Fascinating Story of how Dorabji Tata founded the Indian Olympic movement more than 100 years ago
Category Archives: Sports
Arzan Nagwaswalla is the definitely the most surprise pick in the Indian Test team.
Arzan was included as a standby player for the World Test Championship final against New Zealand and the five-Test series in England.
The 23 year old is the only active Parsi cricketer in the Indian domestic cricket circuit. And the left-arm pace bowler has an outside chance to become the first Parsi cricketer in the Indian men’s team after Farokh Engineer, the swashbuckler wicket-keeper-batsman who last played for India in 1975.
Former women;s captain Diana Edulji was the last Parsi player in the Indian team, with her last international appearance coming in an ODI in 1993.
Not being part of the IPL Arzan could not garner much attention. But the Gujarat fast bowler caught the selectors’ eye not only with his pace but also with his ability to pick wickets, having finished with 41 wickets last season with three five-wicket hauls and one ten-wicket haul.
Arzan, who hails from the village of Nargal, close to the Maharashtra border — recalls how he had to travel around 350 km for his training in Ahmedabad in the initial days. In the village too, pursuing cricket was not easy as the players themselves had to roll the pitch and plan the practice sessions themselves.
It is no surprise that his role model is Pakistan’s pace bowling legend Wasim Akram.
After being named as the standby player in the Indian Test squad, Arzan Nagwaswalla spoke to Rediff.com‘s Harish Kotian on his journey in cricket so far.
Did you expect this call up?
Frankly speaking, I didn’t expect it so early. Obviously, you do expect to be picked in the Indian team, but…
When did you know of the selection?
Actually, the secretary of the Gujarat Cricket Association had called me in the morning itself that ‘You might have to go to England so just be ready.’
That time I didn’t understand what he was talking about. So when I heard about the selection now, I understood what he was saying.
How did your family react?
I haven’t reached home yet. I am travelling and on my way home.
Are you excited to get to practice and hopefully play in England which has the best conditions for fast bowlers?
This is the first time I am travelling there so there is a lot of excitement. It feels like a dream come true to get a chance to travel with the Indian team.
You had a good season in domestic cricket last year, picking up 41 wickets in the 2019-2020 Ranji Trophy season with three five-wicket hauls and one ten-wicket haul.
Tell us the improvements you made as a bowler in your second season.
There was not much of a difference in the last season. I was just focusing on the process whether it be bowling or in practice and the results are there for everyone to see.
What were the changes if you can point out in the second season that brought you success?
It was more of a mental aspect I would say in terms of how to approach a game, how to play and similar things.
So it was more of the mental side of things and other than that there were no any changes.
You played under Parthiv Patel who has a lot of experience and has taken Gujarat cricket to greater heights in the last few seasons. What was his advice to you?
He used to constantly tell me that ‘You are doing well so be ready as opportunity can come anytime.’
I was also focused on my game whether the opportunity comes or not, I just looked to give my best every time I went out to play.
Did it also help a young player when you play in a successful team like Gujarat?
It was about the team environment, the bonding between the players. There was no biasness in the team, whether it was a senior player or junior player, everyone played together as one unit.
I think that is the main reason behind our success.
Our coach used to tell us that we should work as a team and focus more on the team goals rather than individual goals.
Who is your childhood coach?
My childhood coach is Kiran Tandel, who is a former player for Gujarat. He hails from my village Nargal (close to the Maharashtra border). In fact, he lives next to my house and he is also a fast bowler. So I learnt a lot of things from him.
Were things difficult for you at the start because you hail from a small village?
I used to training in my village in Nargal when I started off, but for the camp I had to travel to Ahmedabad which is 350
In Nargal village, we used to prepare the pitch and even today we work on the pitch and practice ourselves, we have to do everything.The travelling was a bit of struggle, but that was fine as it helped me improve.
The training in Ahmedabad helped me work with good coaches and they helped rectify the errors in my bowling and that played a big part in my development.
Along with getting picked for India, playing in the IPL is the next big target for all Indian domestic players. You did well in the Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 tournament with nine wickets from five games but were not picked in the IPL even though were part of it as the nets bowlers for the Mumbai Indians. Were you disappointed?
In the last one year, there was not much of domestic cricket. How did you stay in touch with the game?
We had a few camps in Ahmedabad so there we got a chance to practice and improve our skills. The physical training part, we were doing at home and the cricketing part we practiced in Ahmedabad.
Jehan Daruvala creates history, becomes first Indian to win an Formula 2 race
Jehan Daruvala emerged on top in the support race of the season-ending Formula 1 Grand Prix after a thrilling battle against F2 champion Mick Schumacher and Daniel Ticktum
Jehan Daruvala created history when he became the first Indian to win a Formula 2 race during the Sakhir Grand Prix on Sunday.
A thrilling battle against F2 champion Mick Schumacher and Daniel Ticktum saw the 22-year-old Indian emerge on top in the support race of the season-ending Formula 1 Grand Prix.
Jehan, driving for Rayo Racing, had a good launch from second on the grid and was up alongside pole sitter Daniel Ticktum.
Ticktum squeezed Jehan on the inside which allowed Schumacher to go around the outside of both of them.
Eventually, Ticktum emerged in the lead, followed by Schumacher and Jehan in third. A few corners later, Jehan made a good move to pass Schumacher and get into second position.
A few laps later, Schumacher passed Jehan, to relegate him to third.
Jehan, however, did not give up. A thrilling battled ensued and eventually the Indian got past Schumacher once again, to reclaim his second spot.
Jehan then reeled off a series of quick laps to catch the race leader. However, he was unable to overtake.
The battle for the lead intensified as Ticktum seemed desperate to win the last race of the season.
Jehan, however, kept his cool and maintained the pressure. His excellent race craft forced the race leader to start making mistakes, but Jehan found it tough to get past Ticktum.
Eventually with less than 10 laps to go, Jehan made another fantastic move to get past Ticktum and grab the lead.
Thereafter, Jehan drove well to slowly start opening up a gap and finally took the chequered flag to win his maiden FIA Formula 2 race.
His Japanese teammate Yuki Tsunoda was second, over 3.5 seconds behind Jehan, while Ticktum was third.
“Motorsport is pretty big in India. We obviously have a lot of people, so I have a big fan base back home, and my goal at the end of the day is to do myself and my country proud.
“(I have) to prove to people from back home that even though we don’t have the same facilities and stuff that guys have in Europe, as long as you can work hard you can fight right at the sharp end of the grid,” Jehan said.
The Zoroastrian Cricket Club in Toronto has decided to start playing league T20 cricket again after an 8 year gap in play. The club started playing 50 over cricket and was formed in 1978 by a group of cricket loving Parsee immigrants that came to Canada from India and Pakistan. It ran successfully for many years in a local league but in 2013 the club folded due to a lack of interest amongst newer Zoroastrians.
However, in recent years the OZCF (Ontario Zoroastrian Community Foundation) field was transformed to include a cricket pitch and it renewed interest amongst the Parsee community! For the past two years the team has played inter friendly matches and have occasionally invited other teams to play as well. Due to the creation of the new agiary, the OZCF ground is not available for the upcoming season. The club has decided to join Mississauga Cricket League, and would like to introduce and include more youngsters to the game in a healthy community atmosphere with proper coaching by ex national team players. So if you have kids that want to learn sports and have fun in an all Parsee community setting or if you want to join yourself please contact Khushroo Wadia at firstname.lastname@example.org. The club appreciates your support and enthusiasm and thanks the many former members who still donate generously to keep up equipment and help pay for the league costs, balls, and umpire fees. What a truly wonderful community we have. Come and be a part of it!
In conversation with Kynan Chenai about the importance of developing discipline and mental toughness to control what you can in high pressure competitions.
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
Congratulations Adil – we are all proud of you and your achievements!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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