By Prahlad Tanwar
Everyone in India grows up playing ‘gully’ cricket, with a rubber or tennis ball, makeshift stumps and bat. A privileged few play the real game. Every young man believes he would make it to a first class cricket team if he wasn’t pushed into a career in medicine or engineering. But all are armed with fanatic passion, questionable understanding of the rules, and constant exposure to the sport, making cricket the one great love that won’t go away.
When Deepak ‘the drama chandra’ came back in 2016, with a British passport and plans to relive his passion for cricket in Mumbai, the KCC India flag was bound to fly there. In a bar room conversation with a group of friends he proposed starting KCCI. Memories of cricketing exploits, a rekindling of the dormant passion, set the ball rolling. Amid great excitement and enthusiasm, KCC India was conceived, and born, with WhatsApp playing midwife.
Since its formation in 2016, the team now has 45 active members. Deepak’s regular updates on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have made it possible for some to fly down from other cities to catch a game. Someone even spotted an advertisement on a milk carton! We hope to have a formidable bench strength soon.
So far, KCCI has played 6 games at some premier venues, participated in 3 tournaments and recorded countless hangovers.
The team took part in the annual Buddies Bash tournament in Goa in April, played at the picturesque Munnar grounds set amidst lush tea gardens in October, and then of course the high point of the year – the tour to England in the summer. The KCCI team played 4 games at some delightful grounds in and around London. The tour ended with a visit to Lord’s to watch the first Test between England and South Africa. Sadly, attempts to run the ground out of Pimms, failed.
The season ended with a gala dinner for sponsors, wives and girlfriends. It was a night to remember, though many claim to have no recollection whatsoever the next morning. Besides the traditional awards for top performances, were the fiercely contested ‘Captain’s Nightmare’ and ‘Sir Donald’ categories (they went to deserving winners, pulled out of a hat).
The highlight of this memorable evening, however, was the honouring of Deepak (inset) when he was presented with the Maroon Jacket, a tradition started by KCC in the UK to recognise exceptional service to the club. KCC India continues this tradition and saw fit to award Deepak for his commitment and drive in founding the India chapter of KCC.
Looking forward, KCC India has already charted an exciting course for 2018: two domestic tours to Goa and Munnar, and two international tours, to Sri Lanka at the end of January, and Croatia in June 2018.