Category Archives: Sports

RUSSI COOPER BECOMES MIDDLESEX’S OLDEST FIRST-CLASS CRICKETER

The St Xavier’s College team of 1942. In the middle row, the first four from left are Rusi Modi, Anwar Sheikh, KC Ibrahim, Russi Cooper. Behind Ibrahim is Jimmy Wadia. Photo courtesy: The Gulu Ezekiel collection

RUSTOM ‘RUSSI’ SORABJI COOPER BECOMES MIDDLESEX’S OLDEST FIRST-CLASS CRICKETER

Rustom Cooper, born in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India, on 15th December 1922, today became Middlesex’s oldest first-class cricketer, aged 97 years, 183 days old.

Prior to this, the record was held by James Gilman, who passed away in Shoreham, East Sussex, on 14th September 1976, aged 97 years, 182 days.

Cooper made a handful of appearances for Middlesex, between 1949 and 1951, making his first-class debut for the club against Cambridge University at Fenners in May 1949, when he made 36 of Middlesex’s first innings total of 402 for 4 declared.

In total he made surprisingly few appearances for the club, considering he finished his first-class career with a batting average of 52.39, although for Middlesex, in eight matches, his average of just 19.63 and a highest score of 54 belied the quality he had. A contributing factor in Cooper making only fleeting appearances at Lord’s in this era becomes clear, when you consider that he would have had to dislodge the likes of Jack Robertson, Denis Compton, Bill Edrich and Gubby Allen to secure a regular place in the side.

Throughout his time with Middlesex he also played club cricket for Hornsey, which is where he achieved legendary status, for both his weight of runs and for the flair in which accumulated them.

Our thanks go to Johnny Bruce and Hornsey Cricket Club for the following content, which has been copied from their website with the club’s blessing.

RUSSI COOPER – HORNSEY CRICKET CLUB, 1946 TO 1953

Between 1946 and 1953 Russi Cooper bestrode Hornsey cricket like a colossus. Even in our outstanding post-war side Cooper stood out for both his weight of runs and the elegance with which he batted. 5,968 runs at an average of 85.25 (excluding 1947, where figures are not available), his stats for the club are near Bradmanesque, and his shot selection abided by one of the Don’s batting axioms: keep the ball on the ground.

For all the mountains of runs, those who played alongside Cooper could never remember a single instance of him hitting a six.

It was another batting great, Denis Compton, who spotted Rustom Sorabji Cooper (born 22 December 1922) and brought him to the attention of Middlesex cricket.

Although Russi’s batting style wouldn’t have been suited to the IPL he was a young sensation in Indian domestic cricket, playing for both the Parsees and his native Mumbai, scoring a century in the 1945 Ranji Trophy against CK Nayudu’s Holkar.

Compton, stationed with the Army in India during the Second World War, played for the Holkar in that match and had in fact, witnessed another hundred by Russi the week before when he was playing for the Cricket Club of India. He was so impressed by Cooper’s performance that he informed Middlesex about his new discovery.

Indian players in county cricket were a rarity at the time, but Cooper was sufficiently encouraged to take up a place at the London School of Economics in 1946 and to pursue his cricketing career in Europe.

He arrived with a letter of recommendation addressed to Colonel PS Rait Kerr, secretary of the MCC, written by KS Duleepsinhji. He played some cricket for Indian Gymkhana and for a nomadic side called the Buccaneers, playing for Hornsey on a Sunday.

He turned out often for Middlesex 2nd XI (including one match at Tivoli Road, in fact). However, as is still the case, the serious cricket was played on a Saturday and Russi shifted his allegiance to Hornsey’s extremely strong Saturday side and its impressive fixture list. The rest, as they say, is history.

His debut season in 1946 harvested 571 runs at an average of 114.2, and went on to make 19 centuries for the club (18 of them not out!), with a top score of 135* against Richmond in 1950.

Cooper scored over 1,000 runs in a summer on three occasions for Hornsey, in 1948, 1952 and 1953. Arthur Cornick, who served as Honorary Secretary of Hornsey for over fifty years said he was at his best in a run chase. He would be 30* before anyone had noticed and would time a run chase to perfection. It was said that he would often won the game in the last over, with the winning runs bringing up his century. Derek Rata, another Hornsey great who had a couple of games for Middlesex Second XI was frequently Russi’s batting partner and recalls been asked by Russi how to hit the ball over the top (there is no record of Russi ever hitting a six for Hornsey). After lobbing him a few gentle half volleys and having been bit back at ferocious pace along the ground, they both gave up and decided to let sleeping dogs lie.

In 1950 he scored 945 runs at an average of 157.50. This included his epic month of June 1950, when he batted 8 times, 6 not out, for 624 runs at an average of 312.00.

The golden English sporting summer on 1953 was Cooper’s most prolific and sadly his last for the club. He scored 1,117 in his 19 innings that summer at an average of 139.62 – by some distance the highest average of any Hornsey 1,000 run season.

He would make sporadic appearances for Middlesex – a final first-class batting average of 52.39 confirms his talent – but happily spent his most productive success at Tivoli Road.

With such a rich vein of form in 1953 it’s little wonder that Cooper was considered very close to a call up to the touring Indian side that year for the tour of England. However, he had also qualified as a barrister and decided to return home at the end of the year with his English wife.

He made a visit, anonymously, to Tivoli Road in the late 1960s. In London on business, he spent the afternoon watching the 1st XI play, without being recognised, and then slipped away at the end of the match without anyone realising who he was.

His life and location took on an element of mystery until Hornsey’s archivist and historian Johnny Bruce tracked him down in 2008. Various attempts to find him via the Indian Cricket authorities were unsuccessful and, indeed, it was not even known whether Russi was dead or alive.

Then out of the blue, the Cricinfo website stated on his profile page that he was President of the Rotary Club of Singapore in 1984-85. An email was sent to the Rotary Club of Singapore and within 10 minutes a reply was received saying that the Russi Cooper from the Rotary Club was NOT the Russi Cooper from Hornsey CC.It did, however, also state that the Russi Cooper we were after lived in Mumbai, and here was his ‘phone number. We rang him, and Russi had his first contact with anyone from Hornsey for 55 years. He was delighted to receive a copy of the Hornsey Almanack which fully reflected his status as a Hornsey great and we enjoyed many conversations with him reminiscing about games and players past.

Around this time, Chetan Patel was about to holiday in India and was delighted to meet up with Russi at the Cricket Club of India a few days ahead of the great man’s 86th birthday in 2008. Chetan was glad to report back on of a fabulously fit and agile enthusiast for the game with many cherished memories of some glittering years at Hornsey, on and off the cricketing field.

His cricket career had stalled on his return to India due to a serious knee injury, but he was still an avid spectator and follower of the game.

A delightful player and person, Russi Cooper is one of the players that made Hornsey special and a crucial part of our club’s legacy.

For more archive information on Hornsey greats, visit HERE

 

https://www.middlesexccc.com/news/2020/06/russi-cooper-becomes-middlesexs-oldest-first-class-cricketer

Parsi Bikers Unite to Ride for Road Safety on Sunday Morning

 
For the Parsi community in the city, Sunday was Bawas’ morning out on bikes. Hundreds of Parsis, both young and those young-at-heart rode their way on their motorcycles from Parsi Gymkhana (Marine Drive) to Worli Sea Face, Bandra and back to Parsi Gymkhana (Marine Drive) that was organised by ZYNG 2.0 (Zoroastrian Youth for Next Generation) not just to showcase their love affair with bikes, but also to bring the community together.

On the morning of Sunday 23rd February 2020, Zoroastrian Owners of Super Bikes and Vintage Bikes ride together in memory of those we have lost too soon and for the road safety cause. Under the supervision of ZYNG 2.0 volunteers (marshals), all bikers and pillion riders with helmets and necessary protective gear, followed the guidelines of safe riding.

The participants flashed their Supersport, Adventure, Cruiser, Vintage, Cafe Racer, Sidercar, Classic, Tourer and Offroader bikes including the Aprilia, Yamaha, KTM, Honda, Suzuki, Ducati, Triumph, Kawasaki, BMW, Royal Enfield, Bajaj, BSA, Norton, TVS, Jawa and Harley Davidsons of the world. Members of Parsi biker groups like Bawasaki and Vintage Zoroastrian Bikers of Mumbai turned up in large numbers. What added to the attraction were the beautiful women as pillion riders on some of the bikes and the women bikers themselves.

United Way Mumbai, premier non-profit organization with a mission to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities to advance the common good, supported this Zoroastrian Bike Ride and collaborated with ZYNG 2.0 for this noble cause.

Post the bike ride, all were delighted with some sumptuous breakfast at Parsi Gymkhana.

About ZYNG2.0:
ZYNG 2.0 is a whole new beginning with new ideas and a new committee to continually provide a platform for bringing the Zoroastrian youth closer.

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Attached some good Images of the event.
Photo Courtesy – @revminister and @unitedwaymumbai

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Farokh Engineer – A rare phenomenon

TODAY, 25 February, is the 82nd birthday of Farokh Engineer.

One of the great keepers and also a magnificently attacking batsman.

As Engineer once said “Some people tell me, you used to play T20 40 years before its invention!”

Farokh was a dasher. The first Indian cricketer to endorse a product and the last Parsi to have played for India.

Happy Birthday!!

It was a rare phenomenon to be able to find such a player who’d fit in to play as an excellent wicket-keeper as well as a fantastic batsman during the 1960s. That’s when Farokh Engineer came into the Indian Cricket’s family tree. Discover more about one of the hard-hitting batsmen who also guarded the team with excellency by positioning himself behind the stumps only on Mid Wicket Tales with Naseeruddin Shah.

 

ZYNG 2.0

zyng2.0

Shout out to all owners of Super & Vintage Bikes to be a part of this Zoroastrian Bike Rally on Sunday, 23rd February in memory of those we have lost too soon and uniting for the road safety cause.

Bike Ride Route: Parsi Gymkhana – Worli Sea Face – Bandra – Parsi Gymkhana

To ride and support this cause, feel free to call 9833735306/9820120626
Keep Calm and Helmet On!
#zyng2.0 #ZoroastrianYouthForNextGeneration #zoroastrian #parsi #bawabikers #parsiyouth #uniteforsafety #roadsafety #united #fun

17th Z-Games Update! Registration for Social Events is postponed now!

17th Z GAMES Postponed
To Summer 2021
Metro Washington, DC 
 
In these unprecedented times, public health and safety require the postponement and rescheduling of the 17th Z GAMES to Summer 2021. The ZAMWI Board of Trustees and the Z Games Advisory Committee will continue to plan for and host the 17th Z Games, and look forward to working with the Zoroastrian Sports Committee, FEZANA member associations, and all volunteers to host an exceptional games when the pandemic has ended and the economic uncertainty has subsided. 
 
ZAMWI would like to thank the FEZANA Executive Committee, the Zoroastrian Sports Committee, the volunteers from different associations serving as Z Games Ambassadors, and all the ZAMWI volunteers who have been working tirelessly in preparation for the Games.

Please reach out to chairzgame2020@gmail.com if you would like to become an ambassador for your community or volunteer for the Games.
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Please stay safe, stay at home, and practice the advice of experts to prevent and slow the spread of the virus. A quote from a physician in Chicago says it all: “Without taking drastic measures, the healthy and optimistic amoung us will doom the vulnerable.” Postponing the Z Games is the right thing to do.
 
All registrations completed to date for the originally scheduled Z Games will be refunded.
 
 
Sent on behalf of :
FEZANA Executive Committee
Zoroastrian Sports Committee
ZAMWI Board of Trustees
2020 Z Games Advisory Committee

Zoroastrian Games – 2020

The Zoroastrian Association of Metropolitan Washington, DC, Inc. (ZAMWI) is excited to welcome athletes, spectators, volunteers, friends and family from across the globe to the 2020 Z Games, July 1 – 5!

The Z Games Advisory Committee, chaired by Farshid Behmardi, has been working hard to prepare for this great event. This email provides important updates, deadlines, and ways you can get involved.

The early-bird registration is now open! To save money, we highly encourage you to take advantage of this early-bird opportunity. You can start your registration by visiting our website https://www.zgames2020.com/register.html. Bahar Boroumandrad chairs the registration subcommittee. Please reach out to Bahar at zgames2020@zamwi.org with any questions.

Stay informed about 2020 Z Games updates and deadlines by following our Instagram @2020zgames. In our Instagram account, you will also learn more about our volunteers, event developments, and you can reach out with suggestions and questions.

Hosting a well-organized and unifying event can only be possible with the help of volunteers. ZAMWI volunteers are partnering with volunteers from ZAPANJ to support the Games throughout the 4 days. If you are interested in volunteering, please click the link to complete the volunteer from https://www.zgames2020.com/volunteer.html or by going to our website, and submit the form under Get Involved.

The Z-game promises to be filled with intense competition, camaraderie, and lots of fun. Our mission is possible with your donations. For donations, please visit our website’s donation page, https://www.zgames2020.com/donate.html.

If you are a business owner, this is the perfect opportunity to promote your business by becoming a sponsor. Our fundraising group has worked hard and put together several great sponsorship packages from which you can select what works for you. For more information
please visit https://www.zgames2020.com/sponsor.html.

We are super excited for 2020 Z Games and hope that you join us!

Best,

2020 Z Games Advisory Committee

 

The incredible adventures of Parsi Cyclists around the world

How it began

The first group to set off on their bicycles was made up of six members of the Bombay Weightlifting Club. They were Adi Hakim, Jal Bapasola, Rustom Bhumgara, Gustad Hathiram, Keki Pochkhanawala and Nariman Kapadia.

According to Rohinton Bhumgara, son of Rustom Bhumgara, the six youngsters had attended a public lecture in 1920 by a Frenchman who had walked from Europe to India. Hearing him talk left them deeply inspired.

Their journey began in October 1923 and meandered through Punjab, Balochistan, the Middle East, Europe, United States, Japan and South East Asia.

On the way, one team member returned to India from Tehran for “personal reasons”, while two others were so “enamoured” of America that they stayed back.

Adi Hakim, Jal Bapasola and Rustom Bhumgara return to Bombay after nearly five years.
Adi Hakim, Jal Bapasola and Rustom Bhumgara return to Bombay after nearly five years.

“Once, he [Jal Bapasola] narrated how they approached the Raleigh Cycle Co of England in Bombay about [the company] sponsoring the cycles,” Babani was told by Bapasola’s 82-year-old son Noshir Bapasola, who lives in New Jersey.

“The company refused. But when they reached England, he said the company was begging them to use their cycles. He asked them why they had a change of heart and was told quite bluntly ‘we did not believe that you boys would be so successful’.”

By the time Hakim, Bapasola and Bhumgara reached India in March 1928, they had covered around 70,000 kilometres.

In their book With Cyclists Around The World, they enumerated their achievements with “pardonable pride”: in four and a half years, they had scaled the Alps, crossed “pirate-infested territories” and waded through jungles with “hostile semi-savage tribes”, sometimes “escaping death by inches”.

 

Click Here for the full story in Dawn with pictures

Parsee Gymkhana Cricket Team arrive in UK Sun 18th Aug 2019 to play for 1886 Trophy

Dear ZTFE Members & Well-wishers
On Sunday 18th August the Parsee Gymkhana Cricket Team will be arriving to the UK.  They will be playing a series of T20 cricket matches with local sides, culminating with a match at The Oval Cricket Ground on Friday 23rd August 2019 for the 1886 Trophy, photo pasted below. All the matches are FREE to watch. All are welcome! Your support is important.
ZTFE has been informed that a well known A listed Bollywood actor will be accompanying the Parsee Gymkhana Team.
This beautiful 1886 Trophy commemorating Parsee Pioneers of Cricket who visited United Kingdom in 1886
On Monday 19th August, the Parsees will be visiting The Lords Cricket Ground and later in the evening they will be playing in Chiswick, West London.
On Tuesday 20th August, the Parsees will be visiting the Houses of Parliament.
On Wednesday 21st August at 5pm, the Parsees will be playing at the Lurgashall Cricket Club, West Sussex.  Lurgashall is one of the most beautiful villages in the South of England, where cricket has been played prior to 1863. Witley train station is closest to Lurgashall Cricket Club.
On Thursday 22nd August – Khordad Sal, ZTFE will be inviting the Parsee Cricket Team to the Zortoastrian Centre for a Khordad Sal celebratory 4 course evening meal at the Zoroastrian Centre.  All are welcome! Kindly purchase tickets from the ZTFE Secretariat, phone 020 8866 0765.
On Friday 23rd August at 1pm, the Parsee XI will be playing at The Oval Cricket Ground, against the Charles Alcock XI for the 1886 Trophy. The Oval Cricket Ground is less than 5 minutes walking distance from the Oval London Underground Station. The bus stop for 36 and 436 buses is just near the entrance of the The Oval Cricket Ground. Please contact Mrs Gul R Bilimoria by email on <gulshanrb@virginmedia.com> or phone 07951126391, if you are planning to attend the 1886 Trophy match.    
On Saturday 24th August the Parsee Gymkhana Team will depart for Mumbai.
Kindly inform those who are not accessible by email or not connected to the internet.
Yours sincerely
Malcolm M Deboo
President
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