ACA felicitates its stars

ICC chief N. Srinivasan presenting a memento to (From left) Former Indian skipper Anil Kumble, BCCI Secretary Sanjay Patel, ACA Secretary G. Gangaraju and the Interim President of the BCCI, Shivlal Yadav, look on.-K.R.DEEPAK ICC chief N. Srinivasan presenting a memento to (From left) Former Indian skipper Anil Kumble, BCCI Secretary Sanjay Patel, ACA Secretary G. Gangaraju and the Interim President of the BCCI, Shivlal Yadav, look on.

The diamond jubilee celebrations of the Andhra Cricket Association were held in Visakhapatnam recently. Cash awards totalling Rs. 2.20 crore were given away to 108 cricketers, past and present, who represented ACA in first class cricket.

The oldest man to receive the plaque was Gopanna, 83, who played Andhra’s first Ranji Trophy match along with Col. C. K. Nayudu against Mysore in Bangalore in 1953 and the youngest was Ricky Bhui, 19, who made his first-class debut last year. Venkateshwar Singh, son of late Sir Vizzy (Maharaja of Vizianagaram) was the special guest.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) chief N. Srinivasan hailed ACA’s commitment in sprucing up quality infrastructure in its jurisdiction. “Both ACA general secretary Gokaraju Ganga Raju and Director (Cricketing Operations) M. S. K. Prasad have ambitious plans and it is good to be ambitious. Such an attitude will benefit the game and I am sure it will enhance the bench strength of the Indian cricket team in the future. ACA is moving in the right direction and the results will start trickling soon,” he said.

Srinivasan said that the BCCI was cash rich and had always allotted sufficient funds to the affiliated units, for the development of the game. “Good infrastructure will provide good cricketers,” he pointed out.

He said the ACA-VDCA Stadium in Visakhapatnam will be accorded Test status soon and it was only a matter of time. The stadium was already inspected by a team of BCCI officials comprising IPL Governing council Chairman Ranjib Biswal, legendary cricketer G. R. Viswanath, and BCCI General Manager M. V. Sridhar and they had suggested some modifications to the facilities.

Octogenarian D. V. Subba Rao, ACA President, instead of talking about administration, preferred to share his memories as manager of the Indian team to West Indies in the mid-1990s. Much to the delight of former Indian cricketers V. V. S. Laxman, Anil Kumble and Javagal Srinath, who were present as guests of honour at the event, he shared some lighter moments especially with regard to food.

“Food has always been a problem for vegetarians on the Caribbean tour. Many graduates of the Andhra Medical College, who had settled in the Isles, came forward and took care of our vegetarian players by offering them sumptuous breakfast and dinner. Sometimes, even Azharuddin, a die-hard non-vegetarian, would quietly join to enjoy the rasam, sambar, idlies and dosas,” Rao said, amidst laughter.

J. R. Shridharan