A conglomeration of former cricketing stars illuminated the otherwise gloomy overcast conditions at the Thapar Stadium, AOC Grounds Secunderabad where a cricket carnival by the Hyderabad veteran cricketers was organised to commemorate the 75th birthday of the president of the Veterans Cricket Association of Hyderabad Captain Manohar Sharma on Sunday. The morning showers cast a gloom over the match but it did not dent the spirit of these veteran cricketers.
For many of them, it was time to take a walk down memory lane – remembering old pranks and jokes they played on one another. The Ranji cricketers, past and present, were felicitated with jerseys. Speaking on the occasion, Azharuddin thanked the cricketers and administrators for aiding his growth as a cricketer. “People compare my batting style with VVS (Laxman) but it is a fact that VVS is the best cricketer the state has ever produced,’’ he said. Meanwhile, Laxman said, it was a great opportunity to meet fellow cricketers as well as selectors and coaches all at one place. “It would be nice if all of us can meet once a year to learn from each other and work for the growth of cricket,” he said.
Sharma recalled his days at the AOC Center in 1963. “It was at this very place that I began my cricketing career,” he said. “I have played Ranji Trophy for 20 years. This ground has been very lucky and has produced many sporting luminaries in the country,’’ he said.
Vijay Mohan Raj, the secretary of Veterans Cricket Association, said it was a wonderful occasion to bring all veterans like Mohd AzhAaruddin, VVS Laxman, Arshad Ayub, Venkatapathi Raju, Noel David, Dilip Reddy and Akshat Reddy and several other players together. In the end it was a memorable event.