At the inauguration of the reconstructed Dadar Union Sporting Club, loyalists of the 85-year-old club were glad that the shed has now been replaced with an impressive pavilion and clubhouse. Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan inaugurated the new-look premier cricket club’s premises at the Dadkar Maidan in Matunga yesterday.
Former India skipper Dilip Vengsarkar, himself a product of Dadar Union, which once ruled local cricket, is responsible for renovation of the club.
Over the years, Dadar Union has produced many top-class players, including Sunil Gavaskar, Ramnath Parkar and Sanjay Manjrekar.
The club has the distinction of winning the prestigious Kanga League ‘A’ Division title 12 times between 1951 and 1988. Another former India captain Ajit Wadekar, who played for arch-rivals Shivaji Park Gymkhana graced the occasion.
‘We’ll be back’
A delighted Vengsarkar said: “Dadar Union used to be a powerhouse in Mumbai cricket and with the clubhouse in place and a good team this year, I promise you that in the next five years we will get to where we were by winning Kanga League ‘A’ Division title. In the last decade, the club had some really bad times.
But we will ensure that the glory days are back.
“It pained me when I saw tennis-ball cricket being played on the same pitch where players like Sunil Gavaskar, Sanjay Manjrekar and a number of other stalwarts started their careers.”
India cricketer-turned-commentator Manjrekar said it was a dream to play for Dadar Union. “Though initially my father (Vijay) wanted me to play for Shivaji Park Gymkhana (SPG), I was very clear that as my idol Sunil Gavaskar played here, I had to play for Dadar Union,” Manjrekar said.
Former Dadar Union captain, Vasu Paranjape said: “What made Dadar Union special was that all these top players used to represent the club in local cricket right after coming back from international assignments. Playing with and against these players was always a good experience for youngsters.”
In his short yet effective speech, the Chief Minister wished the club the best and hoped that the glory days are back soon. “Though government policies do not have any special funding for cricket, I just hope that the club is able to get back the golden days. Also, I feel that university level cricket needs to be revived,” Chavan said.