Chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar has asked the Cricket Board to adopt the Inter-Universities cricket tournament for the Rohinton Baria Trophy to bring back the glory days of the tournament when a number of future Test cricketers graduated from this event.
"I take this opportunity to appeal to the Indian Cricket Board to adopt Inter-Universities Cricket which was the platform for Test cricketers like Ajit Wadekar, Sunil Gavaskar, Sanjay Manjrekar and yours truly besides Milind Rege (former Mumbai Ranji Trophy captain). I congratulate Mumbai University for regaining the Rohinton Baria Trophy after two years," said the former India skipper at a felicitation function at the Wankhede Stadium on Friday night.
Mumbai Cricket Association, of which Vengsarkar is a Vice President, had organised the function to honour the MCA's Under-22 and Under-17 teams which have won the Col C K Nayudu and Vijay Merchant trophy tournaments conducted by the BCCI apart from the Mumbai University team which the MCA supports financially.
MCA also handed out cheques of Rs 50,000 each to 47 players who were part of the victorious under 22 and under 17 campaign, disbursing a total of Rs 23.5 lakh in the process, and a citation to them as well as the Inter-University champions.
"I had played for Mumbai and also captained the inter- universities team against the visiting England team (led by Tony Greig in 1976)," recalled Vengsarkar about the regular fixture, which used to be adopted by the BCCI in yesteryears, by scheduling a match between the tourists and the combined varsities side.
Vengsarkar, who is also a selector on the MCA panel, also gave a clarion call to the youngsters assembled not to neglect their studies and at least complete their graduation even while pursuing the willow game which, he felt, will stand them in good stead after their playing career.
"Playing cricket is important while education too is. Cricket can provide you all for 20 years, but education can then take care of your needs for 30 years. I want every Mumbai cricketer to be educated. I would ask all parents here to see that their children get educated," said Vengsarkar in the presence of Mumbai varsity officials.
Rege advised the cricketers to study the history of Mumbai cricket too and get inspiration from the plethora of great players it has produced.
"Mumbai has great history. We have a few players who have played 30 Tests and some others who have played 100 Tests. Mumbai batsmen's contribution must be 60 per cent of all totals raised by India," he said.
"I advise all the youngsters not just to perform but to perform with a goal. That's what great cricketers like Vijay Merchant, Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar, Ravi Shastri, Sandeep Patil, and Dilip Vengsarkar had pursued unlike someone like Milind Rege who was content to just play cricket (without a goal)," he said candidly.
MCA's Secretary P V Shetty gave an example of how important it was to be a graduate even while excelling in the game.
"Some time ago Sanjay Patil (former Mumbai player and current selector) had persuaded Mumbai Customs to provide jobs for five cricketers. But they did not get the job as they (Custom) wanted only graduates," he said.