Cricket scene loses key sports figure

JOHOR BARU: The Malaysian cricket scene has lost a valuable asset with the passing of Johor Cricket Council (JCC) president Datuk Dr Harjit Singh (pic).

It is learnt that Dr Harjit died from heart complications at the National Heart Institute (IJN) on Monday night.

In a statement, Malaysian Cricket Association president Mahindra Vallipuram said it was a sad day for cricket in the country.

“Dr Harjit was a great contributor to the development of the game in Malaysia and Johor.

“Always there to lend his views and constantly push boundaries, ” said Mahindra, adding that many young talents and national cricketers had been developed under Dr Harjit’s leadership.

Mahindra said they would miss such an important figure.

Dr Harjit, 70, was born on April 10,1950 to renowned former Kilat Club cricketer, Meva Singh.

He started his cricket career playing for Maktab Sultan Abu Bakar, or better known as English College, from 1963 to 1966.

At 16, he became the youngest player to represent Johor in the senior Malaysian cricket league.

Dr Harjit also captained his medical college XI and represented Ranchi University and Dhanbad district while studying medicine in India.

He returned to play cricket for Malaysia in 1980 and from 1982 to 1985, he captained Johor cricket team in the national league.

As an official, he held various positions in cricket starting as JCC president from 1987 and Malaysian Cricket Association deputy president between 1990 and 2003.

He was also the founder of the first cricket programme in primary schools, not only in Johor but also Malaysia in 1987.

Under his leadership, JCC set up a cricket academy in Taman Mutiara Rini, which is the largest cricket ground in Malaysia, back in 1998.

In 2008, JCC built the first indoor cricket hall in South-East Asia at the grounds which once hosted the inaugural Asian Cricket Council Women’s Tournament in 2007 and the International Cricket Council Under-19 World Cup in 2008.

For his contributions, Dr Harjit was recognised and awarded the Johor Sports Leadership Awards in 1989,1995 and 2007.

In appreciation of his services to cricket, he was awarded Anugerah Khas by the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong in 1998. — By MOHD FARHAAN SHAH

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