed Abid Ali, and son-in-law of Syed Kirmani, both of whom have played cricket for India before. He was playing a league match for Tracy United Cricket Club as part of the Northern California Cricket Association league in Fremont, CA.

He was batting well and even hitting boundaries when he suffered a heart attack and thus could not continue and was rushed off the field. He was declared dead about 15 minutes later at Fremont’s Washington Hospital, leaving everybody in shock and disbelief. He was 34. The date was April 19, 2008.

He was captain of his side, and was going well before he asked for a runner from the umpire. A few minutes later, he collapsed on the ground, an emergency was called, and even CPR was administered but was no good. He left behind a wife and a son.


He was passionate about the game of cricket and had some big plans in mind regarding the promotion of the game in the US and India as well. He also wanted to groom the youngsters of the game. He is greatly missed and mourned by his club, as well as the others that played alongside him in the league.

3. Wilfred Slack

Photo Courtesy: Wisden

He was a Middlesex player known for his incredible batting skills using which he was able to amass 13950 runs in 237 First-Class matches with 25 hundreds. He used to open the batting, and along with Graham Barlow, he was the best opening pair for Middlesex and one of the best in county cricket for a long time.

He even fielded at short leg and silly point and grabbed a total of 174 catches in his career. He never took centre stage but was greatly missed if he did not play. Fellow players remember him as one of the most composed and thoughtful players of his day,

His health started showing bad signs when he began blacking out while playing – this happened on at least four instances before the day he eventually passed away on 15 January 1989, at the early age of 34.

He collapsed while batting for Cavaliers XI during a game in The Gambia, and never recovered. The Barnett Council Ground in Finchley was named the Wilf Slack Ground in honour of the player who gave so much to county cricket and even represented the national side in 3 Tests, and 2 ODIs.


2. Raman Lamba

Raman Lamba

His was a very tragic death. He was hit on his temple while fielding at short leg without a helmet on. So hard was the ball hit that it bounced off him and went into the wicketkeeper’s hands. The batsman was Mehrab Hossain, and Lamba was playing for his team – the Abahani Krida Chakra in the Dhaka Premier League at the Bangabandhu Stadium in Dhaka – and the day was 20 February 1998.

He was told by the wicket-keeper captain Khaled Mashud to field at that position for the final three deliveries of the day, which was why he didn’t bother wearing a helmet.

This mistake to be fatal for him, as he was struck fiercely on his head. He did walk off the field, claiming he was fine, but later collapsed in the dressing room when the haemorrhage started taking its toll. He was rushed to a hospital, and a clot was detected. He was operated upon too, but it was not effective, and life support was taken away three days later.


He was 38. He had 31 first-class hundreds to his name in the 121 games that he played, averaging over 50.

1. Wasim Raja

Photo Courtesy: The Dawn

Wasim Raja was a gifted all-rounder who played for Pakistan. He played 57 Tests and 54 ODIs for his country. He had a staggering First-Class record with 11434 runs and 558 wickets in the 250 matches that he played. He was later appointed as an ICC match referee, and he did oversee 15 Test matches.

The tragedy occurred when he was playing for the Surrey Over 50s (aged 54). He bowled a couple of overs and then complained to fellow players of dizziness, following which he was carried off. He collapsed on the boundary, never to recover. The date was August 23, 2006.

He is remembered by all the Pakistani players and his fans. Wasim Akram recalls how he used to go and see matches and how he was the crowd favourite owing to his hard-hitting abilities and his charisma. Javed Miandad mourned his death by saying they had lost a great cricketer, a good sportsman and a true ambassador of the country.

His brother Rameez Raja also played international cricket for Pakistan, and is today more known as a TV commentator.

Edited by
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