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Home / India / Parsee cricket tourney lot more than matches

Parsee cricket tourney lot more than matches

Willow war at Keenan, Freaky contests & friendships old & new
Managing director of Indian Steel & Wire Products Neeraj Kant shakes hands with the players at Keenan Stadium in Bistupur, Jamshedpur, on Saturday.
Managing director of Indian Steel & Wire Products Neeraj Kant shakes hands with the players at Keenan Stadium in Bistupur, Jamshedpur, on Saturday.
Picture by Bhola Prasad

Jayesh Thaker   |   Jamshedpur   |   Published 04.01.20, 06:33 PM

Willow war on pitch, camaraderie outside the boundary lines.

That’s what cricket means to the Parsees who have now assembled in the steel city for a tournament, which has made a comeback after five years.

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The 33rd edition of Jiji Irani Challenge Cup Tournament, which started at the landmark Keenan Stadium in Bistupur on Saturday, presented a picture of togetherness among around 140 Parsees from Jamshedpur , Calcutta, Secundrabad, Surat and Nagpur. Of them, more than half are players.

The five-day tournament — with two matches of 20-overs-a-side per day — is being hosted by the Jiji Irani Sports Memorial Trust (JISMT) .

The tournament had been started in 1978 by former managing director of Tata Steel J.J. Irani in memory of his father Jiji Irani.

On Saturday, the tournament was inaugurated by Indian Steel & Wire Products managing director Neeraj Kant in the presence of J.J. Irani, his wife Daisy and other guests.

The mood was upbeat from the start. Daisy Shahrukh Patel, 60, rooted for her husband Shahrukh, an allrounder, from the boundary lines, egging him to claim a wicket. The lady from Surat, a veteran drawing teacher at Sir Jamshedji Jeejeebhoy Primary English School, said she loved coming to Jamshedpur and meeting people.

“It’s my third visit to Jamshedpur and I love it as it’s the city of the Tatas and many Parsees still live here,” she said.

She added that on Friday evening, the visitors enjoyed their ice-breaker at a hotel in Bistupur, where the highlight was something called the mismatch contest. “All had to turn up in mismatched outfits. My husband won it,” she beamed. “He wore a tee and a shirt, and track pants and shorts and one sandal one sneaker, all at once. It was hilarious.”

Katy Gabba, ex-chairman of Jamshedpur Parsee Association, said Parsees love cricket. “Action apart, the matches give people the opportunity to find love matches, friends and jobs,” Gabba grinned.

JPA chairman Mediomah Patel added they feel very proud to host Parsees from other cities.

Parsee population across India is less than 50,000. In Jamshedpur, the figure stands at around 140.



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