This 1971 win too was as sensational as Ajit Wadekar’s victory in twin tour of West Indies and England

This 1971 win too was as sensational as Wadekar’s victory in twin tour of West Indies and England in same year. A function to felicitate the players from that team had gathered at a plush MCA venue in BKC.
“I have had interaction in a different capacity with players of Mumbai Ranji winning team of 1971. We remember the wins of  Mumbai in Ranji Final always and think how they must have played in that situation ?” Sachin was giving tribute to Mumbai’s 1971 Ranji win (which was achieved without main players in team)  in a video message.
“Not an inch given ” Amol Muzumdar was defining Mumbai cricket in one sentence.
‘Mumbai players used to play for their cap” Maharashtra prolific scorer Milind Gunjal described the attitude of Mumbai players aptly,
” ‘Sodu nakos  (dont give up) ‘ was a buzzword of Mumbai players… Mumbai cricket was dada (big brother at all levels ) those days.” Legend Dilip Vengsarkar was talking at a function organized by Dwarkanath Sanzgiri for felicitations of Mumbai players who won the Ranji Trophy in 1971 under the captaincy of Sudhir Naik.
“Maharashtra was a topper in the West zone and had all big names like Chandu Borde, Anwar Shaikh, Madhu Gupte, Nicky Sadhana, Hemant Kanitkar, and Chetan Chauhan. So we had to make a plan to get them out early. Luckily for us, we scored 287 in the first innings, thanks to Ramnath Parkar’s hundred and Shivalkar Atul Mehta partnership for 8th wicket. I made a trap for Chandu Borde on the leg side and got him out in the 40s” Captain Sudhir Naik was narrating a victory journey.
“Mumbai was never a number two side and there was no question about their bowling class with Abdul Ismail, Ajit Pai, and Shivalkar in team” Chandu and Nicky Saldhana ( he took six wickets in the first innings and scored 50 as well ) had no hesitation in accepting the dominance of Mumbai.
The program to give Rs. 50,000 each to team members of that Mumbai team had a touch of poetry and flavor of Kolhapuri Rassa (a famous mouth-watering dish from Maharashtra).
“Facing Mumbai bowlers like Ghavri and Abdul Ismail  was frightening ( a horror movie experience ?) for other states. A player from Haryana even once pleaded  Karsan Ghavri not to bowl bouncer as he was going to get married soon” Vengsarkar made everyone burst in nonstop laughter with his anecdotes.
“I had a lot of tension to lead hence had a bad match as a batsman ” Sudhir Naik spoke about his batting failure in the final against Maharashtra.
“I had scored tons of runs before that final and had lost concentration in final so failed to score ” Madhu Gupte the high scorer for Maharashtra in that season wanted to erase the memory of the match from his mind forever.
” Mumbai played well and so they won ” Chandu Borde did not mince words in Mumbai praise.
“Mumbai players had a special way of sledding and that used to put a lot of pressure on opposition” Chandu Borde admitted batsmen were already out in mind before coming to bat against Mumbai.
“Mumbai total with Gavaskar, Mankad, Parkar and other great batsmen was already 700 plus in minds of opposition before even match started” Kadu Bhai (Ghavri) spoke of opponents team meeting funny discussion where they had concluded it would be a big score from Mumbai’s giants.
“I did not understand why captain Borde did not use pacer A. khan and allowed Mumbai tail to wag. Otherwise, we would have got first innings lead’ Anwar Shaikh another great bowler of Maharashtra was amused about the tactics of the captain.
” I was a junior but was still appointed captain as senior batsman Vijay Bhosale was not sure about his place in Mumbai team, though he and Mahesh Sampat both scored a crucial fifty in the second innings to allow  Mumbai to set decent target”
Sudhir played a Dwarka googly well.
Ageas  Federal Life Insurance had sponsored this program , courtesy cricketing passion of Shri Vighnesh Shahane, MD and former Mumbai player. MCA has also offered its the venue for this classic evening.
Pappu, ( as Dwarkanath is lovingly called) you made our day in spite of so many hurdles ( Covid restrictions, getting connection of old players, and arranging the interviews of players who were part of that final).
As much as Mumbai players who won the trophy in absence of stars and created history,  Pappu  played some magnificent out-of-box reverse sweeps to make the session lively.
“Mumbai players are always ready to play on any wickets as they grow up playing on Azad Maidan where they face best bowlers of the country on worst prepared wickets sometimes. ” Milind Gunjal rightly pointed out the secret of Mumbai’s world-class batting talent.
” Any senior cricketer is welcome in the dressing room of Mumbai for advice ” new and hopeful  Mumbai coach confirmed that doors are open for good of Mumbai cricket.
It was a special occasion sitting with the likes of  Sulakshan Kulkarni, Ajit Pai, Deepak Jadhav, Gopal Koli and others who were ‘moved ‘ but unmoved for two hours forgetting all the worries of life , listening to stories of Mumbai cricket.
I am sure in the times of pandemic, oxygen level of each and everyone attending the function must have exceeded the normal levels in the  hall of MCA club where the different 71 story (not the famous West Indies England ) was articulately narrated.
Biryani 1971  (A win in   West Indies and England   ) which we have been eating again and again with a renewed vigor so many times fills us with satisfaction, no doubt,   but this Kolhapuri masala preparation (A Mumbai win of 1971) has left a lingering taste in the mouth.
Thanks Pappu for making our one more evening excitingly joyful.
Aju Deshpande
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