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Former India pacer David Johnson dies after falling from balcony

Source: PTI
Last updated on: June 20, 2024 18:11 IST
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IMAGE: David Johnson appeals for the wicket of Ricky Ponting during one-off Test match against Australia in in New Delhi on October 12, 1996. Photograph: Reuters

Former India pacer David Johnson died on Thursday after falling from the balcony of his fourth-floor apartment here and an investigation is in progress to figure out if it was a case of suicide, the police has said.


Johnson, who played two Tests for India, was 52 and is survived by his wife and two children.

"It is believed that 52-year-old David Jude Johnson fell from his apartment in Kanaka Sri Layout in Kothanur. A UDR (unnatural death report) has been filed at the Kothanur police station," a statement from the state police read.

"The body is taken for postmortem to the Ambedkar Medical College Hospital at Shampura main road," it added.

Johnson, who was admitted to the St Philomena's Hospital last week after complaining of acute stomach pain, was battling health issues for a while now.

"None of his family members have raised any suspicion. It was a 'self-fall' and there is no eyewitness to the incident. Neither, there was a suicide note," the police said, adding a probe was nonetheless being conducted.

A senior police official later also informed that Johnson had been visiting a de-addiction centre in the city.

Earlier, a Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) official said Johnson was brought dead to a nearby hospital by the members of his family and friends.

"We were informed that he had fallen from the fourth floor of his apartment building. He was taken to a hospital but the doctors declared him brought dead," the KSCA official told PTI.

Johnson, who was known for his pace from a slightly slingy action, took 125 First-Class wickets and 41 List A scalps from 33 matches.

His finest effort in the domestic circuit was a 10 for 152 against Kerala in the Ranji Trophy, and it brought him into national reckoning.

In his prime, Johnson, who played two Tests and 39 First-Class matches, was the member of a formidable Karnataka bowling unit that also featured Anil Kumble, Javagal Srinath, Venkatesh Prasad and Dodda Ganesh.

"It is shocking news as we had played together from our tennis cricket days for a club called Jai Karnataka," Ganesh, also a former India pacer and Johnson's long-time friend, told PTI.

He fondly recalled their time together on the field.

"Later we played together for the state and the country. That Karnataka bowling attack was the Indian bowling attack for a long time."

"In fact, six members from the state, including Rahul Dravid, were in the India squad at the same time. I doubt any other state has managed that feat," said Ganesh.

Legendary leg-spinner Anil Kumble condoled his one-time teammate's death.

"Saddened to hear of the passing of my cricketing colleague David Johnson. Heartfelt condolences to his family. Gone too soon 'Benny'," Kumble wrote on X.

BCCI secretary Jay Shah too extended his condolences to the bereaved family.

"Deepest condolences to family and friends of our former Indian fast bowler David Johnson. His contributions to the game will always be remembered," Shah wrote on X.

Former India opener Gautam Gambhir, who was recently interviewed for the post of India men's team's head coach, also shared his emotions.

"Saddened by the passing away of David Johnson. May god give strength to his family and loved ones," Gambhir wrote on X.

While Johnson remained an affable person and cherished teammate, his keen interest in horse racing as an owner and aficionado often landed him in financial turmoil.

Johnson had to find some odd jobs to make both ends meet, and he also relocated to Chennai for better tidings at one point.

After becoming into a recluse in the later part of his life, Johnson was brought back to the cricketing circles, courtesy the initiatives of former India player and KSCA secretary Brijesh Patel.

In fact, Patel had given him a chance to compete in the Karnataka Premier League, now rebranded as the KSCA Maharaja Trophy T20, in 2009 for the Belagavi Panthers.

It was Patel's intervention that landed him a job as a BCCI match official for domestic matches.

Later, Patel also provided the pacer another chance to compete in the 2015 edition of the KPL, his last year in competitive cricket.

His international career was rather short, ending after two Tests -- one each against Australia at Feroze Shah Kotla and South Africa at Durban -- and three wickets.

But those three wickets were of top-class batters -- Michael Slater, Herschelle Gibbs and Brian MacMillan.

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