Former Kerala cricketer Suresh Kumar found dead in his house

M. Suresh Kumar would often dismiss Rahul Dravid with his spin back in the day. Despite talent, he couldn't make it to the senior Indian team.

Suresh Kumar was the first cricketer from Kerala to play India U-19.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

On Friday night, even as cricket fans were glued to the Indian Premier League match between Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Capitals at Sharjah, a disturbing news emerged from Alappuzha. M. Suresh Kumar, reports said, had ended his life. It was a tragic end to a remarkable cricketer at the age of 47.

The left-arm spinner was so good and so complete a package, he could have represented the senior Indian team, those who have played with him feel. He did play for the India Under-19 team – and was the first from Kerala to do so – but had the potential to achieve lot more.

Sujith Somasundar, former India opener and currently head of education at the National Cricket Academy, is one of those who believe Suresh could have had a brighter career.

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“I have played against him in so many matches, from the Under-15 days through the Ranji Trophy, and found him an extremely talented cricketer,” Sujith told Sportstar on Saturday. “He was a superb spinner; he had a fluid action, he mixed it up well and had good loop.”

He also has vivid memories of Suresh as a fielder. “He was one of the best fielders I have ever come across,” said Sujith. “I would say he was even ahead of his times when it came to fielding; he specialised in running out the batsman with direct hits pretending to aim at the other end. And he did that on the outfields of Kerala which was devoid of grass but full of pebbles.”

Like Sujith, Sunil Oasis too is a contemporary of Suresh. The former Kerala captain was his teammate for over a decade.

“We have played together in junior cricket too,” said Sunil. “He was a gifted cricketer. I haven't seen many naturals like him in my career.”

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He said it was unfortunate that Suresh did not go on to play for the senior Indian team. “With some luck, he easily could have,” he said. “He was one of the best spinners in India at the time. Given his exceptional skills as a fielder and usefulness as a batsman, he would have excelled in ODI cricket.”

Sunil remembers Suresh was effective on any surface but particularly difficult on turners. “I have several memories about him, including the way he ran Yuvraj Singh out in a Deodhar Trophy match in that typical fashion of his – looking to throw the stumps down at the other end,” he said. “He was also the bowler who used to get Rahul Dravid out most when Kerala played Karnataka.”

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