Sunday, April 12, 2009

Unwelcome Rest

The two finalists of the Kohinoor Karandak Tourney- JN Petit and SSPMS will in all probability play the final match after a break of more than a month since they last figured in the semifinals

Suhrid Barua, Pune Mirror, April 6, 2009

Have you seen a tournament be it cricket, football or for that matter any sport, run over close to two months with the break between the semifinals and the final being nearly a month? There are chances that you might have not. But the second edition of the Kohinoor Karandak Inter-School Under-14 Cricket Tournament, organised by the Pune District Cricket Association (PDCA), is an exception.The ‘premier’ under-14 tourney got underway at various venues on February 17 and till the filing of this report, the dates for the final match are yet to be confirmed.

Twelve teams took part in the long-drawn tournament where fifteen matches were held. Remember: the first semifinal tie between SSPMS and Angels School was held on March 10-11 while the second semifinal match between JN Petit and Dyanganga School was staged on March 16-17. It’s been more than three weeks of not-so ‘welcome rest’ for the two finalists - JN Petit and SSPMS. In such a scenario, the slackening of momentum for the two finalists can be a spoiler for both teams as and when they played the title clash.
Ask JN Petit coach Vijay Dalvi and he is supremely confident that the long break between the semis and the final won’t be impediment in their way to clinching the crown. "We’ve proved with our performance that we are the most accomplished team in this tournament. More than three weeks of break between the semifinal and final can be a factor in derailing the momentum, the kind of confidence my boys are enjoying, we are going to wipe our opponents to the floor, mark my words," he remarked.
SSPMS coach Prakash (Anna) Nevrekar says the ‘competitive juice’ can dip if there is such a long break between the semifinals and final. "Definitely, the rhythm of our team will get affected but we can’t do anything about it. Our school are having exams till mid-April while JN Petit are having their exams till April 13. We need to get at least ten days of practice once the exams are over so that we can slip into the competitive mode before the summit clash," he said.

The Pune District Cricket Association conceded that it’s for the first time I their organisational history that the tournament has run for such a long period."It’s hasn’t happened before. We planned to wrap up this event by March 15 but we were forced to run a tourney for more than two months. The main hassle is that too many private tourneys were happening during the course of this tourney and availability of grounds became a problem. Also, schools were having exams which didn’t make our job easy, we are now hoping to have the final in the last week of April at the Vengsarkar Cricket Academy in Thergaon," said PDCA official Yashwant Bhujbal.

Take That

Kedar Jadhav will now have to resign himself to the fate of playing for Bangalore Royal Challengers after latter refused to release him to play for Delhi Daredevils

The ‘problem of plenty’ has turned sour for city lad Kedar Jadhav. The high of being offered a rookie contract by Bangalore Royal Challengers reached a feverish pitch three weeks later when the dashing top-order batsman got a contract with the Delhi Daredevils’ main team. It was then that the script started to unfold the way Kedar probably wouldn’t have desired. The Bangalore Royal Challengers refused to release Kedar so that he could play for Delhi Daredevils.Mind you, a rookie contract implies that Kedar would be part of the BRC team with little or no chance of getting a look-in in the playing eleven.

To be fair to Kedar, any cricketer in his shoes would have acted the way he has - opt for a main team contract rather than settle for a rookie contract. It’s just that the timing which has complicated matters. Interestingly, Kedar signed a ‘consent letter’ at Bangalore but is yet to receive the main contract. So, what’s the road ahead for Kedar? "Kedar will have to stay with Bangalore Royal Challengers this season. His contract is arriving in a few days time," said MCA president Ajay Shirke.

It is widely learned that Bangalore Royal Challengers has asked for a financial compensation of Rs 20 lakh from to release Kedar for Delhi Daredevils. Is MCA in the know of it? "I’ve no comments to make on the same," Shirke offered a straight bat.It’s not clear whether the financial compensation was asked from MCA or from Delhi Daredevils. So, what is Delhi Daredevils' TN Sekar has to say on the same?

"Players like Kedar must show more maturity in future. Kedar is an exciting talent, so it’s unfortunate to see an innocent boy like him miss out playing in our main team because he first signed up with Bangalore Royal Challengers.Is he aware of the financial compensation demanded by BRC? "I don’t want to get into that," he played safe. To top it all, Kedar has been included in the MCA Blue team for the MCA Open Invitational Super League.

Playing Price

Maharashtra Ranji seamer Wahid Sayyed and Rajasthan Royals playerParag More took part in the recently-held Aurangabad Premier Leaguewhere several ICL players plied their skills

Suhrid Barua, Pune Mirror, March 27, 2009

Maharashtra Ranji seamer Wahid Sayyed is poised to be ‘barred’ fromplaying for the State after he ‘played’ in the recently-held LokmatAuran-gabad Premier League in which four players from the rebel IndianCricket League (ICL) – three former Maharash-tra Ranji players RanjitKhirid, Dhiraj Jadhav Suyash Burkul and Raviraj Patil alsoparticipated.

Remember, Wahid Sayyed was one of the main wicket-takers forMaharash-tra in his debut Ranji season in 2006-07, wherein he bagged16 wickets at an average of 28,62, but his career nos-edived in2008-09 season, as he strug-gled to find a regular berth in the Stateside.
To make his cup of woes full, Wahid found his name on the BCCI’s listof bowlers having suspect action. And tha was primarily the reason whyhe was kept out of the playing eleven for most part of the2008-09-season - he only figured in only one game against Baroda wherehe was clobbered around (9-0-52-0 in I Innings and 4.5-0-28-1 in IIInnings).

The only saving grace for Wahid in the 2008-09 season wasthe dogged 53-run tenth-wicket stand he forged with Mondeep Mangelaagainst Baroda that allowed Maharash-tra to swell their first inningsform being 175 for 9 to 228 all out.Interestingly, Wahid’s name was missing from the list of 26 seniorteam probables announced by MCA , who would no longer be required toplay in the MCA Invitational League as the emphasis is more on sendingthese boys on overseas exposure tours.

While Wahid has lots to lose follow-ing his participation in theAuran-gabad Premier League for Sanya United, there is anothercricketer who could see trouble brewing at his end.Parag More who plays for United Cricket Club in the MCA OpenInvita-tional League, is also part of a IPL team - Rajasthan Royalsand his participa-tion in the Aurangabad Premier League couldjeopardise his chances of playing in the second edition of the multimil-lion-dollar league. Parag turned out for Navjeevan Life Care inthe APL tour-ney.

"BCCI has laid down strict instruc-tions that any players taking partin tournaments ‘unauthorised’ and ‘unapproved’ by the board will bebanned for life. Both this players you have mentioned have taken partin a tournament where four ICL players from the state have alsoplayed, so both will stand to be barred from playing for Maharashtra,"quipped MCA president Ajay Shirke.

Shirke said the state association has been doing all it can to makeits play-ers aware of which tournaments to play and which not to. "Notjust the state body, even the district cricket as-sociations have beenregularly coun-selling our boys about which tourneys to play and whichnot to. Even after all this counselling, if players act smart and playin ‘unapproved’ tourna-ments, they should be ready to face theconsequences," he reasoned.

Talking specifically about Wahid, does he think that daftness on thepart of the lanky bowler would mean state miss the services of atalented bowler? "Not at all. We’ve enough in our tank to atone forthat. Wahid has got a sus-pect bowling action and that is why we arewary about playing him in the eleven last season," he said.Clearly, life will not be the same for Wahid after two contrastingseasons with the State Ranji side, while for Parag More, the joy ofplaying in the Rajasthan Royals can just become a dampener.

Proud Feeling

Maharashtra keeper Rohit Motwani recalls with pride how he didn’t concede a bye in his Ranji debut when Tamil Nadu openers raised over 400 runs for the 1st wicket

Suhrid Barua, Pune Miror March 23, 2009

Wicketkeeping can be a thankless job for you hardly get noticed if you maintain a clean slate (not drop catches or concede byes). It’s a job that grab maximum eyeballs when you put down a chance or in other words dish out a sloppy performance behind the stumps.But, there are also highs associated with wicketkeeping. For example, if a keeper doesn’t concede a bye when the oppostion has stacked up a huge first innings score, it can be quite a creditable achievement.

Maharashtra Ranji wicketkeeper Rohit Motwani sports a broad grin when you try ask him about that magnificent effort of not conceding a bye in his Ranji debut against Tamil Nadu in their 2008-09 Ranji Trophy opener at Nashik, when Tamil Nadu’s opening duo had raised a massive 425-run stand. “I’ve vivid memories of that game, it was my debut tie. Tamil Nadu openers - Murali Vijay and Abhinav Mukund stitched together 462 runs for the first wicket, 425 of which were scored by them with me not conceding a bye. In fact, when they closed out day one at 377 for no loss, I felt highly satisfied because it’s not often that a keeper doesn’t concede a bye when the opposition runs up a score in excess of 400,” recounts Motwani, who gave further evidence of his promise, smacking a strokefilled 114 for Maharashtra 1 in a practice tie at Poona Club on Wednesday.

It’s a different matter altogether that Motwani’s feat is far off the world Test record of a keeper not conceding a bye in a highest innings total, held by Zimbabwe Tatendu Taibu (when Sri Lanka posted 713/3 decl at Bulawayo, in May 2004).The 18-year-old BMCC first year student believes any gloveman would be filled with pride when if a single bye is not conceded when a team racks up a a huge score.

“It’s not about me, even greats like Adam Gilchrist, Mark Boucher would be proud with such kind of efforts,” said the Aund lad, who also broke the jinx of not getting a century in his last twenty-odd innings. “I’ve been getting starts but not quite able to translate them into big one. I used to get out in the forties a lot, and this ton will give me loads of confidence to maintain the consis-tency of getting the hundred and not to content with 30s, 40s and 50s,” remarked the youngster who incidentally had his batting best of 42 against Baroda.

Motwani’s first full stint with the State Ranji side (he played in all the six games this season) has evoked hope of Maharashtra finding a wick-etkeeper for the future. Remember, Maharashtra employed two keepers -Yogesh Takawale and Satyajit Satbhai for the Ranji 2006-07 season and Vishant More and Sunil Jadhav for the 2007-08 season but in Mot-wani, the State would hopefully find the stability it’s looking for.

Umpiring Duo

Meet uncle Arvind Shivale and nephew Hrishikesh Shivale, who have beenofficiating together in PDCA matches for four years now

Suhrid Barua, Pune Mirror, March 21, 2009

It may be a routine affair to see two of them walk out to the wicket,donning the white coat or sometimes with the white shirt. Yes, theyare umpires but they have that not-so-common streak about that.Meet 57-year-old Arvind Shivale and his nephew 27-year-old HrishikeshShivale, who have ensured that umpir-ing is kept alive in the Shivale household.

Uncle Arvind is a vastly experi-enced umpire and is theyounger brother of Hrishikesh’s father Shankar Shivale. And theuncle-nephew combo make an interesting watch every time they officiatein a match.Uncle’s introductionArvind was one of the founding members of the Poona District CricketAssociation (PDCA) and it was the ‘big’ uncle who introduced hisnephew into umpiring, and the family duo has stood in seventy-fivematches in the past four years.Arvind, who has officiated in over 500 matches in last ten years,never imagined that the guy who was teaching the nuances of umpiringwould get an opportunity to officiate together one day.

“I encouragedHrishikesh into umpiring as he was keen to take it up. He’s a quicklearner and keen observer and that held him in good stead. But I neverthought at the time, when he started umpiring, that we would one dayofficiate to-gether, “ says Arvind, who also coaches the Ness WadiaJunior and Senior College teams.

What about competition between them as to who is the best? “As anuncle, I try to help him in whatever way I can and I have never seenofficiating with him as any kind of ‘competition’. He has a longlearning rope ahead of him.”Hrishikesh on his part, says umpiring with his uncle has made him againer in more ways than one. “Every game I officiate with my uncle,is a learning experience for me. I’ve into it (umpiring) for only fouryears and I know very well that I’ve a long way to go. My uncle is astorehouse of umpir-ing knowledge and he’s always there to help meout,” Hrishikesh is effusive in praise of his uncle.

Hrishikesh, who has cleared the PDCA umpires’ test, is itching forthat day when he and his uncle would get the lip-smacking opportunityto offici-ate in a Ranji Trophy. “It’s not going to be easy,”Hrishikesh insists.“Every person has the right to dream and realise that. I hope my uncleand I would get the chance to stand in a Ranji Trophy in the future.I’m keep-ing my fingers crossed,” he wrapped up on a sanguine note.

Not happening for now

MCA postpones senior team’s tour of Sri Lanka
Suhrid Barua, Pune Mirror, March 16, 2009

The Maharashtra Cricket Association has postponed its plans to send its senior team for an exposure tour of Sri Lanka later this month, after the SL board voiced its unwillingness to host the State team because of its hectic domestic cricket season. "We were supposed to undertake a trip to the Emerald Isle from March 16 till the end of this month. The tour was to comprise two three day matches and three one-day games to be played against their ‘A’ side, but the Sri Lankan board informed us of their inability to host us primarily because of their ‘busy’ domestic season which prompted us to put off the tour for the time being," said MCA Tournament Committee Chairman Riyaz Bagwan.

Interestingly, last year, MCA had sent its senior team for a similar exposure to Sri Lanka in the month of June. Given that, what was MCA’s line of thinking behind mulling a tour to Sri Lanka in March as they were in the know that their domestic cricket season would be in full swing? Bagwan says the move to facilitate a tour of Sri Lanka in March was necessitated only because of the postponement of the West Zone All-India T20 Tournament, which was scheduled to be held in the city from the last week of March to the first week of April. "
After the West Zone All-India T20 Tournament got postponed until next season, we felt that our senior team wouldn’t have much cricket to play in March, so we though that it would be a worthwhile idea to give our boys some foreign exposure as our domestic season was at its fag end, so we zeroed in on sending our team to Sri Lanka," he explains.

The MCA Tournament Committee Chairman says they are now working on the modalities on having the tour sometime in June. "The Sri Lankan domestic season will conclude in the end of April. In May, monsoon is at its peak there, and the Sri Lankan team will be going on a tour of Bangladesh around that time. We are constantly talking to our Sri Lankan counterparts and are pretty hopeful of the tour materialising in June," Bagwan exuded optimism.

The postponement of the Sri Lankan tour has meant that the state boys had to work out a hurriedly-made schedule of four practice matches (two-day affair) between Maharashtra 1 and Maharashtra 2, to be played every Wednesday and Thursday, the first of which kicked off last week when Maharashtra 1 won by virtue of their first innings lead at Poona Club.