Raman lives on in Lambas' hearts

Raman lives on in Lambas' hearts

Raman lives on in Lambas' hearts

It has been 16 years since Delhi cricketer Raman Lamba’s life was cut short at 38 when a cricket ball hit him on the forehead while fielding at short leg.

Over the years, his once gregarious existence has become a blurred memory for the cricketing world. But for his siblings – three sisters and two brothers – Raman, the darling of the family, continues to live.

The unfortunate death of Australian Phil Hughes, at the young age of 25, has once against dusted off the memory of Raman’s death. For the Lambas, time roles back to February 20, 1998.

Raman, who played four Tests and 32 ODIs for India, was fielding without a helmet for Abahani Krira Chakra against Mohammedan Sporting in Dhaka's Premier League at the Bangabandhu Stadium. A Mehrab Hossain pull hit Raman on the forehead with such force that within seconds he was lying on the ground. He somehow walked to dressing room, never to return to another cricket field.

“It was a shock. I remember one of his friends calling me and saying: “Don’t worry, Raman is fine. He is sleeping like a baby,” recalled his brother Rajesh, still shaken by the memory.
His sister, Amita, flew with a surgeon from Apollo to Dhaka. “More than the hit, it was the mistreatment that cost his life. He was first taken to a nursing home instead of proper hospital. When they shifted him to government hospital, it was without oxygen.”

Raman’s younger sister Sunita, an artist, recalled the time following his passing away. “My mother became bedridden after his death. Even though our parents stayed alive for 14 years after Raman’s demise, they were never the same again.”

Rita, the eldest of all the siblings, grew emotional while talking about Raman. “There was never a dull moment when he was around. Even today we feel he has gone to play somewhere.”

Raman’s Irish wife, Kim, left India shortly after his death. She and their two children Jasmyn (21) and Kamran (19) are now settled in Poland. The families barely talk.

Over the years, the Lambas have learnt to live without Raman. But they remain fiercely proud of his legacy. The siblings, now reduced to five, have stuck together with each other, even staying close to each other, to keep up the bond that had been their strength all these years.

“Yesterday when my son went to college, his friend asked him if he was Raman Lamba’s nephew,” said Rajesh, who runs a construction business and even holds a football tournament in the memory of his brother. His office at Rajendar Nagar still has Raman’s trophies and pictures. “Raman had a great sense of humour and was a young spirit. As a cricketer, he was very fit and disciplined.”

The family’s thoughts were with Hughes’ family. ”Nobody should have this kind of experience. Certain rules should be amended in cricket. The risk factor should be removed. There are so many incidents of this kind that happen at lower levels and no one even gets to know,” said Rajesh.