Two years ago, the Malin landslide had completely quashed the spirits of the budding cricket team of Malin, Balvishweshwar Cricket Club, after they lost two of their key members. However, the youngsters of the village who lost their family members and teammates have rebuilt their team by practising every weekend and playing tournaments in the surrounding villages.
“While our morale was low after losing family members and team members, a few of us got together and decided to restart. We lost our captain Ravindra Jhanjare and ace player Yogesh Dangat. However, we were down but not out, and decided to rebuild a new team,’’ said Suraj Jhanjare, one of the team members.
His friend, Mangesh Jhanjare, said that they had approached authorities but did not get a good response. However, not to be bogged down, these two youngsters with others, studying for various ITI courses, revived the club. Dressed in grey and fluorescent yellow shirts with their names on it, they have managed to play quite a few matches with the nearby villages and done well. Rahul Lembe, another team member, said that the tournaments would start after the monsoon season. “We have slowly got our members back and the village which was known for its cricket will get its name back,” he said.
Amar Shelke and Samire Lembhe said that they had over the past two years acquired cricket bats and wickets with their own money as there was no help from any front. “While the administration is proactive with the rehabilitation work, we decided to help youngsters who have lost family members to move on with their lives by either studying or doing a job or playing cricket,’’ said Suraj.
The team, earlier of 13 youngsters, was well-known in the village and the surrounding areas as it was quite invincible in local cricket tournaments. However when it came to fighting against nature, they were no match for it. Last year, they pledged to revive the cricket fever and have been doing that on weekends and slowly and surely Malin would not just be known for the unfortunate tragedy but also for its cricket team, said the young players. The revived ‘Balvishweshar Cricket Club’ has no permanent captain but they keep encouraging youngsters to participate in team activities and be part of this informal club.
They hope that with wins at various tournaments, it will be easier for them to find a coach and the families of these youngsters add that it is best that they devote their time to cricket rather than to some addiction. “Some youngsters who have lost many family members and got compensation are earning well and if they do not devote themselves to work or sports, they can easily take to addictions. We want them to revive the cricket team,’’ said Tukaram Lembe, a school teacher.