By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | January 24, 2020

It was the Giles Shield U-14 Awards Ceremony at the Cricket Club of India yesterday, January 23, 2020. Swami Vivekanand International High School, Borivli, defeated Al Barkaat Malik Mohd English School, by virtue of their first innings lead. Former India cricketer Dilip Vengsarkar was the Chief Guest and he was giving away the prizes. But before that, he was given the microphone. The Colonel started with a straight drive: “I’m glad that the boys are looking U-14 this year.”

One could hear muffled giggles from the gathering of parents, students, media, Mumbai Cricket Officials and cricket lovers. Vengsarkar then immediately went on to inform the boys about how lucky they were to have the luxury of playing a schools cricket final at the iconic Brabourne Stadium. “I remember in 1972, we played our Giles Shield final at a corner at Azad Maidan, but never mind, it was winning that mattered,” he stated. Looking towards the ‘bulldozer’, Nadim Memon, Cricket Secretary of the Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA) and Managing Committee Member of the MCA, Dilip lauded his efforts of changing the face of schools cricket. Over the past four years, Nadim, with his dedicated support staff, has given a lift to Schools Cricket and a taste for the youngsters to play on ‘international grounds’. “I do hope he also takes over Inter-Collegiate Cricket,” said Dilip. “They now only play T-20 and One-Day matches. I remember, during our time, we had the stands full for our Inter-collegiate matches. We need to get the crowds back. Parents need to come to the matches he said.”

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The media came in for special praise from Dilip Vengsarkar and Nadim Memon for their coverage of schools cricket.

Vengsarkar also thanked Sachin Bajaj, Secretary of the CCI, who allowed both the Harris and Giles Shield finals to be played here. “Work hard, don’t take short-cuts; short-cuts get you nowhere. Be loyal to your team,” he urged the boys. “I played for Dadar Union, Tatas and Mumbai continuously,” he added.

Finally, Vengsarkar thanked the media for their excellent coverage in the newspapers. “It is a big boost for a school cricketer to see his name in the newspapers the next morning.

“I remember whenever I played for my school or college; I would wake up at 5am to check the Times of India to see if my name was mentioned.”

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Nadim Memon, always the one to be on the sidelines, was given the microphone for the Vote of Thanks. He thanked MSSA President Fr Jude Rodrigues for giving him a free hand in running Schools Cricket. He also thanked the MCA Committee Members who were there to cheer the winners at the presentation. “We have our politics but they are here to support cricket,” he said. Memon also thanked Sachin Bajaj and his friends in the media for the support they have been giving schools cricket over the years.

Captain of Al Barkaat, Yaseen, summed up the loss in one line: “We fielded badly. We gave away almost 40 runs in the field.” SVIS skipper, Pranay Kapadia, was profuse in his praise for Aayush Vaity (95) who came in at No 7 with the side reeling at 93/7 in reply to Al Barkaat’s 167. “He saved us the blushes against Rizvi as well,” he said.

From a first class ground, to proper medical back-up to  a dedicated pyhsio on-ground, to sustained media coverage to a meticulously planned Awards Function… Mumbai Schools Cricket indeed has come a long way since 1972, till upto 2015 where the conditions were same as 1972.

Well done MSSA. Well done Nadim Memon; sports in general need selfless administrators like you!

Also Read: A trip down Memon Lane
Also Read: Sack Ajit Agarkar

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