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India House Team Wins in An Exciting Finish

Consul General of India Sanjiv Arora, President of India House Jugal Malani, Cricket Match Organizers P. V. Patel and Showri Nandagiri at celebratory Cricket Luncheon held after the match. Photographer: J R Lakhani

By Showri Nandagiri

HOUSTON: On Sunday April 29, there was a festival cricket match between India House and Consulate General of India. For cricket lovers who crave exciting finishes, the finale of this match was just that – the most nerve wrecking ever in Houston! The 70 odd spectators and players had a wonderful camaraderie, topped off with a fabulous lunch after the match.

The Consulate team was headed by the Consul General who showed his personal commitment to this initiative by arriving from an official tour on Saturday night and was present throughout the event. He played all through the game, and provided guidance, motivation and encouragement to his team. He also displayed his fielding and bowling skills, taking one wicket in the only over bowled by him.

For India House, President Jugal Malani was equally committed to put together a good team, and even though he was a non playing captain, he was on the side line all day long encouraging his team.   Both captains greeted and cheered each other’s teams.

The match started at 10 am with both team captains calling for the toss. Consul General Arora won the toss and put India House to bat.

The India House team had a judicious mix of senior citizens exhibiting their fine cricketing skills, ably assisted by younger players including Andy Bhardwaj. They scored 139 runs in 20 overs.  Rameshwar (41), Ramesh (31) and Dharmendra (20) were the principal scorers.

For CG’s team, Kaushik bagged 3 wickets for 27 runs. The only unfortunate episode during the innings was that the Secretary of India House Board, Paul Madan had to be taken to the emergency for minor bruises after he fell while running between the wickets. He was later discharged and joined the team during the luncheon.

The CG’s team went in to bat chasing a score of 140 runs to win in 20 overs. Some of the young players were hitting out to score.  The CG’s team  needed three runs to win in the last over of the game, with nine wickets gone for a score of 137. Kaushik (31), Gopal (20), Manu (18), Abhishek (14), Sundy (13) and Shivkant (9) were the main scorers.

Encouraging other team members to play, the Consul General did not have a chance to bat – when he came to the field towards the very end, there were no runs taken by the batsman at the striking end.

For India House, Andy and Ramesh Rao respectively bagged 3/23 and 1/25 wickets.

Spectators were on their feet during the last over, which was a do or die situation for both sides. Thanks to a super play effort by Dharmendra (two run outs and one catch) and a fine piece of bowling by Andy, the remainder of the over did not yield any more runs, and India House won by a narrow margin of two runs!

This Cricket Match is another example of how Consul General Sanjiv Arora actively reached out to the community and also promotes “public – private partnerships” as he stated at the luncheon. Consul General Arora, as an advisor to India House, suggested to India House President Jugal Malani to host a friendly cricket match.  President Malani swiftly implemented the idea after getting approval from the IH Board. He requested Board members Showri Nandagiri and Prakash Patel to be the chief coordinators and make all the necessary arrangements for the match.

They put a team together and got them some much needed practice.  On his part, Consul General asked his Executive Assistant, Raghuvir Singh to coordinate.  As the Consulate has limited staff, CG’s office welcomed the offer of Mr. Witty Bindra, President of IIT Alumni of Greater Houston (IITAGH) to include a few of their members in the team.  IITAGH’s Gopal Agarwal agreed to be the Vice Captain.  The result was an entertaining cricket match on a beautiful afternoon for the Indian Community of Greater Houston.

At the luncheon after the match, the CG presented the trophy to the winners, India House. CG also applauded the efforts by President Malani and his team for the excellent cooperation and coordination in arranging this match.  He also thanked IITAGH President Witty Bindra and his colleagues.  Both CG and President Malani announced that this match would be an annual feature.  The audience responded with a Texas sized applause.


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