Pune, formerly Poona, has a history in the inception of cricket by Englishmen, back in 1885. Youngsters and local clubs have carried on the torch although many wished for more laurels by the state.
When in Pune you’re not far from Mumbai, conjuring up images of cricket. In the shadow of their illustrious cousins across the Western Ghats, Pune, a part of the Maharashtra Cricket Association , has its own heroes and cricket culture. It is best echoed in the fact that some journalists still describe the Mumbai Vs Maharashtra domestic championship match as of “arch rivals.” Among Pune’s personalities, the late Professor DB Deodhar stands out – he did not play Test cricket because his prime was the period 1915-20 when India was still not a Test nation.
Among other stalwarts of Pune cricket are Chandu Borde and Hemant Kanitkar in the 1960s. People will remember Borde best as chief selector in the highly successful World Championship of Cricket in 1985, which India won and established itself as the top team in the world. A more recent memory is the highly spirited 72-year old being the manager for the 2007 away-Tests in England which India swept 2-0. So, like former India captain Wadekar, Borde is billed a renaissance man.
Chetan Chauhan is remembered for being Sunil Gavaskar’s opening batting partner in the ‘80s. Because he represented Delhi later, few know he was from Maharashtra and came up the hard way, cycling 15 kilometres as a boy, to practice. Hemant Kanitkar and son Krishikesh made appearances for India in the ‘60s and ‘90s respectively. Other yesteryear heroes – Vasant Ranjane, a fast bowler in the ‘50s, Vijay Hazare and the legendary Vinoo Mankad, all capped by India.