A History of Cricket in Pune and Maharashtra
Historic Clubs in Pune:
Cricket has a rich history in Pune. There are many famous clubs in Pune that have nurtured some fantastic cricket players who have gone on to play for the Maharashtra Ranji team or the Indian National Team. Three of the oldest and most famous clubs in Pune are PYC Hindu Gymkhana, Pune Club, and Deccan Gymkhana.
PYC is an old and famous club. It started its cricket coaching program as well as the Maharashtra Cricket Association in 1900. It has nurtured and coached many famous players such as C.K. Nayudu, who was the first captain of India in test matches, and Vijay Hazare who was a batsman who captained fourteen matches for India. It is also the home to players such as Surendra Bhave. Surendra Bhave was the captain of the Maharashtra Ranji team that played against Punjab in the finals in the 1992-93 season and soon after became a selector for the Indian team. He is now the Head of Cricket at PYC.
Deccan Gymkhana is also a famous club. This club was started in 1906. It is home to modern players such as Kedar Jadhav and Rahul Tripathi. Kedar Jadhav is a batsman and now is a member of the Indian National team. Rahul Tripathi is also a batsman who trained at Deccan Gymkhana since he was twelve and now plays in the IPL for the Rising Pune Supergiants.
Pune Club is another famous and beautiful ground. It is known for its amazing outfield. Many Ranji matches were played here as well.
Along with these historic clubs, there are some well-known, modern clubs in Pune. For example, Cadence is a club that was started in 2000 by Ajay Shirke. Ajay Shirke was the head of cricket in Maharashtra for about nine years. Another modern club in Pune is Varroc, Vengsarkar Academy. These clubs have been founded more recently compared to PYC and Deccan Gymkhana.
These clubs are very well known around Pune for their cricket programs. They train thousands of kids every year. These clubs play a significant role in nurturing and developing tomorrow’s cricketers.
Iconic Cricket Players from Maharashtra:
The icons of Indian cricket from Maharashtra in the early days include D.B. Deodhar, Bapu Nadkarni, Hemant Kanitkar, and Surendra Bhave. D.B. Deodhar is known as the Grand Old Man of cricket because he played cricket before the First World War and after the Second World War and retired after playing first class cricket for thirty-six years. He was regarded as an aggressive batsman and a straightforward captain. In the 1980s, the one-day zonal championship, the Deodhar Trophy, was named after him. Bapu Nadkarni was mainly a left-arm bowler but he was a decent all-rounder as well who played forty-one test matches for India. He was known for bowling very consistently and giving away very few runs. He has bowled one of the finest spells of bowling in test cricket when he bowled twenty-one consecutive maidens against England. Hemant Kanitkar was a gritty right-handed batsman and a wicket-keeper. He was a tower of strength for Maharashtra in the Ranji Trophy during his fourteen-year first class career. In his first-class career, he scored 5007 runs at an average of 42.79 and affected eighty-seven dismissals as a wicket-keeper. Although he had many splendid performances in the domestic circuit, he was not able to solidify a spot in the Indian team. Surendra Bhave was a solid batsman who relied mainly on technique. As an opener for the Maharashtra Ranji team, he consistently built large innings. Over time, he developed himself into an able leader and led the Maharashtra team to the Ranji final in 1992-93 season. He finished his fourteen-year career after scoring 7971 runs from ninety-seven matches with an average of 58.18 in first class cricket.
Some cricket players from Pune who have played for India more recently include Hrishikesh Kanitkar and Kedar Jadhav. Hrishikesh Kanitkar, who is the son of Hemant Kanitkar, was an aggressive left-handed batsman, an accurate off-spinner, and a versatile fielder who played two tests matches and thirty-four ODI matches for India. After playing for India, he played in the domestic circuit for about a decade. Kedar Jadhav is also an attacking middle-order batsman and he bowls off-spin. He has played twenty-eight ODIs and six T20Is with an average of 47.16 in ODIs currently. So far in his career, he has showed that he can be a game-changing limited overs player.
Maharashtra Cricket Stadium:
The Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium formerly known as the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium is a large cricket stadium in Gahunje, Maharashtra close to the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. The idea to build a new cricket stadium in Pune began from a dispute with the PMC regarding ticket allocations for Nehru Stadium. An international match between India and Sri Lanka was moved to Kolkata, with the MCA saying that they were not able to host the match. Following this, the MCA decided that a new stadium with better facilities and larger stands was needed. The stadium was designed by a British architectural company named Hopkins Architects. The stadium was established in 2012 and soon after in 2013 the company, Sahara Indian Pariwar, bought the naming rights. At this time, the stadium was named Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium but the name was later changed back to Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium because Sahara did not pay the full Rs. 200 crore it had promised. Recently in November 2015, the MCA stadium was elected as one of the new test venues. This was an important accomplishment for the MCA.
One of the most important features of the MCA stadium is the rainwater drainage system. The MCA made sure the ground was built with a sand-based outfield which helps drain water very quickly even after heavy rainfall. The ground contains fifteen match wickets along with numerous practice pitches. The stadium contains four stands with enough seating for 37, 406 spectators. The stadium has state of the art technology and a large seating capacity making it one of the best stadiums in India.
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