The Sanmar Group has probably been the only corporate group in India to consistently promote cricket and cricketers for well nigh fifty years. Jolly Rovers, Alwarpet Cricket Club and Chemplast Sanmar, teams sponsored by the Group, have been in stupendous form since the New Year.
Jolly Rovers won the TNCA-Raja of Palayampatti Shield first division league championship and Chemplast Sanmar went on to become the first Tamil Nadu cricket team to bag the prestigious BCCI Raj Singh Dungarpur Corporate Trophy limited-overs tournament (2013) at the Holkar ground in Indore. The title carried a winner’s cheque of Rs 1 crore.
Three players played central roles in winning the BCCI’;s premier competition in this category. A century by R.Sathish (100 runs) and a fifty by Ajay Kudua (54 runs), together added 120 runs and a match-winning six for 32 by leg-spinner Piyush Chawla enabled Chemplast to defeat the star-studded India Cements by 79 runs in the final.
Under the captaincy of C Hemant Kumar (118 runs), and with Test batsman M Vijay (102 runs) in the line-up, Jolly Rovers went on to win the TNCA league final comfortably in Chennai. Hemant Kumar and M. Vijay added 127 runs. Piyush Chawla turned around the final on the third and final day to help Jolly Rovers unseat Vijay CC and become the 2012-13-league champion.
The leg-spinner’;s seven wicket haul was instrumental in Rovers securing a 127-run first innings lead, which ensured that the side would lift the trophy for the third time in five seasons. Chawla, who has been playing in the league on and off this season due to his international commitments, reserved his best for the final.
The team finished runner-up behind Globe Trotters in the TNCA-VA Parthasarathy final in Chennai. Batting first the team put up a competitive total of 261 for nine in 50 overs. M. Vijay (58) and Captain C. Hemant Kumar (68) added 79 for Rovers’ third wicket before Hemant and R. Sathish (34) put on 70 for the fourth wicket. This close match kept spectators on the edge of their seats and went on till the final over of the match. Jolly Rovers put up a spirited fight, while losing out narrowly.
To reward the teams for their dominant performance this season, Chemplast Sanmar, has rewarded its boys with a 15-day tour of England scheduled for May 2013. “The boys will be playing eight to 10 matches primarily in Essex and Staffordshire,” said Bharath Reddy, former India stumper and head of cricket operations at Chemplast.
“England was our obvious choice, given the country’s cricket history; moreover our chairman N Sankar wanted the boys to learn from the professionalism that comes from touring and playing in England”, said Reddy, who toured England with the Indian Test team in 1979. “There is also the experience of travelling in England, the etiquette aspect, which will help the boys, when they travel abroad in future”.
“By winning the Corporate Trophy we have proved that we are the best team in the country”, Bharath continued, “There has been great support from the management, particularly from N Sankar, Chairman of The Sanmar Group”.
The Sanmar sponsored cricket teams take particular pride in spotting young players and grooming them into performing players. Jolly Rovers, which came under the wing of Sanmar in the 1966-67 season of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association league, will soon be celebrating the golden jubilee of its adoption by Sanmar.
Team spirit is quite the byword at Sanmar, which has attracted top talent all along. The importance of enjoyment of the game too is constantly instilled into the players. The patrons are keen followers of the game and are always appreciative of good cricket, a tradition the late Chairman Emeritus KS Narayanan set being followed by his sons N Sankar ,N Kumar and grandson Vijay Sankar.