Cricket is in our DNA, says member of Hyderabad Veterans Cricket Association

Their passion for cricket remains intact despite their hairline receding and mid-riffs are bulging.

They carry cricket kits with same finesse as a professional cricketer and play game true to the spirit of gamesmanship.

Meet the veteran cricketers from Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Anantapur, and Visakhapatnam who are here to participate in the three-day Chukkapalli Pitchaiah Memorial T-20 Cricket tournament at Indira Gandhi Municipal Corporation Stadium.

Leaving their businesses to their trusted aides and taking leave from their jobs, around 50 players have descended on Vijayawada to showcase their talent.

“We cannot imagine life without cricket. It is in our DNA,” says Prasanth, member of Hyderabad Veterans Cricket Association.

“We play the game regularly to keep ourselves fit and also take part in tournaments both in India and abroad to keep the competitive edge intact,” adds Prasanth, who shifted to Hyderabad from Vijayawada seven years ago.

Many associated with the game for decades said cricket was a great leveller and brought to the fore the essence of life.

“Cricket is a game in which 11 players from various walks of life come together on a playfield to achieve a singular goal - victory.

Towards achieving it one goes through a gamut of ups and downs. Cricket teaches teamwork,” says Ch. Arun Kumar, organising secretary of the tourney.

Unmindful of the cramps and hamstring pulls, it was a delightful sight to see ‘the oldies” going ahead with their job meticulously.

Some even jocularly suggested a spray to be kept with the umpire permanently for an instant relief to the ‘suffering” cricketers. “As a coach these tournaments will help us gain on-field experiences which we can pass on to the wards at the training sessions,” says Sagar Chowdary, a National Cricket Academy-level II coach from Anantapur.

The star of the tournament was former Ranji player Swaroop.

“Former Andhra Ranji players like I. Saraswathi Reddy and G. N. Srinivas added sheen to the competition,” says Arun Kumar. The tourney concludes on Sunday with the final played at the Perecherla grounds in Guntur district.