Mumbai

‘Bunch of boys’ all set for India’s debut at Over-50 Cricket World Cup

Pushing boundaries: The 16-member squad that will represent India at the Over-50s World Cup poses for a picture before their departure.

Pushing boundaries: The 16-member squad that will represent India at the Over-50s World Cup poses for a picture before their departure.  

Professionals from all walks of life to play in South Africa from March 11 to 24; while funding trip on their own, team hopes for support from BCCI in future

At a time when professionals plan for life after retirement, a bunch of cricket-crazy Indians have been training hard for the past few weeks to take their passion to the next level. The players are set to represent India in the second edition of the Over-50 Cricket World Cup, to be played in South Africa from March 11 to 24.

Famous names

While some famous names from yesteryear like Carl Hooper (former West Indies captain) and Eddo Brandes (former Zimbabwe World Cup player) are set to represent their teams in the 12-team event, India is set to make a debut in the cricket tournament with players above the age of 50. Team India is placed in Pool B with countries like Pakistan, England and South Africa.

“At this age, we need more players who can chip in with all three departments of the game, so we have tried to include as many all-rounders as possible,” Shailendra Singh, the captain of the 16-member squad, told The Hindu before departing for the tournament.

Mr. Singh, a corporate executive and a regular at the historic Bombay Gymkhana in his whites over the weekend, hopes to draw inspiration from India’s maiden World Cup triumph in 1983. “The tactic (of having more all-rounders) is similar to that of Kapil Dev’s plan in 1983, which had six to seven all-rounders,” said Mr. Singh.

Mr. Singh is the founder of Percept Ltd., one of India’s first professional talent management company. The squad includes former assistant commissioner of police Iqbal Khan and Mayank Khandwala, who has served as the Mumbai Cricket Association treasurer.

Mr. Singh said his “bunch of boys” are funding the trip on their own with a plan to compete with the best in the tournament. He hoped that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the game’s governing body in the country, will offer support for veterans’ cricket in future. The support is critical for veterans’ cricket to gain momentum, he said.

“The idea is to play well and create an impact on people to draw them towards this form of cricket. A lot of veteran cricketers have given up playing after retirement and are busy with commentary. Such tournaments offer an opportunity for them to be engaged on the field again and emphasise the fact that age is just a number,” Mr. Singh said.

No stopping

“A sportsman should not stop at the age of 50. This format is like women’s cricket and will take time to pick up. It will expand the game to Indians so that more people our age will be inspired to play sport.”

If Mr. Singh’s men can be half as effective against England in its tournament opener on March 11 as Kapil’s batch of 1983, the veterans’ game could find its feet in a cricket-crazy nation.

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 8:50:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/bunch-of-boys-all-set-for-indias-debut-at-over-50-cricket-world-cup/article31018746.ece

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