I was not invited for MCA bash, reveals 1983 World Cup player Balvinder Singh Sandhu
Balvinder Singh Sandhu, the man who virtually helped Mumbai win the 1980-81 Ranji Trophy final in the first session of the opening day against Bishan Singh Bedi's Delhi, is hurt. Sandhu, 61, claimed yesterday that he did not receive an invitation for the Mumbai Cricket Association-organised 500th Ranji Trophy match commemoration function held at the MCA-Bandra Kurla ground on Wednesday. "Yes, I am hurt because I played for Mumbai with a lot of pride and have been part of Ranji Trophy-winning teams as a player and coach," said Sandhu, who starred in the 1980-81 final against Delhi at the Wankhede Stadium where he claimed five of his six first innings wickets on the first day itself to leave Delhi reeling at 240-9. He finished with nine in the match.
Balvinder Singh Sandhu
Sandhu was also part of the Mumbai team that won the Ranji Trophy in 1983-84. In 1996-97, he was coach of Sanjay Manjrekar's champion Mumbai team. However, the MCA insisted that an invitation was couriered to Sandhu. "There is no question of singling out anyone to be not invited. Sandhu was invited," emphasised MCA Jt Secretary Dr PV Shetty. Sandhu said he would have been at the MCA-BKC ground even if he received a verbal invitation. "Playing for Mumbai is far bigger than getting an invitation and I would have gone for the function even if I was invited over the phone," he said. The Sikh claimed India's first wicket (Gordon Greenidge) in the 1983 World Cup final against WI and recalled rather sadly that he was even ignored for Mumbai's senior cricketer of the year award despite performing consistently. He also said he was ignored for the Shiv Chhatrapati award which was given to a player who had not even played for India. It is learnt that Rahul Mankad, the former Mumbai batsman and the only surviving son of the legendary Vinoo (after whom the main gate has been named at Wankhede), too did not get an invitation.