Tribute To Cricketing Legend Hosie Amroliwalla

Mumbai has a rich heritage of producing extraordinary cricketing talent and former Mumbai cricketer, the late Hosie Amroliwalla, was one such great, who passed away on 29th December, 2017. Known to play with all his heart for the team’s cause and never for self-applause, Amroliwalla was loved by all who knew him. He chose to live a simple, quiet and low profile life, as a happy-go-lucky man with a humorous and flamboyant personality, adored by family, friends and the entire cricketing fraternity.

Amroliwalla was introduced to the sport by his father, Dadiba Amroliwalla. He grew up watching his father play for the Parsees in the Pentangular Tournament and then for the Railways. Hosie’s cricketing journey began with representing the Don Bosco School… there onwards, there was no looking back.

A middle-order batsman and a leg spinner, Hosie’s first class career spanned from 1955-1964. Having played 44 matches, he amassed 1,782 runs culminating into an admirable batting average of 44.55, with his highest being a spectacular 139! As a bowler, he scalped 14 wickets with a bowling average of 24.35 – best figures of 6 for 44. An exceptional fielder too, he has to his credit 31 catches. The cricketing limelight further chased him when he became the first bowler to register a five-wicket haul in the Irani Trophy. Hosie had also been an integral part of eight Ranji Trophy title wins for ‘Majestic Mumbai’.

He represented the Tata Sports Club in the popular ‘Times Shield Tournament’, playing for them till 1972. In the HD Kanga League, he first played for ‘Sunder Cricket Club’, contributing to the team for being crowned ‘A’ Division Champions in 1956. He play for the ‘Parsee Cyclists’ for several years and was part of this team too when they became ‘A’ Division champions in 1962 and 1964. Hosie also accepted playing for a few invitation matches from Parsee Gymkhana.

He was awarded the Jasdenwalla Trophy twice, first one in 1959 for scoring the fastest century of 101 in 91 minutes and the second in 1961 for another 101 in 121 minutes.

Former cricketers and close friends of the legend have fond memories of Amroliwalla… Ex-India Captain, Nari Contractor says, “We have grown up together right from our college days. He indeed missed the bus to play for India when they toured England in 1959. Along with being a great batsman, he was a handy bowler too. He was well known for his pull shot and square cut. Whichever side he played for, he did his job silently. For him it was all about ‘we’ in the team.”

Former Indian first-class cricketer, Milind Rege recalls, “He was my first captain in Tatas. Hosie knew exactly how to bring out best in his players. He was a complete team man and we always wanted to perform well for him.” He further added, “Amroliwalla definitely deserved a chance to play for India. He was a technically correct player, a hard hitting batsman. His square cuts and on-drives were a delight to watch. He was a thorough gentleman and a very popular cricketer too. Along with cricket, he was also great at Billiards.”

Former Indian Cricketer Sudhir Naik reminisces, “Hosie was an outstanding batsman and a lovely human being. I remember both of us being a part of a huge, memorable partnership during a Times Shield match against State Bank at Islam Gymkhana during our playing days. He never discriminated between any team members – all were equal to him.”

Ex-Indian cricketer Umesh Kulkarni adds, “Hosie and I played lots of cricket together and we were close friends. As a youngster back then, I learnt a lot from him, especially about discipline, concentration and commitment. He was a great cricketer who worked very hard. Everyone admired him a lot.”

Hosie’s son Khushroo concluded by saying “Sunil Gavaskar and Milind Rege were great fans of my father. Both would go to watch my father play cricket in their school uniform. While playing, if he struck the ball, no fielder would put their hands in line with the ball for fear of injury as my father had immense power and impeccable timing! Rege remembers the time when the thatched fencing at Parsee Gymkhana was punched with holes thanks to boundaries struck by Hosie. He has hit sixes from the pitches of Parsee and Hindu Gymkhana where the ball has landed on the other side of the sea-facing road or railway tracks!!”

A great cricketer, a great sportsman and a great human – Hosie Amroliwalla has indeed left his footprints in the cricketing sands of time. May his soul rest in peace!


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