Former South Zone and Madras paceman B.R. Mohan Rai passed away after a brief illness in Mangalore on Monday. He was 80 and is survived by wife Uma and two sons.
A product of the Annamalai University, Rai began his career in the city’s first division cricket with Bunts CC before moving on to the star-studded Parry’s where he played with the likes of A.G. Kripal Singh and S. Venkatraghavan.
Tall and well-built, Rai played 24 First Class matches in all, picking up 52 wickets at 27.78 in a career stretching from 1955 to 63.
He played against the visiting New Zealand for South Zone in 1955-56 and figured in an unofficial ‘Test’ in Ceylon in 1956.
His former State teammate, match-winning leg-spinner V.V. Kumar said: “According to many, including former India captain Polly Umrigar, he was the quickest bowler in the country between 1955 and 1958. “He had a very good out-swinger. In fact, Rai and U. Prabhakar Rao formed the finest pace bowling pair in the Ranji Trophy then when they opened for Madras.”
Prabhakar Rao said: “Rai was fast and had one of the best swinging yorkers. I remember him and myself attending former English paceman Alan Moss’s camp in Bombay. Moss was so impressed with both of us that he recommended us for C.K. Nayudu’s benefit match in Delhi.
“But for politics, he would have played official Tests for India,” said Prabhakar Rao.