Debating India

Gujarat plays communal cricket

Monday 2 May 2005

Express News Service

Ahmedabad, May 2: In India, cricket is not played along religious lines. At least not since the Bombay Quadrangular and Pentangular tournaments played during the Raj which divided people on communal lines.

In the event organised by Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations (Gujarat State), Vijay Cricket Club may have taken home the cup but the spirit and bonhomie emerged real victors.

The Quadrangular and Pentangular tournaments earlier divided people along communal lines, but this event was held to promote unity,” said Manohar Trikannad, the organisation’s state president.

We felt cricket was the ideal medium to spread this message,” he said.

All teams cheered the winners at the prize distribution ceremony held on Sunday at HL Commerce College ground.

This is the first time I have participated in such a tournament and I enjoyed it a lot,” said Sheikh Akbar, captain of Hussaini Cricket Club, Sarkhej.

We all played in the right spirit and there was absolutely no animosity. When we took the field, we were only cricketers,” said the skipper whose team was knocked out in the quarter-final.

It would be good if such tournaments are held more often. It was wonderful to play with teams of other faiths,” said player Sheikh Mohammamad Ebrahim.

Tejinder Singh of Sher-e-Punjab agreed. “It would be great if such tournaments were held every three months.”

Ram Ratna from Vijay CC said, “It was a great experience and I am proud to be part of the winning team. This has been a unique experience and has helped us understand that we all should not fight in the name of religion.”

Trikkanad was earlier apprehensive about approaching teams from riot-hit areas. “But we were surprised by the overwhelming support from teams, especially from Juhapura,” he said.

The tournament was a success. Teams displayed sportsman spirit and also appreciated other teams’ efforts,” he said. That’s because in India cricket is not played on religious lines, it’s a religion itself.

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