Carving his own identity

Till the other day, when Jaideep Sinh Parmar was introduced to someone, it would definitely be mentioned that he was a grand nephew of Raj Singh Dungarpur, the former president of the BCCI and a two-time National selector.

Immensely inspired by the stories from India’s cricketing history, narrated by his grand uncle, Jaideep spent the better part of his teen years aspiring to represent the country.

Today, almost a decade and a half after a thumb injury shattered his dream of playing Test cricket, Jaideep enjoys an identity of his own in cricketing circles.

Hailing from the erstwhile ruling family of Muli in Saurashtra, this 34-year-old owner of Beyond Boundaries that specialises in sports travel, conceptualised “Cricket on Snow” — an event held on the country’s Independence Day in the Bernese Alps at Jungfraujoch, in Switzerland.

The resounding success of this event and the word-of-mouth publicity from the celebrities involved surely gave Jaideep the boost he richly deserved. What more, Jaideep’s idea that the Indian players, holding the tri-colour, and those in the crowd should sing the National anthem in the Alps, gave all present a truly unforgettable moment filled with pride.

For someone who left key posts in AT&T and Reliance Infocomm to remain close to the game he loved, Jaideep pulled off a coup of sorts in his latest endeavour. He managed to get names like Mansur Ali Khan of Patuadi and his actress wife Sharmila Tagore, Farokh Engineer, Kapil Dev, Ajay Jadeja, Sandeep Patil, Aunshuman Gaekwad, Syed Kirmani, Alvin Kallicharran, Collis King, John Emburey, Chris Broad, Geoff Howarth and Neil Radford — most of them with their spouses — on board.

Talking of the concept and the constraints faced in its execution, Jaideep says, “the biggest problem was making the Swiss understand the work needed to be done. Since they did not know anything about cricket, diagrams of a cricket field and pitch had to be prepared and explained in great detail.

“The biggest challenge was the making of the pitch. Once I had finalised the playing area, the locals did a great job of levelling and making it firm. The wooden base for the pitch for even bounce and the choice of a tennis ball were carefully planned. But till I came here and checked the bounce myself, I was a bit apprehensive,” was the candid admission from Jaideep.

Plastic stumps, standing on a heavy acrylic base, ensured that the wickets stood firm even in windy conditions. A thoughtfully designed portable scoreboard helped the spectators keep track of the scores.

Overall, logistically, it was a job well done. “I must admit, I was a bit wary of things going wrong since the show was put up in less than 45 days. If everyone thinks it was a success, I owe it to Nupur, my wife, and all those who worked behind the scenes in India and Switzerland,” acknowledges Jaideep in all humility.

An upbeat Jaideep and Nupur are now keen to build on this concept and make it an annual feature. With the success story of “Cricket on Snow” forming the backdrop, players, sponsors and other stakeholders will be keen to be part of the next venture when it weaves cricket and nostalgia with camaraderie being a natural ally at another exotic venue.