Phool killed in road accident

Former India basketball players tragic demise goes unnoticed

Phool, riding his two-wheeler to Sikar to meet his ailing mother, collided head-on with an oncoming truck and passed away on the spot, according to information received here.
Strangely, even ten days after his death, there was no response from the authorities, with the Basketball Federation of India not deeming it fit to send out even a release informing the media and the fans about the loss.

Only when Deccan Herald contacted him did BFI secretary Harish Sharma offer condolences on his and the federation’s behalf. “I have played with his brother and I remember Phool as a hard-working basketballer. He would never get angry on the court and for a pivot player of that size and build, that is a rare quality. He was very down to earth. We should all mourn his loss,” he said.

Phool, who represented India in a couple of matches during his reign as Services’ best power forward, is survived by his wife Lakshmi and two children -- daughter Kiran (16) and son Deepak (14).

The youngest brother of former India skipper and Arjuna awardee Radhey Shyam, who died in 2006, Phool was the backbone of the Services’ defence and pivot play for more than a decade.

After starting his career with Army Service Corps in Bangalore in 1992, the 6’8’’ ‘gentle giant’ showed promise and with a string of impressive performances clinched a place in the Services team.

On moving to Delhi in 1993, Phool continued to shine amidst a new breed of players who were bigger and faster than him. Services’ point-guard Amarnath, who assisted Phool in some of his best games, said he was shocked by the incident and will miss his partner.

“This is a sad moment for basketball,” said Amarnath. “I played with him for a number of years and he was an incredible player. Without his presence, I doubt we could have won any big game. We shared a great relationship on and off the court.” After a stellar career, Phool Singh retired from the game on July 31, 2009.

Basketball circles in Bangalore expressed shock over the demise. Former internationals R Rajan and BS Gautham offered tributes to the player. “He averaged 35 points a game,” said Vijaya Bank’s Gautham. “Our main strategy when we played ASC was to cut his scoring by at least 15 points,” he added.

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