Former Bengal captain Shyam Sundar Mitra succumbed to prolonged illness Thursday morning at a city here Thursday. Mitra, 82, was being treated for heart ailment. “He was suffering from heart ailments and was being treated at a private hospital in Saltlake and breathed his last this morning,” Cricket Association of Bengal sources said. Popularly known as SS, the top-order Bengal batsman played 59 first- class matches and averaged 50.13 with a career best score of 155, but despite having played some heroic knocks in the 1960s, Mitra was never selected to play for India.
Raju Mukherjee, in his book ‘Eden Gardens: Legend & Romance’, has written that Mitra was victim of politics and was “distinctly unlucky not to have played for India in the 1960s when his performances against all oppositions, especially against India’s premier team, Mumbai, yearned for higher honours”. “SS, it is said, was omitted by Bechu Dutta Ray, the East Zone representative in the national selection committee, because he (SS) did not wish transfer his allegiance to the concerned selector’s local club, Sporting Union! Whether this report is authentic or not, the fact remained that all those who played for India in the 50s, 60s and early 70s were actually from Sporting Union!” Mukherjee wrote.
CAB had also conferred Mitra with the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009 and in 2017 football club Mohun Bagan, too, bestowed him with the same honour. “It’s a really very sad and disheartening to hear his demise. He was a leader on and off the field and a perfect gentleman. He was a great statesman one of the leading cricketers Bengal has produced. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved. May his soul rest in peace,” CAB joint-secretary Avishek Dalmiya said.