Sanjay Dobal, popular member of Delhi cricket family, falls prey to pandemic

Sanjay Dobal, 53, is survived by his wife and two sons – Siddanth, who plays first-class cricket for Rajasthan, and Ekansh, who made his debut for Delhi’s U-23 team last year.

Sanjay Dobal, a popular club cricketer known for his affable nature and infectious smile, and who was part of the support staff of the Delhi U-16 team that became national champion in 2012, passed away at the Capital’s Venkateshwar Hospital on Monday morning due to Covid-19-related complications. Dobal, 53, is survived by his wife and two sons – Siddanth, who plays first-class cricket for Rajasthan, and Ekansh, who made his debut for Delhi’s U-23 team last year.

Dobal, an Air India employee and coach of their cricket team, was on duty at the Terminal 3 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport when he developed fever and fatigue on June 12. The family admitted him to Jeevanjyoti Nursing Home in Bahadurgarh, Haryana, where he also began complaining of breathing problems.

“As his condition began to deteriorate, the nursing home asked us to shift him to a bigger hospital in Delhi with better facilities. So, we admitted him to the Venkateshwar Hospital on June 16. Upon arrival, he was tested for Covid-19, but the results were negative. So he was transferred to the ICU and treated for pneumonia and parainfluenza,” Siddanth told The Indian Express.

The following week, the hospital conducted another Covid-19 test on Dobal, which also returned negative. “However, when they conducted a third test on June 25, he was declared Covid positive and immediately shifted to the Covid ICU ward,” Siddanth said.

When contacted, Dr Raman Sharma, Senior Consultant (internal medicine), the chief medical officer who was treating Dobal, said: “Sanjay Dobal succumbed due to Covid-19-related complications. When he was tested positive three days ago, we began administering him with the US FDA-approved drug Remdesivir and plasma therapy. We were hopeful of a recovery, because he was a sportsman. But since there isn’t a proper response protocol for Covid-19 in place, this is the best that we could have done. On Monday morning, when he failed to respond to our treatment, he died of a cardiac arrest.”

Pall of gloom

An immensely popular figure at the Ferozshah Kotla, Dobal’s death brought a pall of gloom in Delhi’s cricketing fraternity. Two days ago, former India cricketers Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir took to Twitter, appealing for plasma donors for Dobal. Delhi cricketers remember him as a gentle and affable soul, who was also an ardent Shirdi Sai Baba devotee. By Monday afternoon, as news of Dobal’s death trickled in, current and former cricketers offered their condolences.

“Shocked and saddened. Lost an important member of our cricket fraternity today. Sanjay Dobhal bhai (53) is no more. There isn’t a cricketer in this country who he didn’t help…and did it with a smile. Always. Went away too soon…may your soul R.I.P. #Covid_19,” tweeted former India opener Aakash Chopra.

Delhi opener Hiten Dalal remembered Dobal’s positivity and eagerness to help young and upcoming cricketers. “Sanjay sir was always positive. He emphasised the need to have a steady job even while playing competitive cricket. Sanjay sir would always tell me, ‘Air India mein vacancy nikalta hain to batata hoon, job ke liye apply karna’,” Dalal recalled. “I’m really devastated by sir’s demise. More than anything, I will miss his smile,” he concluded.

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