Mumbai's famous cricket administrator Niranjan Shah, fondly called as Nirabhai, passed away on December 15 following a massive heart attack, leaving behind some warm memories which were shared yesterday at a condolence meeting held at the PJ Hindu Gymkhana where he served with distinction for almost two decades.
Former India cricketer and current Managing Committee member of the Mumbai Cricket Association, Lalchand Rajput, who first met Shah when he was 15-year-old, said: "He was so respected that no players could ever say no to him. PJ Hindu Gymkhana and Nirabhai go hand-in-hand. He was really passionate about cricket."
Prof Ratnakar Shetty, the Board of Control for Cricket in India's Game's Development manager, said Shah's biggest contribution to Mumbai cricket was the introduction of the Vijay Merchant single-wicket tournament. "The way he conducted the single-wicket tournament was phenomenal.
He was also actively involved in conducting the Police Shield tournament. Police Commissioners may have changed, but Nirabhai's vote of thanks speech remained the same. He was always there to help, always smiling and a very content person.
It is important to remember such people because they worked for the game the hard way and when there was no glamour," said Shetty. Former Mumbai spinner and selector Ravi Thakkar, who played for Hindu Gymkhana, said a tournament named after Shah would be an apt tribute to his contribution to city cricket.