The '90s was the last decade when Test cricketers were seen regularly playing for their clubs either on the city’s maidans or gymkhanas
Sunil Gavaskar played the odd match for Dadar Union Sporting Club even in the 1990s when he was 40-plus. He always told his club that they should call him in case they couldn't make up the playing XI. mid-day remembers him coming to bail out his institution in the 1994 Kanga league against PJ Hindu Gymkhana at Marine Drive on August 7.
Gavaskar's running between the wickets inspired all the juniors in the team in his innings of 44 in 114 minutes.
When Maharashtra's paceman Salil Ankola, who made his debut for India on the 1989-90 tour of Pakistan, decided to play first class cricket for Mumbai, he was roped in by Cricket Club of India to be part of their star-studded line-up. On September 2, 1990, Ankola made his first 'A' division Kanga League appearance on a maidan. Ankola's side lost to hosts Sunder CC at Cross Maidan by a narrow, one-wicket margin. The match also gave him an opportunity to interact with Hemu Dalvi, a swing bowling exponent in his time. Dalvi was secretary of Sunder CC and had also nurtured many fast bowlers through his coaching stint with Jhunjhunwala College in Mumbai.
Dilip Vengsarkar represented Dadar Union even after his international retirement in 1991-92. He wouldn't hesitate to turn up at the various maidans when Dadar Union played. Amazingly, he played his A division club cricket only for Dadar Union for quarter of a century. There was never a question of him being lured by other clubs.
Like his heroes Sunil Gavaskar and Dilip Vengsarkar, Sanjay Manjrekar took pride in representing Dadar Union, whether at the plush gymkhanas or modest maidan clubs. mid-day remembers Manjrekar and Vengsarkar turning up for the 1990 Kanga League game against Khar Gymkhana on their return from the 1990 tour of England. On September 9, Manjrekar scored an invaluable 27 which helped his team get their first point of the tournament through a draw.
Unfortunately, his busy schedule didn't allow Tendulkar to go to the maidans regularly in the 1990s. But he did play for Cricket Club of India (CCI) early in his career, and on one occasion, turned up for the club after arriving the night before from an overseas tour. He also represented Shivaji Park Youngsters (his second club) in the 1990 Purshottam Shield, along with Sandeep Patil against Sunder CC at National CC ground in Cross Maidan. Like Vengsarkar and Manjrekar, he too turned up for his club (CCI) on his return from the 1990 tour of England. Tendulkar scored 63 off 58 balls with seven fours and a six in a drawn game against Rajasthan SC. On September 9, he added 71 with Vinod Kambli who also slammed a half-century. There was no rest for Tendulkar on the morrow since he had to leave to represent BCA Colts in the Moin-ud-Dowla tournament in Hyderabad.
Sandeep Patil turned up regularly for Cricket Club of India in the early '90s as well as led Sungrace Mafatlal till it disbanded its cricket team. mid-day remembers Patil completing his club commitments in Kenya and immediately landing up at the Cricket Club of India to help his team in the last match of the 1991 Kanga League against National CC. CCI won the game and the title at the Brabourne Stadium on October 6. Patil scored an entertaining 58 which included four sixes in a row off left-arm spinner Kirit Patel.
The former Pakistan Test opener lived in Mumbai in the early 90s when he married Indian actress Reena Roy. Khar Gymkhana got Mohsin to play for them and although he didn't score too many runs, the handsome cricketer caused quite a buzz in city cricket. He started off with a low score in his first game against Shivaji Park Gymkhana whose left-arm spinner Ashish Bhatt had him stumped for four, but scored 61 in his next game against New Hindu.
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