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.