First Indian cricketer to be conferred with the MBE medallion
Combining cricketing acumen with a human touch! Well, M.V. Narasimha Rao is the first Indian cricketer ever to be conferred with the prestigious Member of British Empire (MBE) medallion for his contribution to promoting the sport and also for community service through cricket during the testing times faced by the ethnic community in Northern Ireland.
Sense of pride
And back home in the city for holidaying, the 58-year-old Bobjee -- as he is popularly known in cricketing circles -- who played for India in four Tests in 1979 under Sunil Gavaskar’s captaincy feels that he has every reason to look back at his stay in Ireland since 1989 with a sense of pride and immense satisfaction.
“MBE is like getting a Padma Award in India. There is so much aura associated with it.
Terms it a ‘huge honour’
“It is a huge honour, and you are a special invitee to all the functions of the Royal Family back in England,” says a smiling Bobjee as he relaxes at his residence in Marredpally in the company of his wife Josephine and son Suresh (his two daughters stayed back in Ireland as they have to attend college).
“Well, these are the awards which give you a new direction and fresh hopes to do something more special for humanity,” he feels.
“In terms of getting recognised back in Ireland, it did a lot.
“But the fact that I continue to be the chairperson of the North Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities (mostly featuring Polish, Indians and Chinese) is only like getting involved in community service to a great extent,” he points out.
On cricketing assignments, he said, “I take pride in reminding that nine of the boys whom I coached were members of the Ireland World Cup team in 2011, and they include the most famous of all, Kevin O Brien (the centurion against England in the World Cup),” says the beaming cricketer, who is also the Director of Cricket Development Programmes, NW Cricket Union.
Test status for Ireland
“The target we set for ourselves is to see that Ireland gets Test status by 2020,” he insists.
Incidentally, this is the silver jubilee year since Hyderabad last won the Ranji Trophy in 1987 under Bobjee’s captaincy.
“Definitely, it pains when you see Hyderabad performing badly.
“I sincerely believe that V.V.S. Laxman should take up a big role in the HCA (Hyderabad Cricket Association) affairs to give a new direction to the young talent,” he signs off in exasperation.