THE Dalit agitation that crippled the city on Wednesday also had a significant impact on the cricket field. The under-14 Giles Shield semifinal match was awarded to the Rizvi Springfield School team after their opponents, Swami Vivekanand High School from Borivali, failed to show up at the Police Gymkhana ground on Marine Drive.
The umpires for the fixture, along with Mumbai School Sports Association (MSSA), decided to forfeit the match
after Swami Vivekanand team failed to show up at the venue by 11.50 am. However, Swami Vivekanand coach Dinesh Lad said the only reason his team couldn’t make it to the Police Gymkhana ground was because the school bus was cancelled due to the protests.
“We all assembled at our school by 6.30 am and were waiting for the school bus. But as I reached school, we were told that the school was closed today due to the Maharashtra Bandh and that there would not be any bus available. There were a few parents, who came from Goregoan and they told us that the police had advised them not to send their kids for the match for safety reasons,” Lad said.
According to the coach, his attempts to then appraise the MSSA officials about his team’s predicament fell through. “They called us and said ‘you can come by train’, but I didn’t want to take any chances with these boys. They are just 12-14 years old, and what if somebody threw a stone at the train and one of them got hit? For me, the children’s safety is more important than the trophy,” Lad said.
Swami Vivekanand, who count Rohit Sharma as an alumnus, will now be writing a letter to the MSSA and Mumbai Cricket Association, citing the unprecedented scenario in which the match was forfeited and request to reschedule