By Umer Nangiana
One of Indian cricket’s most successful wicket-keeper/bastmen, Nayan Mongia, was in town recently to oversee a community cricket tournament, contested by eight teams representing four countries.
The tournament, held in connection with Qatar’s National Day celebrations, was organised by Cricket Fraternity of Qatar. Tusker India, one of the four teams representing India, won the cup beating SSC Sri Lanka in the finals.
Mongia was the chief guest at the occasion and handed the trophy to the winning team. Always cheerful, always smiling, Mongia’s approach to the game has been refreshingly different. Friendly, modest and unassuming by nature, he has always been one of the easily approachable cricketers.
But once the action starts, Mongia has always been dead serious about the game. A professional approach marked his batting and wicket-keeping. On his first tour of England in 1990, he impressed no less a personality than Alan Knott, who judged him to be a natural.
After a fairly long spell as understudy to erstwhile Indian wicket-keeper Kiran More, Mongia made it to the Indian team in the mid-90s. He displayed lightning quick reflexes while diving to complete a catch or while bringing off a smart stumping. As a batsman, Mongia proved time and again his immense value to the side in the middle order.
He had success while opening the innings too, a fact symbolised by his gallant 152 against Australia at New Delhi in 1996. The knock spoke a lot of his abilities but he wasn’t consistent every time. He has batted at several positions with occasional success, but his keeping remained adept till the end.
In a relatively long career, Mongia has taken several brilliant catches. He retired at the end of 2004, after being left out by Baroda, his home state.
Mongia has a highest Test score of 152, which came against Australia. Mongia retired from first-class cricket in December 2004. Currently, he is a cricket analyst. Mongia holds the record for most catches in a test match (8-twice) by an Indian wicket-keeper.
He also shares with M S Dhoni, the current ODI and T20 captain of India, the record for most dismissals (includes stumpings) by an Indian wicket-keeper in a Test (8).
The countries participating in the Nations Cup were Qatar represented by Qad-Net Team, India by Hanan, Tusker, Shark XI, KSD XI, Great Wall Travels and Friends Circle, Pakistan by Hazara XI and Sri Lanka by SSC Sri Lankan Sports Club. Event sponsor Siraj Virani, Managing Director of Qad-Net Qatar, himself a very enthusiastic cricket player was the guest of honour at the occasion.
In the finals, Tusker India won by five wickets against SSC Sri Lanka. Tusker India won the toss and decided to field first. SSC Sri Lanka were restricted to 102 runs all-out in 11.5 overs. Aswar scored 29 runs and Niyamath 26 runs, to remain the top scorer for SSC Sri Lanka.
Mohsin and Mudassar took three wickets each for Tusker India who chased the target 108 for five wickets in 11 overs. Mohsin scored 35 while Mufas took four wickets. Mohsin of Tusker India was declared the Man-of-the-Match for his all-round performance.
However, the tournament’s bests were Best Bastman Sihan (SSC Sri Lanka), Best Bowler, Shaji (Tusker India), Best All-Rounder, Sajjad (Hazara XI Pakistan), Man of Series, Aswar (SSC Sri Lanka), Fair play award-KSD Great Wall India and extraordinary performance Ifzal of Hazara XI).
The winners and runners up were honoured with the Nation Cup Trophies, individual awards and very attractive cash prizes to winner and runners-up team. The matches were played under floodlight.
The tournament was held at the Old Ideal Indian School grounds. The other sponsors were Al Emadi Group and Feather Touch Trading and Contracting.
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