While there is talk of India vs Pakistan cricket resuming as a result of Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif visiting India for Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony, Close of Play was yesterday apprised of a goodwill tour undertaken by Associated Cement Company (ACC) in 1961 under the captaincy of Madhav Mantri who passed away at the age of 92 last Friday.
The ACC team arrives in Karachi on a goodwill tour in September 1961. From left: Polly Umrigar, Dinesh Medh, SD Rege, ES Maka, Bapu Nadkarni, Rusi Mody, skipper Madhav Mantri, WB Banks (ACC's General Manager in Karachi), AH Vasania, V Bondre, N Jilla, Ramakant Desai, SV Nadkarni and a PIA official.
Mantri wrote in the firm's book 'Trusted by Generations Tested by Time — 75 years in the life of ACC Limited': "We were accumulating all the money in Pakistan and could not bring it to India. In 1961, ACC's manager in Pakistan, an Englishman named WB Banks, wrote to our MD, suggesting that we send over a cricket team to Pakistan and use the money accumulated to fund the visit.
"There were many players in the company's team who had represented the country both in India and abroad —Polly Umrigar, Bapu Nadkarni, Ramakant Desai, Rusi Modi, Dilip Sardesai, and others. Dandekar (ACC's MD) called me and asked me to take a team over to Pakistan. He said, 'Go and spend the money.' We were given a grand welcome at Wah and spent a month in Pakistan playing matches against what was virtually their Test team."
Pakistan citizens also benefited from that tour because ACC added an equivalent amount of the gate money and the sum "was given for the benefit of the people of Pakistan."
Another example of how cricket can extend all kinds of boundaries.