Former Indian Test player David Johnson dead at 52

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The Indian cricket community has been left in shock after the death of former Test cricketer David Johnson at the age of 52.

Johnson had been battling health issues and alcohol addiction over the past year and had been discharged from hospital just three days ago.

Kothanur police officials are treating the case as a suicide, The Indian Express reported.

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Johnson, who played Test matches against Australia and South Africa in 1996, was an express pace bowler, hitting over 157km/h in his Test debut.

However, a lack of control limited him to just two Tests and three wickets.

Tributes have flowed for David Johnson. Photo: TwitterSource: Twitter
David Johnson in action for India. Credit: Clive Mason/AllsportSource: Getty Images

In domestic cricket, Johnson was part of an all-star pace attack at Karnataka, which included Javagal Srinath (236 wickets in 67 Tests), Venkatesh Prasad (96 wickets in 33 matches) and Dodda Ganesh (five wickets in four Tests), who all played Test cricket.

The side won three titles in India’s first-class domestic Ranji Trophy in four years through the late 1990s.

But Johnson’s first-class career was also short, having played just 39 matches, despite having taken 125 wickets at an average of 28.63, before retiring after the 2001/02 season.

He also hit a first-class century.

Johnson got his shot at Test cricket due to an injury to Srinath, but only took one wicket on debut — that of Michael Slater in the second innings — in a match which was dominated by the spinners at Delhi.

In a mark of respect, Indian players wore black armbands in their 47-run T20 World Cup Super 8 win over Afghanistan.

It was just the start of the tributes as Indian legends paid tribute to the former star.

Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, who was the captain of India in both of Johnson’s Tests, tweeted: “Deeply saddened by the passing of my former teammate, David Johnson. He was full of life and never gave up on the field. My thoughts are with his friends and family.”

Sanjay Manjrekar, a 37-Test veteran, wrote: “In an age when Indian cricket was about medium pace David Johnson caught my eye with his quick arm slingy action. He was quick in the air. A rarity in those days. Shocked and saddened by his passing away. May his soul rest in peace.”

The Indian players wore black arm bands at the T20 World Cup. Photo by Randy Brooks / AFPSource: AFP

Former opener Virender Sehwag posted: “Very sad to hear about David Johnson’s passing. Condolences to his family.”

Legendary spinner Anil Kumble tweeted: “Saddened to hear the passing of my cricketing colleague David Johnson. Heartfelt condolences to his family. Gone too soon ‘Benny’!”

Ex-Indian cricketer and coach Robin Singh commented: “Shocked and saddened by the news of the passing of fellow teammate David Johnson. Gone too soon. love to his family in this difficult time.”

Former opening batter Gautam Gambhir said: “Saddened by the passing away of David Johnson. May god give strength to his family and loved ones.”

Former quick Yusuf Pathan wrote: “Deeply saddened to hear the news about former Indian cricketer David Johnson’s demise. Sending my heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.”

Dodda Ganesh, who was also part of the Karnataka pace attack, remembered the former star.

“He was quick and would always give everything,” Ganesh said.

“There was a period where four of us — Srinath, Prasad, Johnson and myself were part of the Indian team. It just shows how good he was.

“We came from the same place so Johnson and I played a lot of cricket together. And he just loved bowling fast.”

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