Goa and Cricket

March 1, 2007


With the Cricket World Cup in the Carribean round the corner, this is as good a time as any to ponder on the state of cricket in Goa. It has always been a topic of interest to me that Goa and Goans have not yet made their presence felt in this sport. To the best of my knowledge and I would love to stand corrected on this, no Indian of Goan origin has donned India colors, be it white or blue. If nothing else, given Indian cricket’s appalling fielding standards, it would be very well served with a dose of the celebrated Goan athleticism, which at present is being monopolised by Indian soccer.

 

Considering that Kerala which was, till recently what one would consider a cricket agnostic state, has thrown up two remarkable fast medium bowling talents who answer to the names of Tinu Yohannan and S Sreesanth, it would not be unfair to fantasise a Quadros or a Coutinho tweaking his left arm over and do a Ponting  (not that it tales much to do Ponting ) in flight and being stumped by a Salgoacar. I have not seen too much of cricket being played on Goan grounds like it happens in the rest of India, but I was very impressed when, the other day, travelling from Siolim to Calangute, I saw a most impressive cricket nets being conducted and under lights !!. And it was even more heartening to note that demand seemed to exceed supply by a fair margin going by the wannabe Tendulkars and Dravids jostling with each other for a hit. Being an ardent cricket fan, it was a sight to behold. 

 

A few years back, the Goa Cricket Association had roped in V B Chandrasekhar, who played all too briefly for India, to lead the Goa Ranji Team. For reasons unknown, the experiment did not last long enough for any significant benefits to trickle down, either in the form of the Goa team setting the Ranji stage on fire or more realistically inspiring the next generation to take up the sport. It is relevant to note here that after hanging up his boots, VB has set up a cricket academy in Chennai. How much would it have taken to entice VB do the same in Goa. Which brings us to the fundamental question. Is there enough commitment amongst the powers that be to make Goa a formidable force in domestic cricket. Media reports indicate that a spanking new “exclusively” cricket stadium is coming up in the Tinvim locality. But talent does not necessarily follow infrastructure creation. It takes much more to create a sporting culture than simply building a stadium. Else, countries in the Middle East would be top of the leader boards in the Olympics.

 

Given that international cricket matches that are allotted to non metro locations are few and far between, it may not be a bad idea to use the new stadium for popularising the new emerging 20/20 version of slam bang cricket. 20/20 has all the ingredients for making a visit to the stadium an enjoyable family outing and this may be the best way to inspire the future generations to take up cricket in right earnest. I sincerely hope that cricket gives soccer a run for its money when it comes to attracting Goan sporting talent sooner rather than later.

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10 Responses to “Goa and Cricket”

  1. Bennita Says:

    Gr8 to see u taking the first steps………..All the best!!!

  2. Jason Says:

    Hi Ganesh,

    There are 4 test cricketers of Goan origin, two for India and two for Pakistan. Wallis Mathias and Antao D’Souza have both played for Pakistan in the 1950s and early 60s. Dilip Sardesai, who opened the batting for India on the West Indies tour of 1971 is Goan. Paras Mhambrey, the fast bowler, who went to England with the Indian team in 1996 is originally from Aldona.

    A number of Goans have played cricket for East African countries. Unfortunately, we do not know much details, due to lack of records available. A few names that are prominent are Jack Britto for Malawi and Alban Fernandes for Tanzania as also Lawrence Fernandes for a combined East African side in 1967-1968.

    More recently, Rahul Keni and Saurabh Bandekar played for the India U-19 team. Saurabh played a vital role in India’s runner-up performance at the U-19 Cricket World Cup.

    It is true that a state that has produced 52 internationals for India (excluding age group internationals) in soccer should produce atleast a decent amount in cricket as well. Swapnil Asnodkar, our best cricketer at the moment, is in the South Zone team.

    Cricket is very popular in Goa, but it is the tennis ball variety. For some players, the transition to whites and pads and red balls is hard to make. Some fit in easily, but opt out to concentrate on academics or other career options. Another reason could be that the season-ball cricket culture in Goa (We have no Shivaji Park) is not as big as the some of the major cities in India, and very good players, lose out due to the lack of facilities and infrastructure. Incidentally, Goa is one of the top states in tennis-ball cricket in the country and has produced a fair number of internationals in this less glamorized version of cricket.

    Besides VB Chandrashekhar, a number of former India players have played for Goa. Roger Binny, Praveen Amre, Nikhil Haldipur are a few names that come to mind. We have even had former internationals as Goa coaches. Balwinder Singh Sandhu and Kenia Jayantilal are a couple. The newspapers say Dodda Ganesh has been assigned the responsibility of coaching the Goa team and will be the current coach.

    Getting international players and coaches will not help Goan cricket as much as having a proper and easily accessible cricket facilities, equipment and good pitches (not matted pitches) would.

    There is so much potential for the cricket administrative brains in the state to develop enthusiasm for the game. A national level 20-20 tournament will go very well not only with the public, but also with sponsors, and with the sponsors and money around, you can expect the big names in Indian cricket to be in as well. Hong Kong has its own tournament called the Sixes, which is very popular. There is no reason why a similiar experiment would not work at the Panjim Gymkhana, arguably one of the most scenic grounds in the country.

  3. Harish Says:

    Awesome note. Pleasing writing style. Keep up the good work.

  4. shyam Says:

    gani,interesting topic. engaging style. keep this going.

  5. balaji Says:

    gani:
    interesting and true. A lot of us have wondered why Goa is not good in cricket. keep it going!!!

  6. Glen. Says:

    Gani ,I am indeed proud of your fine literary efforts,You do make a deep,fine,point about goan cricket. Puns intented.
    P.S. Your brother in law is a great guy Best in the world,Practically a saint but you probably already knew it.

  7. Glen. Says:

    Scene: Chinnaswamy Stadium
    Date : March 7 2027
    Time : 10.40 am
    Good morning to all the viewers ,Bright sunny day ,light westerly wind as we have the World cup Champion American bowler marking her runup, turns gathering speed as she comes in right arm over the wicket Nikita quadros fires one in ,bouncer, Trusha Ganesh goes up on her toes and plays it to midoff where Tiku Ganesh is lurking ,she pounces on the ball and hurls it back to the bowler.Good play all around ,
    Any comments Rahul,
    Aah Yes Sachin,I am very impressed with the bowler,good strong lass and a beauty to match I guess she got her talent and looks from her dad ,I heard he is a great guy ,practically a saint.
    Rahul,I do agree with you fully. Now hang on ,my fifty eight year old bladder needs to be emptied.Wait up Sachin, I want to come too.Let Saurav and Anil take over further commentary.the old foggies .Yaar, Saurav is still lobbying for a place in the team, He doesnt give up.

  8. Mohan Says:

    A thought strikes me. Looks like states famous for football are turning out good cricketers – we have Sreesanth and Saurav as samples. 2/15 is good compared to 2 states.

    Though many a times, it occured to me that Tendulkar came too close for my comfort to the likes of cricketers who rested on laurels. Genius shows and we must acknowledge that.

    Gani – nice reading.

  9. Joyce Quadros Says:

    What you have written is very true. The style of writing is very lucid and easy to understand even for cricket illiterates like me.

    I join you in wishing that Goa is as renowned for cricket in the near future as it is for football currently.

    Best wishes for your future writing from your mom in law.

  10. Srinivas Rao Mahankali Says:

    Actually the thought stuck me that Goa was probably closest to the West Indies – sun/sea/sand / laid back .. the reason Cricket has not caught on as much may be due to sociological factors – remember Goa was colonised by the Portugese while the Caribbean were largely colonised by the English..


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