The Former South Africa Team Manager and Trained Pharmacist Was HIghly Regarded in HIs Home Country and the Cricketing World
The cricket world is grieving the death of Goolam Rajah, who succumbed to COVID-19 related complications on 29th June 2021 in Johannesburg, South Africa. He was the longest-serving South African team manager in their cricket history. His tenure began in 1991 and ended in 2011. He has also served on the Gauteng Cricket Board.
While he was at the national team’s helm, the team had a spectacular run in international cricket, achieving several feats. The team won the first-ever ICC Knockout trophy in 1998 and a gold medal in the 1998 Commonwealth Games. It also reached the semi-finals of the Cricket World Cup in 1999 and the 2002 ICC Champions trophy. The team also had notable victories, winning the Test series against England in 2008 on English soil. The team also had emphatic away wins against Australia in both ODI and Test series in December 2008 and January 2009.
Rajah retired from his team manager role after South Africa after the 2011 Cricket World Cup, where the team lost in the quarter-finals to New Zealand.
Rajah, a trained pharmacist, was the face of South African cricket, overseeing its resurgence after international restrictions due to apartheid. He was in charge of over 600 international matches, with as many as 107 players passing under his hands.
Goolam was held in such high regard that the South African cricket team players wore black armbands on the eve of their third T20I match against West Indies on 29th June in the West Indies. They also observed a minute’s silence before the match commenced in his honor. South African player Tabraiz Shamsi dedicated their win over the West Indies team to Rajah.
There were numerous condolence messages, with most of his former players taking to social media to commemorate him. Graeme Smith, the former South African Captain, said that Rajah was like a father to many players. He praised Rajah for being so thorough in his managerial role that the players could concentrate solely on cricket. He also pointed out how accommodating Rajah was to the player’s spouses and partners, particularly when they were on away tours.
Shaun Pollock tweeted: “Truly sad to hear of the passing of Goolam Rajah- a friend and legendary team manager of the Proteas. He was an integral part of my cricketing journey, always professional, and treated us as family. Thoughts are with Poppy and family.”
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