The decision by the Mumbai Cricket Association to cancel matches of the Dr H D Kanga League due to the death of its president Vilasrao Deshmukh doesn’t gel with the sporting adage, ‘the game must go on.’
Sure, Deshmukh’s death must be mourned by the cricketing fraternity considering he was chief of the association. But cancelling matches is no way to go about serving the game’s interests. Did the authorities forget that teams could observe two-minute’s silence to remember Deshmukh? And if that was not enough, they could wear black armbands?
This cancellation is indeed a rarity in Mumbai cricket, the very foundation of which is based on getting on with the game. There have been cases of players not allowing personal setbacks affect their participation in matches/tournaments. Eknath Solkar, the late all-rounder, returned to continue his duty in the 1968-70 Ranji Trophy final against Bengal after performing the last rites of his departed father.
In 2003, Wasim Jaffer was informed about the death of his mother as Mumbai were trying to chase down a victory target against Himachal Pradesh in the Ranji Trophy. Jaffer batted through tears and grief and ensured Mumbai won before he headed for his mother’s funeral.
And who can forget Sachin Tendulkar returning to England to play his next match at the 1999 World Cup after attending his father’s funeral in Mumbai.
Cricket authorities want to witness the glory days of Mumbai cricket again, but that won’t happen when they take decisions which hurt the game.
Only last Sunday, matches couldn’t be held because the pitches at Azad Maidan were damaged in the August 11 protests.
The importance of the Kanga League is being undermined with each passing year. There is also talk of it being discontinued since some feel it serves no purpose. City cricket administrators only need to remind themselves what kind of influence this tournament has had in Mumbai and Indian cricket apart from the uniqueness of playing tough cricket during the monsoons.