Former Tamil Nadu player, BCCI match referee and coach D.J. Gokulakrishnan passed away at the age of 50 here on Wednesday.
The former bowling all-rounder has played 39 first-class and 45 list-A matches for Tamil Nadu, Assam, and Goa between 1993 and 2004.
A medium-pace bowler, he has 103 first-class wickets at an average of 27.34 with four five-wicket hauls and the best bowling figures of seven for 54. He’s claimed 71 list-A wickets at an average of 20.91 with one five-wicket haul and the best bowling figures of five for 55.
A right-hand batter, he has 1116 first-class runs at an average of 24.26 with one hundred and four fifties, the highest score being an unbeaten 104. He has a list-A tally of 552 runs at an average of 25.09 with two fifties, the highest score being an unbeaten 64.
He’s officiated as a match referee in the Ranji trophy, Vijay Hazare trophy, and the Tamil Nadu Premier League.
A qualified level 2 coach, he has served as the Tamil Nadu assistant coach in 2008 and 2013, and bowling coach in 2010. He was also the Tamil Nadu u-19 head coach in 2015.
W.V. Raman, under whose captaincy Gokulakrishnan has played for Tamil Nadu and for whom he’s been the assistant coach for Tamil Nadu, felt that he should have played white-ball cricket for India.
“Gokulakrishnan was perhaps unlucky to miss out on not being accorded the highest honour. I mean the Indian cap when I say that. He would have been a good player for white-ball cricket.”
Raman recalled how under his captaincy Gokulakrishnan overcame the doubts cast over his bowling action.
“There were a lot of aspersions cast about his bowling action and I took up his case. In fact, I had heated arguments with the umpires on the field of play. At that time, I was an associate with MRF and I used to practise at the pace foundation.
“So, we made him come to the pace foundation, made (Dennis) Lillee see his bowling and stuff like that. We tried to sort of provide him the confidence and also the support that he needed at a terrible time. But he got over it, he went on to play really well. That is a testimony to the steely resolve he had!”
The Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) condoled his demise though a press release.
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