Rizvi Springfield (Bandra) are all set to defend their inter-school cricket title and make it six in a row, as this season’s Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA)-Harris Shield Elite Division tournament kicks off today.
Rizvi play their opening match against St Francis D’Assisi (Borivli) at Azad Maidan. “We hope that we keep the winning momentum going. I am expecting the boys to open the MSSA season on a winning note. We have some really good players and we should defend this title. We have some new players — Ashutosh Singh, Ankur Singh and Mohd Imran who could spring a surprise,” said Rizvi coach Raju Pathak.
Meanwhile, VN Sule Guruji coach Gopal Koli is confident his side will break Rizvi’s supremacy and avenge their final defeat to the Bandra boys last season. The Dadar side face Parle Tilak (English) at Azad Maidan. “Last year we missed the title, but this time we will go all out. I am sure we can give Rizvi a tough fight. We have a couple of players, who are in the Mumbai U-14 and U-16 probables. If they play to their potential, we can win this title,” he said.
While Rizvi have players like Prithvi Shaw, Sidak Singh, Azim Shaikh and Sairaj Shetty, VN Sule Guruji will bank on the talented Dhruva Vedak, Tanush Kotian, Yash Bhojane and Akash Savla to deliver the goods. Even as title battle seems to be between the champion and runners-up team, a third team — Don Bosco (Matunga), who lost in the semi-final last season, are hoping to give it their best shot.
Don Bosco coach Santosh Chaphe said: “Most of the players in our team this year are new. Only batsman Bhupen Lalwani played in the Harris Shield tournament last season. Rizvi and Sule Guruji have been finalists for many years now. But this year, we hope to give it our best and make it to the final.”