Sunday, 15 April 2012

Mixed Blessings?

Fantasy Bob poses the question as to whether or not 15 April 1963 was a good day for cricket in Edinburgh.  For, remarkably, it was the birthday of 2 Test players who played for Edinburgh clubs in the course of their careers.  Was this a blessing or a curse?  Sadly neither club is the force it was at that time.  What about the players?

Royal High First XI 1995 - Elahi front second left
Manzoor Elahi played for Royal High in 1995 and 1996.  In 1995 his top score, 128, was against Carlton; in 1996 he top scored with 156 against Falkland.  He played only 6 tests for Pakistan - 2 in 1984, 2 in 1987 and 2 in 1995.  He also played 54 ODIs.  Fantasy Bob played for Royal High until 1994 when he left to assume parental duties.  But even Elahi's skills could not cover the loss to the club that FB represented and Royal High found it had to merge with neighbouring club Stewarts-Melville in 1996.  Manzoor's brother Zahoor Elahi played for Stew-Mel-Royal High following the merger from 1998-2000.  His top score in 1998 was 170 Carlton. He played 2 Tests for Pakistan in 1996.

Manoj Prabhakar played for Leith Franklin in the1980's. (FB's team of researchers have been unable to pin down the years but he is sure some assiduous member of his worldwide readership will enlighten him). He played 39 Tests for India between 1984 and 1995. Prabhakar has had what might be called a colourful subsequent career - his Test career ended with his attempts to implicate others in a match-fixing controversy which did no more than getting him banned for alleged involvement. He then stood unsuccessfully for Parliament in India. He later took to coaching, and served as Delhi's bowling coach before taking over Rajasthan in the 2009-10 season.  He returned to Delhi but was sacked by them last November. He also runs Naturence Cosmetics, a firm making herbal beauty products.  they might the kind of thing that could sell very well in Leith.

Cricket on Leith Links -
pity about footballers in the way
but they are only one of the distractions
Leith Franklin were a competitive East League First Division side in the 1980s - they had a bit of the people's team about them - and FB can remember seeing Prabhakar bat and bowl them to victories. But they are not the force they were and have been forced into mergers so that they are now Leith Franklin Academicals Beige - or Fabbies.

FB regards their home ground Leith Links with some affection - it is one of the oldest sites of cricket in Scotland. It has several charming features - one being a path which cuts inside the boundary and which is regularly used particularly by pram-pushing mothers leading to extended interruptions in play. The other feature is a short boundary on one side with a bowling green populated by curmudgeonly bowling club who frequently refuse to return balls hit over the fence for 6.

So was 15 April 1963 a good day for cricket in Edinburgh or not?

Footnote - keen eyed Carlton readers may also note former GL heroes in the RH photo.

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