Dr C K Bhaskar, the first Keralite to play an unofficial Test match for India, has died. He was 79.
The pacer wore the Indian cap for the match against Ceylon (Sri Lanka) at Ahmedabad in 1965. M A K Pataudi led the Indian side in the match. Bhaskar picked up two wickets in the game. As the match was held before Sri Lanka was accorded the Test status, it is considered as an unofficial game.
Bhaskar played in the Ranji matches for Kerala and Madras between 1957 and 1969. He was also part of the first Kerala team that won a Ranji Trophy game on home soil.
Bhaskar took 106 wickets and scored 580 runs, including two half-centuries, from 42 first-class matches.
The Kerala Cricket Association's award for the best fast bowler is named after Bhaskar. The pacer also holds the record of being the first Keralite cricketer to become a member of the Combined Universities team.
Though born in Thalassery in Kannur, Bhaskar studied in Thiruvananthapuram. At 16, he played in the Kerala senior team. When Madras entered the Ranji final for the first time in history, Bhaskar was also part of the team.
After completing MBBS from the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College, Bhaskar pursued higher studies in England and Canada.
He, along with his family, had been living in America from 1985. After he settled in the US, he focussed on sports medicine. Bhaskar formed the 'Mission Gold for India' project with the help of US Olympic legend Carl Lewis.
Bhaskar is survived by wife Chandni Nair, and children Rita Nair, Taniya Dominic, and Sonia. The funeral will be held at Houston.