The Telegraph
Monday , February 25 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Club sandwich

CC&FC has swung into carnival mode with the club’s 221st birthday party on Saturday evening. The celebrations at the Gurusaday Road club precede a biggie — The Telegraph Cup Cricket 2013 for Corporates, February 26 onwards. Dating back to the “late ’70s”, the six-a-side, five-over tournament wraps up on March 16.

Eoin Morgan dropped by with a couple of his England teammates for nets at CC&FC during their tour last year. Picture by Pabitra Das

Battling for corporate cricket glory are 64 teams with their eyes on the Main Plate, Silver Plate and Bowl Plate. Divided into 16 groups with each comprising four teams, expect the Yuvraj Singhs and the Virender Sehwags of the corporate world to drive, pull and cut. “They are not regular cricketers, but everyone wants to be a Yuvraj or a Sehwag! Sometimes they might get caught… they might have told their girlfriends and their wives that they are super cricketers, but it’s all fun!” smiled club CEO Deepankar Nandi.

Corporate cricket at CC&FC is also marked by camaraderie. And you’ll have to see it to believe it! Lusty cheering that can put any professional cheerleader to shame, bonding after a day’s game with colleagues, unwinding with family over lip-smacking grub or just relaxing… this tournament sees it all. Living it up have been teams like Selvel, HSBC EDP (last year’s Main Plate winners), McLeod Russel and CESC, who come back year after year.

For some like Jahan Mehta of Selvel, it is all the more special because he gets to play alongside his dad, Noomi Mehta. Besides the “friendly rivalry and wonderful atmosphere”, for Jahan, that’s a great kick. He picks one year as particularly special, when the father-son combination was on fire. “My father got the best bowler’s award and I had some seven or eight stumpings,” he smiles.

Such is the call of the Cup that the club has to restrict entry. “In the early years there might have been 30-plus teams. These days we have a tough time restricting it to 64. Otherwise it could go up to 80! It helps us while drawing up the groups and finishing the tournament within three weeks because it is a multi-sports ground,” says Nandi.

The club’s cricket committee draws up the tournament roster one-and-a-half months prior to the scheduled start.

Helping ensure quality cricket is a lush outfield. “The ground is in top shape. Playing here, under the floodlights, is another highlight. Anyone wanting to play cricket, should look forward to playing here,” says Nandi.

As the club brings downs the curtains on its cricket season with this tournament, the corporates get a top turf that has been watered and rolled. “We start preparing the grounds for the cricket season from September and it remains closed for two months… till mid-November,” says Nandi.

Like every year, besides cricket, there will be entertainment and exhibition matches too.