Former Bengal cricket captain Shyam Sundar Mitra passes away

Popularly known as SS, the top-order batsman played 59 first-class matches in a career than spanned 13 years.

Representative Image: Shyam Sundar Mitra was conferred the Lifetime Achievement Award by the CAB in 2009. Photo: Getty Images

Former Bengal captain Shyam Sundar Mitra died following prolonged illness on Thursday. Mitra, 82, was being treated for a heart ailment.

“He was suffering from heart ailments and was being treated at a private hospital in Salt Lake and breathed his last this morning,” Cricket Association of Bengal sources said.

Popularly known as SS, the top-order Bengal batsman played 59 first-class matches and averaged 50.13 with a career-best score of 155. Despite having played some heroic knocks in the 1960s, Mitra was never selected to play for India.

‘Leader on and off the field’

CAB had conferred Mitra with the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009 and in 2017 football club Mohun Bagan, too, bestowed him with the same honour. “It’s a really very sad and disheartening to hear his demise. He was a leader on and off the field and a perfect gentleman. He was a great statesman one of the leading cricketers Bengal has produced,” CAB joint-secretary Avishek Dalmiya said.

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“My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved. May his soul rest in peace,” he added

‘Unlucky not to have played for India’

Raju Mukherjee, in his book ‘Eden Gardens: Legend & Romance’, has written that Mitra was victim of politics and was “distinctly unlucky not to have played for India in the 1960s when his performances against all oppositions, especially against India’s premier team, Mumbai, yearned for higher honours.”

“SS, it is said, was omitted by Bechu Dutta Ray, the East Zone representative in the national selection committee, because he (SS) did not wish transfer his allegiance to the concerned selector’s local club, Sporting Union! Whether this report is authentic or not, the fact remained that all those who played for India in the ’50s, ’60s and early ’70s were actually from Sporting Union!” Mukherjee wrote.