Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid… rethink your national Twenty20 priorities. For all those who thought the shortest format of the game is only a young man’s cup of tea, well, it’s just got a 65-year-old Mumbaikar a Guinness World Record entry.
By Sandeep Narayan / Mumbai Mirror
Parel village resident Neville Wadia is, officially, the oldest man to hit a century in minor cricket, when he cracked 105 off just 58 balls, at a senior citizens’ twenty20 tournament in Vadodara, on March 28, 2009. He was then 63. Turning out for Waghodia Road Cricket XI, Wadia’s sole intention was to have fun, when he padded up against Vrajdham Vadil Pariwar side.
It was scorcher of a day, with temperatures hovering well above 42 degrees Celsius at Vadodara, when Wadia walked out to bat. His sweet timing that day even surprised the die-hard cricket romantic that he is. “Everything seemed to be going where I wanted it to,” Wadia said, surprised at his supreme touch.
As boundaries flowed, Wadia was happy being the hero of the day. His team had won the game handsomely, it was time for celebrations. “Cricket lovers, especially at my age, never play to gain anything. It’s just the pleasure of being able to put bat to ball,” laughed Wadia, “But then, my family took up the performance a lot more seriously than I did.”
He explained his wife, son, and even grandson planted the seed in his mind. “They said what’s the harm in trying to find out whether I was the oldest to have hit a century at minor level. Just to make them happy, I logged on to the Guinness Records website and listed my achievements with relevant proof. Surprise, surprise… a few months later, I received a certificate, my achievement was validated.”
In his younger days, Wadia used to play with fellow Parsis Nari Contractor, Russi Surti and Farrokh Engineer. “There was this tournament, Haji Adamji Latif Vapiwalla Open, in which prominent cricketers, especially from the Parsi community, would participate. Contractor, Surti and Engineer went on to play for India, and I used to feel that I didn’t even make it to the domestic grade. Now, I am a Guinness World Record holder.”
Recently in Vadodara, Wadia met Irfan Pathan and told him he would like to face his bowling. Then, Pathan had just smiled at this genial old man. Maybe if Wadia asks him again with Guinness certificate in hand, the all-rounder could give it a serious thought.
Wadia said, “I will go on till my body permits. Pathan told me he will fulfill my wish of facing his bowling. Sorry, can’t hang up the gloves just yet.”