Nari Contractor on the Decline of Parsi Cricket

Parsi Cyclists, one of Mumbai’s oldest clubs, will complete its centenary in early October. The club which has produced some fine cricketers in Nari Contractor, Polly Umirgar, Rusi Surti, Farokh Engineer, to name a few, is now cash-strapped and struggling to produce cricketers who have the potential to play for Mumbai. Contractor lamented that his community seems to be no longer passionate about the sport.

“The club is not doing well. There is no supply line of Parsi cricketers. The Parsi schools, which used to promote cricket, aren’t doing so anymore,” a dejected Contractor said.

The 75-year-old former India skipper invited youngsters to take up the sport. “We are ready to help youngsters who want to take up the game. Priorities of the younger generation have changed. There is no discipline at all,” Contractor added.

Contractor, Rony Iranpur, Homi Mehta and Dadi Palkhivala were among the veteran cricketers who assembled to announce their plans to celebrate 100 years of the club’s existence.

“We will be having a Jashn in the morning, followed by a 10-over match between past and present cricketers,” Contractor announced. Parsi Cyclists have been Division A Kanga League champions on four occasions. However, now, they are struggling to hold onto their place in the F Division.

Iranpur, settled in California, comes down to play the Kanga League every year. “There is a dearth of cricketers. We not only want Parsi cricketers but youngsters from other communities too who can play for us,” Iranpur said.

“During our early years we would look forward to playing against the likes of Sunil Gavaskar and Dilip Vengsarkar.Nowadays players of their stature don’t play in the Kanga League anymore,” Iranpur added.

The club, located in Azad Maidan next to Sassanian Cricket Club, owns a few tables, chairs and fans.

“We got electricity supply only two years back. Earlier, we used to sit without fans. But now people want to be in the comfort zone. We are struggling to make both ends meet. We have send letters to a few Parsi charitable trusts for donations,” said Contractor, who is the chairman of the club.

  • Siloo Kapadia

    Cricket? But why should we play that game at all? Why should we follow the British in everything?

    As for the dwindling supply of new players, that follows the fact that we have a dwindling supply of Parsis overall on the Asian subcontinent. No surprises there, deekras. Also the fact that the sport is seen by many as slow, boring, and leftover of English subjugation. To hell with it, I say.

    Instead, wy not dump cricket for Parsi baseball, or basketball or soccer? Volleyball anybody? Perhaps we should change with the times and not beat a dead horse.

  • shailendra kirtikar

    i am personally shocked at reading this article and the state of the club. As a Non Parsi I have had the pleasure of playing for this club in A Division Kanga Leage in late 1990’s. We had some fine cricketers and GREAT gentlemen.With cricket so prominent in India I am sure things can get better.

  • Arzan R

    How does dumping cricket for soccer get rid of English subjugation? You might want to know that football is an English sport too. And by replacing it with baseball or basketball are you suggesting replacing English subjugation with American subjugation? If you don’t like the sport its your choice but you should not be advocating its demise at the expense of millions of Indians like me who enjoy the sport for itself and not for its ties to English subjugation.

  • Siloo Kapadia

    Arzan-jee:

    To answer your question, yes you are right. Other sports are also from Friton. However, only cricket remains truly for Britishers (and South Asians). In fact, I doubt any other former British colony has embraced the sport as South Asians have.

    So you may love it, but it is a strong reminder of thier domination of us in years gone by.

    American subjugation? The US, despite all of its faults, is not militarily occpuying India at this time (that we know of). Any cultural influences are taken willingly by the people.

    Again, stop beating a dead horse. Its over, khalas, move on.

  • Arzan

    Silooji,

    With that logic isn’t the English language also a reminder of their domination in years gone by? Chalo, ave aaj thi khaali gujarati man vat karsu. Angrezi bolva thi British dominance nu yaad ave!

  • Siloo Kapadia

    Theek che, deekra, theek che!