Nari Contractor reminisces about Kanga League


August 3, 2009

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Nari Contractor the former India skipper and opening batsman inaugurated the 62nd edition of Mumbai’s monsoon tournament, the Strategen Dr HD Kanga cricket league on Sunday with the traditional breaking of the coconut.

It brought memories for 75-year-old Contractor. "I first played in 1950 and turned out for Sassanian, Cricket Club of India and Parsi Cyclists." The latter are into their centenary year and Vinod Deshpande, the Kanga league secretary, thought it befitting the occasion to do the honours there. Said Contractor about the league, "It was always fun whether you were playing or not. We would play the game, play cards and if it rained dash off to Taloja to eat the famous biryani."

Asked if playing in the league gave a preview of English conditions, Contractor said, "In 1950 who thought of playing in England?" He eventually toured there in 1959 and did reasonably well. In Kanga league Naru usually batted at No 3 for No 4 opening for the first time only on his Test debut."

Nari’s one-time Tata teammate Sharad Hajare, former Mumbai keeper, turned up in whites keeping wickets for Star CC to be the oldest player of the league. Hajare, who is six days away from his 64th birthday on August 8, still coaches at the MIG. He did little wrong with his glovework to prove he is easily the best keeper not to play for India. Said Hajare, "I got tired of doing nothing at home so decided to play when Nitin Dalal asked me to play. I last played 15 years ago for PJ Hindu Gymkhana. I had no problems though I didn’t get a single catch or stumping." Asked about his fitness, he said, "I coach and so am fairly active."

Original article here.