A Play in Three Acts
The late Pradeep Vijayakar
INDIA’S FIRST ENGLISH CRICKET PLAY
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Ó Pradeep Vijayakar 2008
Two old cricket teams of Mumbai ---Prabhu Jolly Young and Parsi Cyclists are playing their last match of the Kanga cricket league. The Prabhus need to win their match to avoid being relegated to lower division. The Parsis need to draw to stay in the same division. Watching the action with anxiety are two fans of either side Shapoorji of the Cyclists and Sokajee of the Prabhus. The play brings to life the community of the maidans in Mumbai. Mention of the maidans creates evocative images of the dawns and dusks, food-sellers and water bottles, smoke and shine, dew and haze that provide a vital background for the sometimes solemn and sometimes light-hearted events taking place on the field. The maidan is the Eden Gardens of the common man, a place where men of all shapes, sizes and ages play cricket with the peculiar intelligence detected amongst those for whom the game is both a human drama and a battle of wits. As England has its village greens, Australia its backyards and Barbados its street struggles so India has had the rituals and traditions of its maidans, patches of grass that awaken as slowly as a slumbering market but then come to life as the rays of the sun start to penetrate and summon.
Foreward by Sunil Gavaskar.
Reviews by Partap Sharma, Peter Roebuck, Geet Sethi and Dilip Chitre.
The late Pradeep Vijayakar was the Assistant Editor of The Times of India which he has served since 1974. He taught in the Times of India School of Journalism. His blog, SPORTVICARIOUS, appears on the Times of India website. He was a Times of India gold medallist from the Rajendra Prasad Institute of Mass Communications. He studied in Mumbai’s St Stanislaus High School, Bandra and St Xavier’s College, famous for sports and studies. He represented the Bombay University at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Course at Nagpur in 1972 He was a rare journalist who has covered a wide range of sports from cricket (5 World Cups) to kabaddi, from bridge to rugby and table tennis, archery, motor sports, martial arts, besides his beloved, cue sports. He played in the same college team as Ashok Mankad and Sunil Gavaskar whose TV serial he wrote the script for later and with whom he co-edited The Times of India’s World Cup book 1999. He has been secretary and was vice-president of the Sports Journalists Federation of India and was the President of Mumbai Press Club He won the Mumbai Sahitya Sangh's award for sports writing in 2006. He has been an active cricketer, table tennis player and swimmer. He was a founder of Indian Squash Professionals, a organisation for the development of the markers of squash. He has presented Sportcenter programme on ESPN. He has done cricket, squash, cue sports, table tennis commentary for Doordarshan and has been a leading radio commentator, doing commentary for Radio Trinidad along with Tony Cozier and Reds Pereira with Sir Garfield Sobers as expert. He has also done the job of scorer for Air’s commentary team in England 1979. After apprenticeship in Free Press Journal, he began work as assistant editor of Kulamarva Balakrishna’s youth paper, HI YOUNG PEOPLE'S NEWSPAPER in 1972. He worked with Khalid Ansari and Sharad Kotnis in Sportsweek from 1972-74 when he founded World of Cricket monthly and Sportsweek Annual. He joined Times in 1974 as Trainee Journalist and has been with the sports desk since 1974. He represented India at the World Sports Journalists Congress in Istanbul,Turkey in 1985. He was invited by the Pakistan President Zia to cover the first Asian Squash Championship in Karachi in 1981, to tour Seychelles along with the East Bengal football team as technical delegate and to cover the Asian Rugby Series in Philippines in 2007. He has covered five World Cups in cricket, two Asians in snooker in Singapore and Sri Lanka, three Asians in squash one in Pakistan and one World Team Squash in 2007, three World billiards and one Asian championships, one World u-21 snooker (2007). He has played cricket for Khar Gymkhana, Shivaji Park Youngsters, Garware Clubhouse teams and toured East Africa with the P.J. Hindu Gymkhana team in 1983.
He has captained the Sports Journalists Cricket Team to two titles in the J.K.Bose all-India sports journalists cricket tournament which he has played for over 30 years. In association with Marine Sports, Pradeep has edited three tour books on the India-South Africa series, and one on World Cup 1992. He has taught news media management at the UPG Institute of Communcations and sports journalism at KC's Bombay College of Journalism and is on the panel of the Times School of Journalism.