Dadar Parsi Zoroastrian Sports Club Turns 85

Dadar Parsi Zoroastrian Sports Club (DPZSC) is one of the well known maidan clubs in the city.

It may not be on par with the traditional Dadar Union Sporting, Parsee Cyclist, Shivaji Park Gymkhana or the three gymkhanas at the Kennedy Seaface — Hindu, Islam, Catholic or Parsee — which have rich cricketing history but the Matunga’s Dadkar Maidan club is still sought after in Mumbai.

The club, which came into being in 1926 under the leadership of a cricket-loving Parsi —Jahangir Pithawala — celebrated its 85th anniversary on Monday.

Incidentally, it coincided with the 60th birthday of Mangesh Bhalekar, who has been managing the club for more than three decades.

Impressed with the youngster’s dedication and hardwork, Pithawala had willed the club to Bhalekar, 30 years ago.

The club, which plays in the B Division Kanga League, has produced Test players like Lalchand Rajput and Chandrakant Pandit to name a few. The late former India wicket-keeper Naren Tamhane has coached at the club while Ramakant Desai started playing cricket from this venue at the age of 15.

One of the important aspects of the club is that it offers free coaching and cricket kits to the students of BMC School. “We don’t take money from poor kids. In fact we have never done that since the club came into origin under Massa Seth (Jahangir Pithawala). He never took money from anyone. We don’t charge MCA for organising its matches on this ground. Be it any school, college or office tourneys, I want cricket to be played free of cost,” said Bhalekar, the winner of Shiv Chhatrapati Award 2002.

So where do they get the funds from to maintain the club facilities?

“We charge people who play friendly matches. That’s how we recover our costs and maintain the ground,” he added.

While other clubs have indoor facilities for games and other recreational purposes, DPZC throw open their doors to children of the lesser-privileged.

“At night, the dressing rooms become study/class room for the poor students of the BMC school, who don’t have a private room to study. We don’t have a bar or a room to play cards or other sports,” added Bhalekar.

Former Test cricketer and Mumbai Cricket Association joint secretary Lalchand Rajput said that the club had helped him during his struggling period.

“They have never charged anyone a single penny for anything. I was blessed to have someone like Mangesh Bhalekar during my playing days. He used to give us nets at any given time and new
cricket balls for free. I was lucky to be there (at the club) at the right place at the right time,” said Rajput.

  • Uday Vedant

    Mangesh Bhalekar Sir is a brilliant one. I have played for this club from 1997-2000. Mangesh Bhalekar Sir gave me a chance to study in Ramanarain Ruia College and I played for this college for 2 years, from 1997-1999. After 2000 I played in many top clubs of our country. I played my last first division club cricket in the year 2005 at Vishakhapatnam.

    I have good memories about Matunga, my cricket and my sir. I pray that he be blessed with every good things of the world.

  • Uday Vedant

    Happy Birthday Mangesh Sir. Where is the cake? Mumbai cricket need people like you…thank you for giving me so many good memories.

  • Jyotishman Goswami

    In 1996 i came to Mumbai to play cricket and was finding it difficult to get admission in college. I knew nobody in Mumbai and Mangesh Sir was god sent for me, who gave me an opportunity to study in Ruia College and I played for the college cricket team and subsequently for DPZ club. I have very good memories of playing at Matunga and my heartfelt thanks to Mangesh Sir. Praying for all good things for my Sir and the strength to carry on with the selfless service.