Indore (Madhya Pradesh): Very few people overcome all the adversity that come in their way, to achieve what they dream by sheer determination and perseverance despite having limited resources. Manohar Sharma, popularly known as “Sharmaji” among his friend circle, was one of the very people who had achieved on his own in his 81 years of life what many people could only dream of.
He came from a very humble background from the by lanes of Old Indore with tremendous love for outdoor sports such as Football and Cricket with limited talent but backed by a strong will power and tremendous self- belief in his ability. He picked up the nuances of the game by watching the great Holkar players and later joining them as a fielder. He soon made into the School Team and later represented the MP School and the College Team and then the Vikram University.
Nothing could stop Sharmaji from riding the ladder of success and he was selected to play for MPCA inthe Ranji Trophy in 1958-59 and made his mark in the very first match. Post the 1961 War, he joined theArmy on Short Service commission and played for Services and the North Zone with great success. Sharmaji had a very successful First Class carrier having played 66 FC matches, scoring 3733 runs at an average of 37 with 9 Centuries to his credit that includes 100 against Sri Lanka while representing BCC IPresident’s XI. His highest score was 170 runs for Services in the Ranji Match.
Post retirement from the Army he joined the State Bank of India as an Officer and rose to become the Dy. General Manager. He played for SBI in many local tournaments with great success and also represented the MPCA once again from 1969 to 1973 before hanging his shoes. After having retired from active cricket he took up the administrative responsibility as a Secretary,Manager of the Team and the Treasurer at Hyderabad Cricket Association. He had an active retired life at Hyderabad by involving himself in community development activities of his locality besides serving as President of Hyderabad chapter of Veteran Cricket Association for a very long time.
He later served MPCA as Manager of the Team, member and later as a Chairman of Cricket Development Committee and as the Vice President. He had played a very significant role in reviving and giving a new life to various cricketing activities in the MPCA during his long association of over 15 years
Sharmaji might have been one of the few players who had played along with the great Holkar- era players namely Col CKNayudu, Mushtaq Ali, Chandu Sarvate, Balasaheb Jagdale, Khandu Rangnekar,CS Nayudu, Bal Dani, Jaisimha, Tiger Patoudi, Abass Ali Baig, Ajit Wadekar, Hanumant Singh, Bishan Singh Bedi and the list goes on.
The passing away of Sharmaji has ended a link between the past and the present era of MPCA cricket. He will be remembered as a jovial and humble person who used to keep smiling irrespective of the tense moment. May his soul rest in peace.
(As told by Vijay Nayudu: He is a former MP Ranji Trophy cricketer)