Cricket's uncertainties don't spare even the best. Yes, to many of his friends, Rajesh Sanghi was just that — the best — when it came to kindness and helpfulness.
Rajesh Sanghi (kneeling, extreme right) was a Dadar Union player, who played under Dilip Vengsarkar (standing sixth from left)
'Baldy' as he was called by his mates, passed away on Saturday morning while holidaying in the Maldives. It is learnt that the 42-year-old former Rajasthan batsman suffered a massive heart attack.
Sanghi was Sachin Tendulkar's first captain in a BCCI-run tournament (Vijay Merchant Trophy) in a Mumbai under-15 team comprising Vinod Kambli, Jatin Paranjape and Mayur Kadrekar.
Belonging to the famous Sanghi family also known for their sporting nature, the cricketer leaves behind his wife and two daughters.
Sanghi was an attractive opening batsman who sought greener pastures with Rajasthan in domestic cricket.
Kailash Gattani, whose Star Cricket Club tours Sanghi undertook twice to England just like Tendulkar, remembered Sanghi as an attractive strokeplayer who would never be afraid of counter attacking.
"He was a wonderful strokeplayer and a great human being. I was too shocked to continue driving when I got the news of Rajesh's death (on Saturday). I had to stop my car and come to terms with what I just heard," Gattani said from Pune.
He added: "I recommended him to Rajasthan and they said he will have to come for trials. He did that and went on to score a hundred on debut in the Ranji Trophy. I was so happy."
The news of Sanghi's death sent shockwaves through Mumbai's cricketing fraternity. Dilip Vengsarkar who captained Sanghi at Dadar Union, said: "It's shocking.
He was a Dadar Union opener, a very good cricketer and a gentleman to the core. Rajesh was extremely passionate about cricket, a very loyal teammate and always ready to help others."
Former Test batsman Pravin Amre, who scored a double century while Sanghi scored his ton on debut for Rajasthan in 1993, said: "The news of Rajesh's death has come as a huge shock. He was such a fine man and a great teammate. He wanted to help everyone. I am absolutely gutted."
Amre and Sanghi put on 217 for the second wicket against Madhya Pradesh after Rajasthan were in trouble at 47 for 2 in Udaipur.
The last time this writer met Sanghi was when his coach Vithal 'Marshal' Patil passed away in June. Sanghi along with his friend Mazhar Ghadially helped in the funeral preparations and served their coach till the very end.
With Madhav Mantri, Patil and now Sanghi passing away in the space of six months, Dadar Union is building a strong team up there. And Mumbai cricket's loss is getting bigger.