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How the Indian Police is producing junior Pathans in their backyard

The Baroda Sports Club will see efforts from the police to develop cricketers with the mentor of Irfan and Yusuf Pathan.

Mehndi Shaikh, mentor to Irfan and Yusuf Pathan
Mehndi Shaikh, mentor to Irfan and Yusuf Pathan

Sports and collateral damage seem to go hand in hand like tea and milk. Any time a couple of parties have a discourse on an issue concerning property or money, an issue which may also affect sports in some regard, that issue is generally resolved with minimum thought given to how sports will be affected.  Pleasantly, that doesn't seem to be the case this time.

Baroda Sports Club and Madhyast Ramat Kendra (MRT) conduct their training activities at the cricket grounds in Bhutdizampa. The ownership of the ground came into question recently, as the city police commissioner E Radhakrishana said that it belongs to the police and no private body can operate from their premises. This seems to be an all too familiar tale up to this point, just another instance of where the best interest of a sport is overlooked. But there is a twist in the tale here. Instead of shutting down cricket practice on the grounds, the police will bolster and run the facility with the aim of making it a grooming ground for young talent.

"We will also install lights and provide additional facilities. We have taken possession of the ground but we don't want aspiring cricketers to suffer. I made offer to Mehndi Shaikh and he has agreed to continue coaching the children under the police banner." said Radhakrishana

"The police will maintain the ground and also sponsor all the expenses of cricket coaching at the ground from the Suraksha Setu funds.” Radhakrishana said. "The kids won't have to pay a single penny. Instead of the private sports club, the ground will now have Police Sports Club."

Suraksha Setu is a state-wide public outreach programme of the State’s Home department aimed at taking the role of Police beyond solving crimes by bridging the gap with the society and by creating a feeling of trust among residents with their proactive and prompt actions. The project intends to give a human face to the police force and minimize incidents of crime in the society.

On the other hand, Hasmukh Shah of MRT claims that he's availed permission from the government to run the sports body in Bhutadizampa. Of the issue of dispute Radhskrishana said "I will also be meeting Hasmukh Shah of MRT in next few days to sort out the issue." Regardless of the ownership of the ground, it is good to know that sports activities are continuing on the ground in a structured manner. 

The mentor and the pupil

Mehndi Shaikh, mentor to Irfan and Yusuf Khan to train at BSC

 

The revamped facility will have a top notch mentor in Mehndi Shaikh. Of his appointment, Shaikh has said, "I have accepted the offer as my only motive is to produce quality cricketers. It doesn't matter whether the club is run by me or under the police banner. I will soon begin coaching activities there.

Shaikh has served as the mentor to the Pathan brothers, Irfan and Yusuf. Both brothers still hold him in the highest esteem. Of him, Irfan has said "When I started playing cricket at a very small age, my coach was Mehndi Shaikh Bashir. All the senior players of the Baroda cricket club also helped me a lot. He gave us a lot of encouragement and taught us to put in that extra effort and to never say die. That lesson has played big role in the careers of Yusuf and me. He and Bashir Sheikh helped us shape our career in the initial days and also provided us with all the facilities. A player needs a good guru in his initial days when he is learning technicalities of the game. We got just the perfect teacher who helped us achieve what we have today. If he can imbue the youngsters with a tithe of the talent of the Pathan brothers, the ground should remain a hotbed of talent.

Of the Pathan brothers Shaikh has said “I remember the twinkle in their eyes when they first came to Bhutadizampa ground where I used to coach underprivileged kids. Their passion made them stand apart from others."

It takes an able mentor to recognize and harness that passion. The kids training at BSC will have that in Mehandi Shaikh.

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