(As years have passed, the ever so loved game of the world “Cricket” has reached its peak as it is played with pure passion, pride and intense energy. It has been 130 years since an all Parsee team reached the shores of England to play cricket…Celebrating this grand occasion at Parsee Gymkhana, the first edition of the‘The 1886 Trophy’ emerged a hit amongst top renowned personalities from the cricketing arena, ex Parsee cricketers, umpires and all who attended this grand event. CricFit author and Sports Media Specialist Binaisha M. Surti not only covered the event but was also the “Cricket Commentator for the entire match” and anchored the “Post Match Presentation Ceremony”.)
The comparative experience of the 1886 tour between the English and Parsee cricketers was note-worthy. Whilst the Parsees had played no international cricket at all, England had already played 7 series against Australia by the time the Parsees had arrived in the year 1886. Back then the team consisted of 15 players which was captained by Dr. Dhunjeeshaw Patel. Of the 28 matches, the Parsees lost 19, drew 8 and won 1 against Normanhurst in a one day limited overs fixture.
Come 2016, the golden days of the sport were thus revived again as Parsee Gymkhana took on the British Business X1 in an exciting contest at the Parsee Gymkhana Grounds. The main sponsors of the tournament were Spenta, HSBC and Glenfiddich. Indeed it was payback time as India in the form of the Parsees looked to outplay their rivals… team England, the British Business X1. The rules of the game stated that it would be a 30 over per side match as six balls were bowled per over. The match was played with the red ball. Instead of using ball counters, the umpires used marbles. 15 players could bat while a maximum a bowler could bowl was 5 overs. A batsman would have to retire out after scoring 50 runs. There were no fielding restrictions. Numerous renowned personalities from the cricketing arena attended this grand event.
The morning began with some delicious Parsee style breakfast after which both teams assembled for the photo session. Followed by which the toss was conducted by Binaisha M. Surti as both team skippers Kaizad Wadia (Parsee Gymkhana) and Matt Greenwell (British Business X1) took the field along with Mehli Golvala (President of Parsee Gymkhana), Aspan Cooper (Chairman of Spenta Group of Companies), Stuart Milne (CEO of HSBC), Collin Wells (Head of Mission U.K Government, Mumbai) with umpires J.C. Umrigar and Rohinton Mistry.
On a bright sunny morning it was British Business X1 who won the toss and elected to field. The pitch looked like a great batting wicket though.After the toss, both England and India’s national anthems were played. Finally…the stage was set for the big game as the umpires, J.C Umrigar and Rohinton Mistry walked out in the middle. The opening pair from Parsee Gymkhana (PG) was Mac Spencer and Kaizad Wadia. Both of them started off in a great fashion, building pressure on the opposition team. Though Mac was caughton 37 runs…the team skipper Kaizad Wadia led from the front and continued his stay at the crease. Maneck Daruwalla was the number 3 batsman who joined Wadia at the crease. Both of them together took the attack back to the opposition as they hammered boundaries and sixes. Kaizad finally had to return back to the pavilion after scoring a great 50 runs of 43 deliveries, slamming 10 fours while Maneck Daruwalla too remained unbeaten on 52 runs, as he hit 9 fours and 1 big maximum out of the park.
The next batsmen in the form of Kersi Pavri, Fredun De Vitre and Neville Irani got starts but could not convert them into big scores. Towards the latter end, Behram Kotwal stood like a wall for team Parsee Gymkhana as he hammered 8 fours in the process of reaching his 48 runs of 28 balls. Yazdi Kutky remained not out in the end on 12 runs. Parsee Gymkhana finished off with 269 runs in 30 overs, thus setting the opposition a mammoth total to chase down. The team looked solid right from the very beginning, the players showed good understanding as they ran between the wickets. From the very beginning they looked to get a massive score on the board. The whole idea was to bat big and thus bat the opposition out of the game. During the lunch interval Parsee Cuisine was served to everyone by Parsee Gymkhana.
In reply, the British Business X1 knew that they had to play carefully and not lose any early wickets. PG’s bowling was indeed very tight and that in turn put a lot of pressure on the British Business X1 batsmen. Rob Oates was bowled on 25 runs. On the other hand, Tom Cilder played a scintillating knock and reached his 50 runs.Their skipper Matt Greenwell was unlucky to get out early on. George Oborne departed for a mere 6 runs after being given out LBW. None of the other Englishmen got going. It was Ed who scored 38 runs towards the end but was bowled. They collapsed like a pack of cards and could never recover from there on. All the PG bowlers responded very well to the game plan picking up wickets and were supported by the fielders too. Mac Spenser finished off with figures of 3/24 while Kersi Pavri picked up 4/20 in his 5 over spell.
Parsee Gymkhana were the better team on the given day and outplayed their rivals in every department. In the end Parsee Gymkhana were crowned champions of the first edition of “The 1886 Trophy” as they won the match by 68 runs at the Parsee Gymkhana Grounds.
The Post Match Presentation Ceremony was conducted by Binaisha M. Surti. The esteemed dignitaries on the dais were Mehli Golvala (President of Parsee Gymkhana), Nari Contractor (Ex India Captain), Farokh Engineer (Ex Indian Cricketer), Aspan Cooper (Chairman of Spenta Group of Companies), Farshid Cooper (Managing Director Spenta Group of Companies), Professor Dr. Unmesh Khanvilkar (Joint Honorary Secretary MCA), Professor Ratnakar Shetty (General Manager Game Development, BCCI ), Nitin Dalal (Honorary Treasurer MCA), Stuart Milne (CEO of HSBC and Chairman of the British Business Group) and Rusi Cooper. Further, Mehli Golvala and Adi Pardiwalla (Joint Honorary Secretary of Parsee Gymkhana) gave flowers to the dignitaries on the dais after which the esteemed presentation party enlightened the audience with a few words.
A felicitation ceremony was conducted for the Parsee Cyclists Players. Hoshang Dadachanji spoke a few words on the legendary Farokh Engineer after which he was felicitated by Nari Contractor. Ronnie Iranpur further spoke about the great man Noshir Tantra and he too was felicitated by Contractor. Last but not the least, Keki Govadia was felicitated but was not present.
Parsee Gymkhana was extremely happy to confer an Honorary Membership to the great Diana Edulji. She has represented India in cricket and was known as the Bishan Singh Bedi of women’s cricket. Along with that she played in 3 World Cup’s and captained the women’s team in 2 of them. Later, the umpires J.C. Umrigar and Rohinton Mistry, the scorer Ganesh Mangaonkar and Physiotherapist Anuradha Rakhonde too were given a token of appreciation for all their hard work throughout the day.
Mementoes were given to the runner up team, British Business X1 by Mehli Golvala. While Stuart Milne handed out mementoes to the winning team Parsee Gymkhana. Both captains of the teams addressed one and all. The Man of the Match was awarded to Mac Spencer for his outstanding effort. Finally the moment had arrived where Farokh Engineer, Nari Contractor and the Spenta Group handed over the big trophy to Parsee Gymkhana, the winning side in this contest. The vote of thanks was given by Khodadad Yazdegardi (Vice President and Cricket Secretary of Parsee Gymkhana).
Since the first edition of ‘The 1886 Trophy’ was held in India, the next edition in all likelihood will be held in England next year.