It was an emotional Sunday for former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar. He was back to the place that is so close to his heart: the Dadar Union Sporting Club in Ramesh Dadkar Maidan, Matunga.
Steeped in tradition, the Dadar Union, known for players’ loyalty and dedication — qualities imbibed by former Test cricketer Madhav Mantri — will be seen in a new avatar.The club, which had a tin shed dressing room (less than 300 square feet) and had been encroached by hutments for the last decade or so, has now got a beautiful pavilion and proper wickets. Vengsarkar, along with Mantri and Vasu Paranjpe, performed a puja there on Sunday."Dadar Union has a great history attached to it. It has given many players to both Mumbai and India. They would take a lot of pride in playing for the club. Domestic cricketers would be happy to be part of the Dadar Union squad even if they weren’t in the playing eleven," said Vengsarkar.Vengsarkar said that the club wasn’t really in a great shape, and hence he approached Mantri to give it a new look.
"The club was in shambles and no one came forward to help. There were snakes, rodents, reptiles all around it. When I saw what it has come to, I told Madhav Mantri that I felt bad and disheartened. He asked me to take over. I want to repay and give back something to the club, which I represented for 25 years. I spoke to the BMC and involved people who could contribute generously," he added.
Vengsarkar is optimistic that Dadar Union will see glory days again.
"We are back to ‘B’ Division in the Kanga League after five years. We will focus on players between the 17 and 23 age-group and instil loyalty and discipline in youngsters," he said. Mangesh Bhalekar, whose club Dadar Parsee Zoroastrian is in the same vicinity, is also confident that the new Dadar Union, which has produced cricketers of the calibre of Vengsarkar, Sunil Gavaskar and Sanjay Manjrekar, will draw people back.