Ramzan: Cricket oval lures legend 33 years on

PLAYING cricket is one of the best things that brightened Bashir Ramzan’s life, but returning to the ground and reuniting with his former friends after over 33 years was a unique experience.

This is what happened to Ramzan when he represented Mount Uluguru combined team in the exhibition match against Mt Kilimanjaro combine at the Leaders Club ground last week.

Ramzan, the Canada-based Tanzanian is among 39 Tanzania cricket legends who live overseas and arrived in the country for a special cricket festival christened Patel Brotherhood Patel Samaj Festival held recently in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar.

It is wonderful to work and play the Tanzania veterans cricket in a Reunion Tour perfectly coordinated by Dinesh Vaishnav.

Ramzan, who was at the exhibition game, played for the winners Mount Uluguru who defeated Mount Kilimanjaro by 30 runs.

Ramzan told the ‘Daily News’ in an interview this week that it was an emotional experience, though I  could not last long at the game after losing a wicket and went out a few minutes after being introduced.

The 67 years old cricket hero is now based in Toronto, Canada and he cherished his comeback  saying was very happy not only to return to Tanzania but also to play again on a  ground that he used to play many years ago.

“It is blessed, it is the first time I carry a bat since last time doing it in 1989, I thank God and everyone for this wonderful moment,” he said.

The national team’s wicketkeeper and batsman, Ramzan said he started playing cricket in Dar es Salaam in 1973.

He used to play for Aga Khan Club and Dar Cricketers before officially retiring in 1989.

He recalls how his hard work paid off after he was selected to serve the national team from 1982 to 1988.

Apart from playing cricket, he also played soccer another game he loves much.

Ramzan said his favourite player is Mahendra Singh Dhoni who is also the Indian cricket legend who captained Indian national cricket team from 2007 to 2017 and in Test cricket from 2008 to 2014.

He is also a fan of Mohammad Javed Miandad PP SI, popularly known as Javed Miandad, the Pakistani cricket coach, commentator and former cricketer known for his unconventional style of captaincy and batting.

The legend said Shiraz Sumar former Tanzanian right-hand batsman who played in one ODI during the World Cup held in 1975 and the veteran cricketer Mohamed Nathoo  who along with Sumar and Bashir Tejani, formed Tanzania’s formidable batting line up, are two people that inspired him to excel in the game.

Ramzan noted that both T-20 and ODI were his favourites.

Recalling one of the best moments, he said: “Once chasing a target of 200 runs, we were 50 for 5. I guided my fellow partner to stay calm and we managed to win the game, it is a memory that lives forever.”

He also said during his youthful career, their time was fully dedicated to the team he played to ensure they do well and win trophies.

The legend’s trip is a moment to cherish since it connected him in person with the fellow cricketers whom he played together at the club level and at the international level 33 years ago.

He has this to say to youths who want to excel in the game: “They have to take the game seriously and stay focused which will bear the fruits of their toil.”

Ramzan advised Tanzania Cricket Association (TCA), to provide full assistance to groom these upcoming youths.

“Please TCA, these young players, whom I have witnessed, have a tremendous talent. During our time we just played with our natural talent, as we had no coaches to guide us but we played at a high level.

“Nowadays we live in a different world when it comes to sports, things have changed and an opportunity is there so they can tap and do even better with help of the association,” he explained.

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