(The glory of sport comes from dedication, determination and desire. Achieving success and personal glory in cricket has less to do with wins and losses than it does with learning how to prepare oneself so that at the end of the day, whether on the track or in the field…one knows that there was nothing more one could have done to reach their ultimate goal. Parsees always played cricket in the true spirit of the game, had fun and respected the sport for all it gave them. CricFit author and Sports Media Specialist Binaisha M. Surti brings to you exclusive highlights of the 1886 Trophy Tournament that took place at the Parsee Gymkhana Grounds.)
Going back in history, after a 3 week sea voyage…the Parsees played their first match of the 1886 tour at Sheffield against the Earl of Sheffield’s X1. The man who bowled the first ball ever in Test Cricket, Alfred Shaw played for Sheffield X1. Further, the 1886 team consisted of an all Parsee unit and had Dr Dhunjeeshaw Patel leading the side. The other team members included Bomanji Baria, Jamsetji Morenas, Ardeshir Limboowala, Muncherji Framji, Mancherjee Banaji, Shapurjee Bhedwar, Ardeshir Major, Pirojshaw Major, Jamasji Pochkhanavala, Sorabji Bejonji, SorabjiHarvar, Dinshaw Khambatta, Pestonji Dastur and Burjorji Balla. The Parsees played 28 matches, of which they lost 19, drew 8 and won 1 against Normanhurst in a one day limited overs fixture.
From here on the Parsees never looked back and continued their foothold in the sport of cricket and excelled to a great extent. Since then a number of Parsees have played Test Cricket for India like Soli Colah, Piloo Palia, Rustomji Jamshedji, Kharshed Meherhomji, Jamshed Irani, Rusi Modi, Keki Tarapore, Polly Umrigar, Nari Contractor, Rusi Surti, Farokh Engineer and Diana Edulji. It won’t be too long since we see another set of talented young guns enter the cricketing world. These were the great legends who inspired several others to take up the sport and continue to do so even today.
Coming back to the present on 12th November 2016, when the Parsees faced the Englishmen in yet another great clash, they definitely looked to turn things around. After 130 years history was once again re- created…but this time by the Parsee Gymkhana team who outplayed rivals British Business X1 by 68 runs. The match was enjoyed by one and all. Numerous great personalities like Nari Contractor, Farokh Engineer, Sudhir Naik, Ajit Wadekar, Dilip Vengsarkar, Milind Rege, Diana Edulji, Dr.Makarand Waingankar, Nitin Dalal, Professor Dr.Unmesh Khanvilkar, Ganesh Iyer, Professor Ratnakar Shetty, Hoshang Dadachanji, Piloo Reporter, Noshir Tantra, Rusi Cooper,Adille Sumariwalla, BomiJamula, Arvind Kadam, Umesh Kulkarni, Vilas Godbole, Kekoo Nicholson, Zakaullah Siddique,Rizwana Punjani, Pradeep Kasliwal and Dinshaw Mehta attended this one of a kind grand affair at the Parsee Gymkhana Grounds. What an honour it was for each one of them to be a part of this historic extravaganza.
People from far and wide graced this occasion. Rony Iranpur came to play the game all the way from Los Angeles while Freddy Sidhwa flew down from Dubai to be a part of the first edition of ‘The 1886 Trophy’. Post the match speaking exclusively to CricFit Rony Iranpur said “I initially played soccer, table tennis, and badminton. Further during summer break, the seniors had organized a cricket tour and we would play a lot of tennis ball cricket during those days. Before I knew, long white pants and cricket shoes were a must. That is how I took to the sport. The 1886 Trophy was a massive tournament with good fun, which in turn brought the Parsees together. We showed great team spirit and it was a big win for us. I have played cricket at so many places, but it is nothing compared to playing at the Parsee Gymkhana Grounds.”
Freddy Sidhwa shared with us “I have been playing for 30 years now. We had our team Seven Seas Strikers playing in the UAE circuit. We won quite a number of trophies. I have plenty of Man of the Match awards back home in Dubai. I go to so many places like South Africa, London and Australia to play cricket. This year we also played at Lords. My team captain was Andrew Strauss. Kumar Sangakkara and Darren Sammy also played. What a memorable moment it was when I picked up the wicket of Brendon McCullum.”
Further speaking about the 1886 Trophy, “I love the game so much and that is the reason why I flew down for this grand event. It was really great playing with the Parsees here. This is something which I am going to cherish for a long time. Even though I had an injury I did not let that come in the way of me participating. Adding to this Farokh Engineer is a very dear friend and he was there to cheer the side too, so that made it even more special. Today, I am so proud of the fact that I was a part of team Parsee Gymkhana that brought home the coveted trophy.”
A big thumbs up to the sporting British Business X1 team and their skipper Matt Greenwell for coming out and playing this match, thus carving their names in history books. Team Parsee Gymkhana and its captain Kaizaad Wadia too did a commendable job to win the historic encounter.
Tremendous hard work was put in by Khodadad Yazdegardi, Freddy Driver and the entire support staff of Parsee Gymkhana and that in turn made the 1886 Trophy a hit amongst one and all. When CricFit asked Yazdegardi to share his concluding thoughts on this one of a kind event… he summed it up by saying… “It was a nostalgic feeling to recreate history after 130 long years”.