Former India opener Vijay Mehra passes away

Published: Friday, August 25, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Mehra made his debut in 1955 against New Zealand and went on to play eight Tests for India, scoring 329 runs at an average of 25.30.

His first class career lasted 109 matches and the opener scored 5614 runs playing for Delhi, Punjab and Railways at an average of 34.44 with 13 hundreds.

Meanwhile, former cricketers paid tribute to Mehra and expressed shock at his sudden death.

Ex-skipper Bishan Singh Bedi, under whom Mehra played, said he was shocked by the news and felt sad at losing a dear friend.

''He was a good friend of mine and we used to talk for long hours. We used to discuss cricket and everything related to the game,'' Bedi told UNI.

Recalling his playing days with his city-mate, who was the youngest Indian to play Tests at the age of 17 until the record was broken by Maninder Singh, Bedi said Mehra had some limitations as a cricketer but knew how to get the maximum out of him.

''We belonged to the same city Amritsar and we studied in the same college. Although by the time I joined he had already passed out but we still got the opportunity to play together.

''He was a very limited cricketer but at the same time a very hard working individual. He worked within his limits to achieve success,'' Bedi added.

Stylish batsman of his era Vinay Lamba also paid rich tributes to Mehra and said he was saddened by his unfortunate demise.''I am shocked to hear the news. He was my first captain and I learnt a lot under him. I played under him for Delhi and North Zone till 1969,'' Lamba said.

''I have lost a close friend. He was a fine human being and his death has come as a jolt to me,'' he added.

After retiring from active cricket, Mehra became a national selector and also did commentary for All India Radio. He was last heard during India's Test series against the West Indies this year.

He was also actively involved in the administration of the Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA).

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