Veteran cricket journalist Rajan Bala dies in Bangalore

     Eminent sports journalist Natarajan Balasubramaniam, more popularly known in the sports fraternity as Rajan Bala, died this morning in a Bangalore hospital. He was 63. One of the finest and a much revered cricket writer in this country, Rajan was the former Sports Editor of Deccan Herald and served in a similar position in the Statesman and several other publications across the country. He had suffered a stroke and been put on dialysis for some time. He suffered a heart attack and was rushed to hospital less than a fortnight ago, where he slipped into coma. He never regained consciousness and passed away on Friday morning. Rajan was a cricket writer for over four decades and also authored half a dozen books on cricket, including the biographies of B S Chandrasekhar and Sachin Tendulkar. In the last few years he had worked as a columnist. His latest book on cricket "Time Well Spent" was to have been originally launched in Bangalore tomorrow. His last published book was "The Covers Are Off - A Socio-Historical Study of Indian Cricket : 1932-2003". He was also the Indian correspondent of the Wisden Cricketer and Wisden Almanac for many years. Rajan was an icon for the younger generation of writers of the willow game in the 1970s who followed his despatches from various parts of the cricket world with great interest. Though he wrote primarily on cricket, Rajan had an indepth knowledge of Indian football, having grown up in Kolkata, and tennis. Rajan was also a good club level cricketer who used to bat higher up the order and bowl off spin. Former Indian off spinner Erapalli Prasanna said: "In the passing away of Rajan Bala, I lost a very close associate, a person with whom I could discuss cricket in length. It''s a personal loss to me. I felt that among all the cricket journalists, he was the best because he had a tremendous knowledge of the game."

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