Former Scotland captain Con de Lange dies age 38

Former Scotland captain Con de Lange has tragically died at just 38 years of age. De Lange was diagnosed with a brain tumour late in 2017 after falling ill while on tour.

De Lange, who also represented Northamptonshire in English County cricket, was a talented all-rounder. A right-handed batsman and left-arm orthodox bowler, he was born in South Africa and debuted as a first-class cricketer in 1998, aged just 17, for Boland, a team based in the South African province of Western Cape.

After a long first-class career in South Africa, de Lange first made the move to English County cricket in 2012, and represented Northamptonshire during the 2012 season. After close to two decades of first-class cricket, he became a major part of Scotland's development into an ICC Full Member, ultimately captaining them to their first international victory in 2017 – he hit the winning runs as his team chased down 287 against the Sri Lankans.

In all he played 21 international matches for Scotland – 13 ODIs and eight T20Is. With the bat he averaged only 20.50 in the 50-over format and 11.66 in the 20 over game, though he fared significantly better than the ball, taking 16 wickets at 23.18 in ODIs while conceding just 4.07 runs per over – this included a career best 5/60, which came against Zimbabwe and led Scotland to its first ever win against an ICC Member. In the shortest form of the game, he took eight wickets at 21.37 while conceding 6.33 runs per over.

Late in 2017, de Lange began missing games after what was cited as 'severe migraine headaches'. It wasn't until late in 2018 that Cricket Scotland confirmed that he had a brain tumour which he had been battling for the ten months prior.

De Lange is survived by two children and his wife Claire, with whom he set up the 'Brain Tumour Charity' in memory of a friend of his who had died from the disease. The de Lange's raised money for the foundation by organising walks.

His death has resulted in an outpouring of grief, with numerous members of the cricketing world taking to social media to pay their respects to de Lange. Herschelle Gibbs said he was a 'lovely cricketer but what a lovely guy!', while former South African captain Graeme Smith called it 'hard to comprehend'. Other former international cricketing legends to pay homage included Jacques Kallis and Ashley Giles.

Many of the comments demonstrated the impact de Lange had on others as a person – he has been referred to as 'the biggest fighter with the kindest heart', 'a warrior', 'fine cricketer, hero of a man, funny chap and all-round lovely guy', and 'one of the greatest blokes you will ever meet'.

His former South African first-class side, the Cape Cobras, also released a statement sending their condolences, while Northamptonshire stated that 'Con was highly respected wherever he played around the cricketing world, and was regarded as a mentor and a role model by some of the younger generation of Scottish cricketers'.

De Lange's life may have been tragically cut short, but it's clear he left a significant mark on the world, both on field as he played a major role in the development of cricket in Scotland, and more importantly off field, where he has evidently touched the lives of many. May he rest in peace.

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