Honouring a cricketing legend

South Canara, as a part of Madras Presidency as well as a part of Mysore State (after 1957), contributed many great players who played in national as well as international level. B C Alva, N N Suvarna, Patrick Furtado, S Gopal Pai, Ganapathi Rao, A T Shenoy etc are few of them who played for different first class teams including Madras Presidency and Mysore. Budhi Kunderan from Mulki went on to represent India in test matches during 1960s. 

Whenever people outside, speak about cricket in Mangalore, nobody misses the name of a man who was par excellent with his fielding as welll as with his bat. That was none other than Dayanand Kamath, who was one among the great cricketers, Mangalore had ever produced.

Dayanand Kamath played first class cricket for Mysore and South Zone during 1962-1968. He showed his talent as a cricketer when he was a student of Canara School itself. Later, when he was studying in St Aloysius College, he represented the Mysore University Team during 1963-64 and 1964-65 seasons under the captaincy of spinning legend B S Chandrashekar.

During 1964-65 season, he made his debut in Ranji Trophy, the premier domestic championship of India. During 1965-1967, he played for South Zone team and he also got the opportunity to play against the mighty West Indies side led by Gary Sobers in a first class match. He played for South Zone with some of the legends of Indian Cricket namely Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, M L Jayasimha, Abid Ali against Farooq Engineer, Ajith Wadekar, Chandu Borde and Bapu Nadkarni.

Even though he was considered as one of the best batsmen, who can scatter any bowling attack, his contemporaries remembered him by his excellent fielding abilities. Once talking about Dayanand Kamath, former Indian captain Venkataraghavan said, “When Dayanand throws the ball from boundary line, you can only see three things. His wrist, wicket keeper’s gloves and an electric beam between the wrist and gloves.

He used to pass ball to the keeper or he hits the wicket with such a speed”. Light must have bowed its head before the speed of this great man! He played for Pentland Peta Sports Club for a long time in Mangalore. By 1969, many of his teammates got in to Indian team, but Dayananad Kamath couldn’t.

“It was a great pain for him when he was not considered for the national team. But he had no complaints, because he himself knew that the talent India possessed that time was how big and how tough it would be to get into the side,” said one of his close friends and Manager of Dakshina Kannada Cricket Association Kasturi Balakrishna Pai. With disappointment, he later left Bangalore and started playing in Mangalore.

Honouring legend
With a novel aim of honoring this great cricketer, coastal city has ever produced, Mangalore University is installing a shield known as Dayanand Kamath Memorial Shield for the Mangalore Zone of Mangalore University Inter collegiate Cricket Championship. It is the idea of Dayanand’s sister Shantha Kamath to install a shield in his name.

Dayanand Kamath’s family members and DKCA Manager K B Pai are sponsoring the shield which is made up of Maple wood with pure silver embellishment. Mangalore University’s first ever cricket team in 1994 was selected by Dayanand Kamath.

“It is indeed a great pleasure for Mangalore University also to have a shield in name of a great cricketer. We are proud to have his name for our cricket championship,” said Mangalore University Physical Education Director Dr S Nagalingappa. “In the last few years, the Mangalore zone cricket is not being conducte properly. But this time, we have decided to take it seriously and to conduct the tournament by any cost,” he added.

Physical Education Deputy Director Kishore K C said that the university is planning to conduct the tourney from next year itself. “We are waiting for the formal approval from the Syndicate,” he said.

At a time when the great things and great legends are facing oblivion, this novel initiative of Mangalore University and Dayanand Kamath’s family is really a great thing to honor a man who created electric beam to set the cricket field on fire.

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