February 27, 2011

Triplicane Cricket Stories

Is there someone out there who could compile the 50 fascinating stories of grassroot cricket and cricketers in our city?
If there is one, there is lots of material which could make a good book.
A book like this should have come out now. A time when the 2011 edition of the ICC World Cup has rolled out and will generate much excitement, debate and partying in the days to come.
If there is one neighbourhood which will find a place in most of these cricket stories it has to be Triplicane - one of the oldest neighbourhoods of Madras and the only one to grow around a cricket stadium.
To source these stories you will have to locate the men who must be in their 50s, 60s and 70s who lived on and off the streets that lead to Sri Parthasarathy Temple and all the streets that run between Wallajah
Road, Bells Road and Triplicane High Road.
Triplicane’s immediate neighbour, Mylapore also has had its share of grassroot cricket. After all, only ‘thopes’ and scrub land grew between the two when they used to be prominent villages of this city.
My source of Triplicane stories is sportsperson A V Vidya Sagar. Sagar grew up here, learnt his cricket lessons on the lanes, on Marina’s sands and at Chepauk and almost made it to the A team.
Today, he devotes all his time to table tennis, coaching and creating young champs. In March, he will open his grand TT playing centre in the East Coast Road area of Palavakkam.
His cricket stories tumble out during my occasional visits to the TT hall that can be fully completed if Sagar gets a few more donors or the Sports Development Authority of TN supports him.
The last story I heard was of the times when the great sports journalist and writer Rajan Bala used to head to the Triplicane adda every evening after work and enjoy the debates and the drink.
Yes, there are lots of stories on Tamil Nadu cricket you get to read in a book titled ‘ Mosquitoes and Other Jolly Rovers’ written by V. Ram Narayan. Ram jots his experiences of playing in open spaces like
the one that existed at the junction of Mowbrays Road ( TTK Road) and C. V. Raman Road in Alwarpet.
But some one out there should write on the Triplicane cricket. There is a lot to be told and shared.

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