Heroes honoured

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 06 Jan 2018 12:07:05

Sports Reporter,

 VCA fetes Ranji Trophy heroes in grand gala

THE occasion demanded a show of grandeur. Vidarbha’s cricketing history had seen its first Ranji Trophy champion after an agonising wait of six decades. Faiz Fazal and his team of fighters had made it possible. And the heroes were deservingly accorded a grand felicitation on Friday evening in a spectacular function organised by Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA).

The team, coaches Chandrakant Pandit and Subroto Banerjee, and entire support staff were the toast of the ceremony held at VCA, Civil Lines ground. The association hailed its champions by staging a superb show that chronicled Vidarbha cricket’s journey and the story of this team that created history by winning the maiden Ranji Trophy title.

ICC Chairman Shashank Manohar and VCA President Anand Jaiswal handed over mementoes and cash awards to the team and support staff amid thunderous applause.A huge gathering of former players, officials, families of the team members and current VCA players gave a standing ovation to the history-making team as they entered the ground from the Residential Academy in their now trademark disciplined queue.

The giant Ranji Trophy kept on the big stage provided a solid backdrop to the players trooping out for their first public felicitation. A video film captured the journey of Vidarbha’s dream season. It had the glimpses of what went into making of the champions. It had the mantra Chandu Pandit gave to the bunch of dreamers.Pandit shared those feelings later in the acceptance speech. So did skipper Faiz.

This team was ready to die for Vidarbha: Pandit

It was Pandit who instilled self-belief through his khadoos culture and he did not shy away from accepting his harsh way of coaching. “Our goal was to create history. The biggest thing I got from this team was respect. If I had told them to jump from the first floor they would have never hesitated. When you get such support and respect from a team, nobody stops them from becoming champions,” Pandit said.The Mumbaikar was given a free hand by the VCA administration and Manohar himself while handling the team. “When I first met him, Manohar sir told me do whatever you want but teach these boys good cricket,” he recalled.Pandit was effusive in the praise of the team saying this team was ready to die for Vidarbha. And that made the difference.“

In the final, Siddhesh Neral was hit on the helmet and he wanted to come back. I told him stay there, score runs even if it costs you your life. And he did not look back. This attitude was the difference between Vidarbha and other teams,” Pandit added.The coach also hailed VCA’s efforts in making everything available. “Usually people say there is a woman behind every successful man. In Vidarbha’s case there was the association behind this team’s success,” he said.Pandit also had special mention for Vice-President Prashant Vaidya, who he said was available for him all the time.

Tough but happy journey: Faiz

In his speech, captain Fazal talked about influence of Pandit on the team. “Chandu sir is khadoos. But had he not been khadoos we would not have played khadoos cricket. He has a huge hand in this win. I wish he stays with us for a long time,” the captain said.Fazal also thanked Banerjee for his guidance to the bowlers and batsmen too.“It has been a tough but happy journey. We had players who were ready to put their hand up and take responsibility. This victory is actually a team effort, team of players, coaches and administration,” Fazal said.

Fazal, who emerged second highest scorer of the season, thanked his family members, families of other players and even the ground staff who made it to Indore for the final.
“The support we got in Indore made a lot of difference,” he said.Fazal also made special mention of his 93-year-old grandfather who supports every team member and spiritual head Amiruddin Malak for his blessings.Adv Jaiswal made the introductory remarks while Secretary Bhoopinder Singh Bhatti proposed a vote of thanks. Dr Ram Thakur conducted the programme. Prashant Vaidya, Treasurer Murali Pantula and Joint Secretary Parimal Vaidya shared the dais.