A Million Broken Windows: A book on what makes Mumbai cricket special

New Delhi, Mar 16 (PTI) The word ‘khadoos’ is intrinsically linked to Mumbai cricket and is believed to be the key ingredient of their 41 Ranji Trophy triumphs.

The literal meaning would be someone who is defiant or stubborn, a character built by the grind of the Mumbai maidans.

‘A Million Broken Windows’ is a book written by senior journalist Makarand Waingankar, who has been an authority on Mumbai cricket for the last five decades.

In this highly enjoyable and anecdotal book published by the ‘Westland Books’, Waingankar narrates stories ranging from emotional to gritty and at times funny.

We have heard how Virat Kohli once saved a game for Delhi hours after losing his father and a similar thing happened with the great Eknath Solkar, whose dad breathed his last during a Ranji final against Bengal in 1968-69.

The author narrates the story.

“The date of the Ranji final was approaching and Bombay needed Eknath’s expertise, but how could he take his mind off his ailing father? “Hardly anyone in the Bombay team or the cricket association knew what Eknath was going through. ‘For more than a week, I hadn’t slept. The Ranji final was approaching and I didn’t know what to do. I decided to play the match but never mentioned to anyone about my father’s condition’,” Eknath recounted.

“On day four, when two youngsters Eknath Solkar and Milind Rege, the two overnight batsmen, returned to the pavilion at the end of play, Solkar was 8 not out and Rege 16 not out. The Bombay camp was tense.

“In the middle of this, came the news that Dhondu Solkar had passed away. Eknath had just come out of the field; his mind was absorbed in his team’s crisis.

“The news of his father’s death shook him out of his senses. With tears rolling down his young cheeks, he performed his father’s last rites like a loving son. He lit the funeral pyre and said bye to the father who had made him the person and the player that he was.

“The entire Solkar family was absorbed in mourning the death of the head of the family. They were shattered. The young Eknath turned to his mother and said that his team needed him. The next morning he was there on the field, more determined than ever before.

“The tears had dried up from his face but the memory hadn’t. Solkar and Rege faced the lethal barrage from the duo, Ramesh Bhatia and Subroto Guha; and they did so with tremendous courage. Their fight had paid off, managing to get the first inning lead; and on the virtue of that lead, Bombay had won the Ranji Trophy.” There are stories about how Wasim Jaffer came to know about his mother’s death in the middle of a Ranji match.

But there are funny ones too, like opener Sudhakar Adhikari, who got married at 9:15 am and by 10:15, he was at the ground for the Ranji match, as skipping a game could have led to him being dropped from the next match.

“The muhurat (auspicious time) for the wedding was 9:03 am. It was to take place at Matunga, a central suburb which is about an hour’s travel from the Brabourne stadium, the venue of the match.

“Polly Umrigar (captain), was surprised when Adhikari told him that he would be a little late for the match that day. The match was to start at 10.30, but the toss and other formalities and warm-up began much earlier. Adhikari requested to be excused from attending the formalities for that one day and informed his captain that he would reach by 10.15 am.”

Source: PTI News


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