The District Sports Office's (DSO) apathy towards school cricketers could have proved fatal yesterday during the Division final of the boys U-14 cricket tournament between arch-rivals Rizvi Springfield (Bandra) and IES VN Sule Guruji (Dadar) at Azad Maidan.
Players surround IES VN Sule Guruji's Sahil Jadhav after he collapsed on the ground after being hit by a delivery at Azad Maidan yesterday. Inset: DSO official Vasudev Thite. Pics/Atul Kamble
Chasing a target of 94 runs set by the Bandra outfit, Sule Guruji's left-handed opener, Sahil Jadhav, was struck by the ball twice — once in the rib cage and then on his thigh. The blow to the rib cage, that occurred in the third over, was particularly severe and the impact saw the 13-year-old collapse on the ground.
Shockingly, there were absolutely no medical facilities at the venue, let alone the expectation of a qualified medical professional being at hand. A parent of one of the players from the Dadar outfit rushed onto the pitch to offer the injured batsman some water.
Sahil then continued for two more deliveries before having to retire hurt due to giddiness. Here too it was the coach and parents, who attended to Sahil. The Class VIII student returned to the field in the eight over after feeling a bit better, only to be struck a second time on the thigh and was then dismissed off the very next delivery, with the score reading 35-1.
The Dadar school eventually lost by 21 runs, but the absence of any medical facilities at the ground raised hackles among those present.
Sule Guruji coach Gopal Koli was appalled by the lack of proper medical facilities and that too in a final. "There was no medical help available at all. I can't imagine what would have happened had Sahil been seriously injured. The DSO is least bothered about these budding cricketers.
This has been the story for ages. They (DSO) are killing cricket," he thundered. DSO suburban official Vasudev Sakharam Thite, who was not present at the venue when both the incidents took place, told mid-day: "I was not aware about the incident."
When asked why there were no medical facilities at the ground, the brazen DSO official retorted: "In case of any injury, we borrow ice from the nearby lime-juice vendor. School coaches also have first aid kits with them. Since we got the ground confirmation late, we couldn't arrange for any medical facilities. Our tournaments have been conducted in this manner for a long time."