Play and learn with joy, says Sunil Gavaskar

Legendary batsman says club cricket is the life and soul of the game.

Sunil Gavaskar during the prize distribution ceremony of Kapesh Koli Under-16 cricket tournament in Matunga. Photo: Emmanual Yogini

Sunil Gavaskar was thrilled to be at the Dadar Parsee Zoroastrian Cricket Club and New Hind Sports Club, both located at the Major Ramesh Dadkar Maidan, popularly known as the Matunga Gymkhana ground and passed on some pearls of cricketing wisdom too.

A familiar territory for the little master who spent a lot of time in his nascent club days, playing for the most famous of the five clubs, Dadar Union, at the same maidan, Gavaskar graced two events — first, inaugurating the Hemant Waingankar Abhyasikhaa (Reading Room at the DPZCC) and then, presenting trophies to the winners of the Kalpesh Govind Koli Memorial Cricket Tournament.

The Reading Room at the DPZCC is meant for underprivileged students of Municipal Schools in the area around Matunga. Mangesh Bhalekar, recipient of the State and National award, said the students are given free coaching and allowed to study even during night time.

Read: 'We need to concentrate on our brand of cricket'

As soon as he entered the DPZCC, once known as ‘Jhopdi’ (hut), Gavaskar was probably surprised to know that most of the students were still in their single-digit years. And he straightaway highlighted the importance of joy while playing cricket and studying. “Play cricket as a game and with joy. You make friends in your team as well as the opponents, for lifetime. Do the same while studying... take as much joy from it,’’ Gavaskar said.

'Play with happiness'

India’s legendary batsman also said that club cricket is vital for the growth of a cricketer. “Club cricket is the life and soul of the game. A cricketer becomes big only because of club cricket. If it is not there, the player won’t become big. Even I started the same way. After school, I played for Dadar Union, then, when I made runs for the club, I got a chance to go ahead. Play matches passionately, as you have to win, but play with happiness.”

At the prize distribution at the adjacent club, host Prasanna Sant introduced Gavaskar, recalling his cricketing achievements. “I must compliment Junior Sant for introducing me. At most functions, they say, I don’t need any introduction. But after retirement, people tend to forget. Proper introduction is necessary.”

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