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Sunday, March 31, 2019

resentment at Triplicane and Cricketer turned MP


Though Elections are less than 20 days away, there is not much of activity – Triplicane is under an identity crisis ~ for ages, it was Thiruvallikkeni Assembly constituency falling under South Madras – last time, it was merged with Chepauk becoming – ‘Chepauk-Triplicane’ assembly segment falling under Chennai Central.  Last week CM Mr Edappadi campaigned for the PMK candidate near Sri Parthasarathi swami temple, and drew huge turnout – there is obvious resentment against the DMK, more so after the unpalatable remarks of DK Veeramani and failure of DMK leadership to condone such uncivil acts.

Away in the North, lies Karnal which is praised as ‘ricebowl’, a city in Haryana.  Karnal is believed to have been associated with Mahabaratha warrior Karnan. It was a place of refuge for British survivors of the 1857 Uprising in Delhi.  The candidate race for BJP has become hotter after  former Congress leader and two-time Karnal MP Arvind Sharma joining the BJP in the presence of chief minister Khattar in Delhi – there have been many  local leaders of the party actively lining up for this seat.

Not sure whether you watched or followed the 57th season of Irani Cup – once a premier competition.  It is an one-off match between the winner of Ranji trophy and rest of India.  This year it was Vidarbha amidst reports that this competition could wane away.   Vidarbha successfully defended their title and defeated Rest of India on first-innings basis to win the tournament, becoming the third team after Bombay and Karnataka to defend both the Ranji Trophy and Irani Cup. Hanuma Vihari became the first player to score 3 consecutive centuries in Irani Cup.

Remember reading in newspaper about the Irani Cup in 1975 – it was a star studded Bombay team with an youngster.   It was  Sunil Gavaskar, Ramnath Parkar, Sudhir Naik, Ashok Mankad, Ajit Pai, Karsan Ghavri, Abdul Ismail, and Padmakar Shivalkar.  Rest of India too was a strong side – there was Madanlal, Bishan Bedi and Erapalli Prasanna.  Chandra, the famous leggie was not playing (now only read about his replacement) Minna !.   Rest of India were bowled out for 210,  and they  ran into a pencil-thin college student who clobbered them all over Vidarbha Cricket Association Ground — and often beyond — with a stunning hundred.  It was Dilip Vengsarkar and that knock catapulted him to National reckoning.    Punjab’s Ashwini Minna, a teenage leg-spinner, played  in place of Chandra.  Minna had pulled off a spectacular performance the previous season with 6 for 23 against East Zone Under-22s, 12 for 89 against West Zone Under-22s, and 11 for 156 against West Zone Universities. He was yet to play a First-Class match, but the selectors thought it was the perfect moment to groom him.

Chopra, or Ashwini Minna as he was known, was part of the Rest of India squad and did nothing exceptional but scalped his maiden first-class wicket — Sunil Gavaskar.  He was to give up the game and manage his family business, newspapers.. ...     His family suffered in the militancy years in Punjab — grandfather Lala Jagat Narain was gunned down by Sikh militants in 1982, and two years later, his father, Ramesh Chandra, met a similar fate. Minna perhaps grew up  living in fear despite the family members being given Z plus security.

Ashwini Kumar Chopra, is now known not as the Cricketer, but as journalist, Resident Editor,  of Punjab Kesari, and politician !  He got elected to 16th Lok Sabha from Karnal as a candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party.  He  is the eldest son of the third generation from the journalists family owning  the Hindsamachar group of newspapers. Punjab Kesari is commonly called as the newspaper of martyr journalists.

After graduating from Guru Nanak Dev University, Minna did a Master’s in Journalism from Berkeley, and found a new career as journalist in San Francisco Chronicle. He earned a reputation as Resident Editor of the fiery Punjab Kesari.  So his passion for journalism made him given up Cricket – his representing Punjab curbed.  He was a leg spinner who could have made some higher grade !!

Ashwini is well known for his daily page one, Special Editorial with bold and popular wording and for his huge win in Karnal.

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
31st Mar 2019.

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