CK Subramaniam, Mumbai – Mahendra Sharma, who organized and introduced Women’s cricket in India, left for the heavenly abode in Pune yesterday. All credit goes to him for encouraging girls to play cricket in the early 70s. He formed WCAI and encouraged keen ladies’ followers of the game to form women’s cricket Associations in all the states. Soon ladies’ cricket started getting popular, and players like Shanta Rangaswamy, Diana Edulji, Chandra Nayudu, Shubhangini Kulkarni, Sudha Shah, and a few others emerged on the scene.
Mahendra Sharma, who was only 22 years old then, was unknown in the Lucknow cricket circle but had the courage and vision to start the game for the girls. He organized cricket series with other countries and, most surprisingly, organized the Cricket World Cup in India in 1973. There was no help from BCCI and little help from the Government, but he managed the show with the support of some business houses. He had two big supporters, Madan Gopal Tuteja and Chandra Tripathi, who worked day and night to fulfill his dream.
He married Shubhangini Kulkarni’s elder sister and settled in Pune. He was ailing for some time and ultimately left the world yesterday as an unsung hero of women’s cricket, aged 74. May his noble soul rest in peace.