The importance of club cricket was the central theme in the ‘Bangalore United Cricket Club (BUCC) – Night of Champions’ event held here, on the occasion of BUCC’s centenary celebration.
BUCC president Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, K.L. Rahul, Karun Nair, Roger Binny, Syed Kirmani and others — from across clubs — spoke about the strong bonds they share with their clubs.
Venkatesh Prasad, Sujith Somasunder, Vijay Bharadwaj, Gundappa Viswanath, Sadanand Viswanath, Mayank Agarwal, Stuart Binny, historian and Friends Union CC loyalist Ramachandra Guha, BUCC Secretary Shavir Tarapore, KSCA office bearers Sanjay Desai, Santosh Menon and Sudhakar Rao were some of the dignitaries present.
Rahul Dravid: " I remember playing a first division match for BUCC, at BEL grounds, when I was 16. I had my (age-group) inter-state matches coming up after that. I was handed the ‘keeping gloves for BUCC, despite my team boasting of two of the best ‘keepers in the world — Syed Kirmani and Sadanand Viswanath. Both of them felt that it was important for me to get exposure ahead of the inter-state matches. This incident encapsulates the spirit that was at the core of my club cricket experience.
One of my earliest memories of club cricket was playing a fifth division match for BUCC, with S. Mahendra as my captain. I had never seen anyone spin the ball as much as Mahendra sir. Here I was, a school kid, thinking ’Wow! The ball spins so much, How can I possibly bat at this level?"
Anil Kumble: "Back in my day, there was a feeling that if you wanted to play for the state, you had to play for bigger clubs like BUCC or Swastic Union CC. But I strongly believed that if I could take wickets and score runs, it won’t matter which club I play for. That’s why I stuck with Young Cricketers; I was loyal to the club.
Back then, scoring was the first thing you learnt when you joined a club. I used to travel from Jayanagar to the ITI ground in either a cycle or bus, and then take over the scorebook. (K.L.) Rahul and Karun (Nair) might know how to score, but if you give a scorebook to the next generation, they may not know what to do with it."
K.L. Rahul: "When I joined BUCC as a teenager, there were already many state players in the club. It was a big learning experience for someone like me, having moved to Bangalore from Mangalore. I too did my share of scoring and other tasks. In Mangalore, I had to nail and sweep the mats before having a bat. But you cannot expect modern-day youngsters to do the same. If facilities are readily available for use, they are better off focusing on their cricket."
Karun Nair: "Fazal (Khaleel) spotted me at 14, and gave me a chance (to make my first division debut for Wadiyar CC). I didn’t have to do scoring and other tasks. My journey started very smoothly."
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