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Sachin Tendulkar's teammate and close friend Vijay Shirke dies due to COVID-19 complications

Vijay Shirke, who played for Sungrace Mafatlal in the late 80s, was a close friend of Sachin Tendulkar. Shrike’s death is another blow to Mumbai’s cricket fraternity.

Sachin Tendulkar's teammate and close friend Vijay Shirke dies due to COVID-19 complications
(Salil Ankola Facebook)
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Former Mumbai paceman Vijay Shirke, who had played with the former Indian captain Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli, succumbed to coronavirus-related complications at a Thane hospital on Sunday night, December 20. He was 57.

Vijay Shirke, who played for Sungrace Mafatlal in the late 80s, was a close friend of Sachin Tendulkar. Shrike’s death is another blow to Mumbai’s cricket fraternity.

Reminiscing the good old days from their cricket era, Kambli told reporters, “This is very sad news. It's a big loss to me personally. After our world record partnership in Harris Shield, in February 1988, we were ‘adopted’ by Sungrace Mafatlal. That's where our friendship started with Vijay. We used to fondly call him ‘Vija.' He was a jovial, hard-working and a helpful guy."

Kambli also remarked him as a natural outswinger. He stated that they were in contact frequently but since the last few days, Vijay had stopped messaging.

Shirke, who was born and brought up in Kalyan, was also a coach for two years in Thane at the Mumbai Cricket Association's (MCA) Under-17 summer camp.

"Gone too soon my friend. Rest in peace my friend. Great times we had on and off the field can never be forgotten Vijay Shirke," posted former India pacer and current chief selector Salil Ankola on Facebook. Shirke was Ankola's pace bowling colleague in Sungrace Mafatlal.

Gone too soon my friend Rest in peace my friend Great times we had on and off the field can never be forgotten Vijay Shirke

Posted by Salil Ankola on Saturday, 19 December 2020

"Since last night, once I heard the news. I have been left speechless. Vijay was the backbone of our team in tough times during the matches as he used to release the pressure by his jovial nature and helping hand. You shall always be in my remembrance and gratitude. Bye bye & Rest in Peace my dear friend," commented former India cricketer Suru Naik on Salil's post.

In October this year, Tendulkar had lost another close friend, Avi Kadam, due to COVID-19.

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