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[Edison Cricket Club Press Release]
Edison Cricket Club (ECC) celebrated its 9th anniversary with a banquet on Saturday Oct.13th at the Hotel Somerset-Bridgewater.
Syed Kirmani, the well known Indian wicket keeper of the 70s and early 80s, was the chief guest. Kirmani specially flew from India to attend the event courtesy Emirates Airline.
Also in attendance were Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. and Dr. Sudhanshu Prasad, Edison councilman. While Congressman Pallone Jr. is a recipient of Padma Bhushan - India's third highest civilian award. Syed Kirmani is a recipient of Padma Shri - India's fourth highest civilian award.
Addressing the audience, Kirmani (pictured right) urged the cricket enthusiasts to work for raising the profile of cricket in the U.S. “Just as the games of baseball, soccer and basketball, cricket should be integrated in the sport curriculum of the U.S. school system,” he said.
Sufficient infrastructure should be developed for promotion of the game, he added. Kirmani, an entertainer who is known for a strong sense of humor, had the audience in splits with jokes about his bald head and anecdotes from his tours with the Indian cricket team.
Kirmani complimented Atul Huckoo, ECC President and his team for promoting cricket in New Jersey. Kirmani distributed awards to budding cricketers and hoped that the club will acquire its own turf in the near future.
The club bestowed the honor of “life membership” on Kirmani, which includes a membership of the ECC advisory board. Kirmani's former team mates Sunil Gavaskar and Balwinder Singh Sandhu are already on the ECC advisory board. Other honorary life members of the club include Toni Ricigliano, Mayor of Edison; Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula, Congressman Pallone Jr. and Dr. Prasad.
Picture (Right): Shikha Uberoi received a cricket bat signed by ECC members.
Princeton based tennis players Shikha Uberoi and Neha Uberoi were also honored on the occasion. In 2004, Shikha Uberoi became the second ever Indian female player in the modern era to feature and win a round at a Grand Slam event. Her sister Neha Uberoi reached round two of women's doubles at the US Open the following year.
Speaking on the occasion, Shikha Uberoi said that tennis boosted her physical and mental strength and she felt inferior to none. Ms. Uberoi advised youngsters to get involved in sports so that they were no longer considered timid or weaker than boys. “Girls of Indian origin shouldn’t be treated as physically weak and timid,” she told the audience.
Kranthi Bayya and Venu Palaparthi received the MoneyGram Ambassador of Cricket Award at the event on behalf of DreamCricket.com. "It is all about youth cricket. For cricket to have a bright tomorrow, we must have more kids playing cricket and that is our dream at DreamCricket.com," Ms. Bayya said. In his brief acceptance speech, Palaparthi urged ECC members to take the lead in putting down a turf wicket in New Jersey. Later, underscoring what Ms. Uberoi had previously said, Palaparthi said: "Athletics and academics are not mutually exclusive. I invite all cricket-loving girls to come and play the game at DreamCricket under the tutelage of Delkash Shahriarian, a Team USA player."
Akbar Hussain from Emirates Airline and Lael Daniel of MoneyGram also addressed the audience and congratulated ECC for the club's commitment to the sport.
Dr. Helen Gaudette – Director, Office of Global Education Initiatives of Queens College, spoke of her college's partnership with ECC and announced that 'Queens College's Cricket on the Quad' event. The event, which was held on October 15th, featured an introduction to cricket, demonstration of techniques, followed by a co-ed student/faculty cricket match.
The following is the list of award recipients:
Emirates Best Umpire Award: Mihir Patel
MoneyGram Spirit of Cricket Award: New York Life Sreeshti
MoneyGram Ambassador for ECC: Vipin K Sharma
MoneyGram Ambassador for Cricket: Venu Palaparthi and Kranthi Bayya of DreamCricket.com
Emirates Five Wicket Haul/ Hat Trick Awards: Abhinav Dendukuri, Sukunj Bhalodia, Praneeth Kumar, Bimal Patel and Sachin Pathare
Wicketkeeper Awards: Gaurang Pawar, Rakesh Shah, Sahil Vakil, Eday Jagadeesan, Raj Bhavsar
Print Today Best Bowler Award (NJSBCL): Vipin Sharma
MoneyGram Best Bowler Award (MCL): Vivek Amin
Emirates Best Bowler Award (CLNJ): Sachin Pathare
AAHOA Best Batsman Award (NJSBCL): Asif Basit
MoneyGram Best Batsman Award (MCL): Raj Bhavsar
Emirates Best Batsman Award (CLNJ): Raj Bhavsar
State Bank of India Player of the Year Award (NJSBCL): Nauman Basit
MoneyGram Player of the Year (MCL): Sukunj Bhalodia
Emirates Player of the Year (CLNJ): Bimal Patel
1000 Runs in a Calendar Year: Raj Bhavsar
Inducted into Advisory Board as Honorary Members: Syed Kirmani, Neha Uberoi and Shikha Uberoi