For the few spectators who turned up at the Victory Playground the other day, it was a pleasant surprise when the ageing hoopsters of the Hyderabad Circle (SBI) gave glimpses of their golden days to clinch the honours in the All India SBI inter-circle basketball championship getting the better of Ahmedabad Circle in the final.
Reason for these oldies (average age being 48 and the youngest is Pratap Kumar at 24) in action? Well, the last time sports quota recruitment was done was way back in 2002 when K. Nityanand was the Secretary of Circle Welfare Committee. The sight of former India captain Harikrishna Prasad and P. B. Srinath working in tandem on the flanks with admirable support from the former another India star Md. Rizwan. It is a pity that there were not even a handful of young basketball talent to watch these golden oldies in action. For they had definitely missed the rare picking of what class is all about and the speed is obviously not there with these gentlemen but the grace was pretty discernible. Players like Harikrishna, Rizwan and Srinath were pretty well-known in the art of scoring against some of the toughest opponents during their hey days. Quite interestingly, there were the good old tantrums for which some of the Hyderabad Circle players like Subbaiah Choudhary and Srinath were familiar too. Even today, both these players were pulled back in time eve as they were advancing menacingly towards the rival players after some exchanges. In a way, it was a tribute to the ageing legs too for not many of those in the starting line-up preferred to rest on the bench. In fact, only when the match was well and truly in control in the final quarter, did the coach Norman Issac (also FIBA Commissioner), give the elder statesmen of the team like Prem Krupakar and Chenna Reddy a chance to prove a point or two. At the end of it all, the youthful exuberance of these oldies as they shared their winning moments with some internationals from other disciplines like P. Nagender Reddy, Ibrahim Khan (both table tennis), V. Srikanth Reddy, Vijay Chand (both volleyball) was just the perfect finish for a memorable evening for the true fans of the sport.
Ageing hoopsters of Hyderabad Circle (SBI) give glimpses of their golden days