Nagpur Parsi Gymkhana Lifts 35TH Jiji Irani Challenge Cup Cricket Tournament

The pentangular ‘Jiji Irani Challenge Cup Cricket Tournament’, hosted by Surat’s Zoroastrian Club, from 12th -16th November, 2023, comprised cricket teams participating from Surat, Nagpur, Secunderabad, Kolkata and Jamshedpur. After 5 days of enthralling cricket, Nagpur Parsi Gymkhana clinched the coveted cup, defeating Surat in second place (based on run rate).

The inaugural function was graced by dignitaries including Vada Dastoorji Erv. Cryus N Dastoor, Padma Shri Yezdi Karanjia and Chief Guest – Dr. Homi Doodhwala, President – Surat Parsi Panchayat and Zoroastrian Club, Surat. A Humbandagi performed by Vada Dastoorji saheb provided the auspicious commencement of the tournament, which was played at the Parsi-owned, Bawaji Bhatporia Cricket Grounds (Bhatpore), which were given gratis for all 5 days. Evening functions, hosted at Tamna-Ni-Dharamshala, provided as much off-the-field excitement, efficiently managed by the dynamic ZWAS (Zoroastrian Women Assembly of Surat), regaling visiting teams and local crowd, drawing much appreciation from the young and the old.

The finale and prize distribution event were the highlight of the tournament, with Chief Guest – H’ble Justice Shahrukh Jimmy Kathawalla (Retd.), introduced also as a leading philanthropist for his recent donations towards the Shahenshahi Modi Atash Behram on its 200th salgreh. Vada Dastoorji Cyrus Dastoor, Dr. Homi Doodhwala and wife Dr. Persis Doodhwala also graced the occasion, which was ably anchored by Daizy Patel and Nilufer Bavaadam.

In his motivational address, Justice Kathawalla congratulated those who had won as well as those who hadn’t, “because the first thing sports teaches is sportsmanship. One has to be sporting always because winning and losing are part and parcel of life.” He went on to share a brief history of the pioneering role played by Parsis in cricket, Kathawalla: “The Parsi interest in cricket goes back to the 1840s when Englishmen would play at Bombay Gymkhana in Mumbai… The Parsis founded the first Indian cricket club – The Oriental Cricket Club, in Bombay in 1848, which was sponsored and funded by the Tatas and Wadias. The Parsi tour of England in 1886 was the first cricket tour of England by a team from India.” He concluded his eloquent address with, “May each one of us develop within ourselves. grit, skill and unflagging sportsmanship to take on the challenges of life.”

                               Jiji Irani Challenge Cup Prize Distribution:

Title Recipient
Winning Team Nagpur Parsi Gymkhana
Man of the Series Yohan Dungaji (Nagpur) (264 runs 2/50s & 1 century)
Best Batsman of the Series Jamshed Hormasji (Secunderabad)
Best Bowler of the Series Shehzad Dastur (Surat)
Best Wicket Keeper of Tourney Raimin Bulsara (Kolkata)
Rumi Battiwala Trophy for ‘Maximum Sixes’ Danoosh Dungaji (11 sixes)


Dara Modi ‘Fastest 50’ Prize Zubin Kasad (Surat) 25 balls 50 runs
Maximum Catches Taken Kaizad Wadia (Surat)
Most Economic Bowler Rohin Patel (Jamshedpur) 4.07 avg. rpv
Youngest Player of Tourney Bezan Variava (Surat) (9 years)
Veteran Player of Tourney Kaiwan Kazad (Jamshedpur)
Most Promising Youngster of the Tournament Jehaan Maloo (Kolkata)


The organizers extended much gratitude to the donors – Justice Kathawalla, Zubin Palia, Dara Mistry, Micky Disawala, Kaivan Bhagwagar, Rohinton Katpitia and Burzin Parekh – for supporting the Club, as also Nozer and Freny Daruwala for their catering through the tournament. Kudos also to the team of Surat’s Zoroastrian Club – Yezdi N. Dapotawala (Secretary), Shahrukh Patel, Daizy Patel, Micky Disawala, Yazad Variava, Burzin Dordi, Ruzbeh Bhagalia, Jehan Mandviwala, Eric Bacha, Nilufer Bavaadam and Zubin Bhatporia – for playing the perfect hosts and ensuring smooth conduct of the tournament

The ‘Jiji Irani Challenge Cup Cricket Tournament’, which started out 35 years ago, is played in memory of late Jiji Irani, father of late Dr. Jamshed J Irani, who conceptualized and supported the tournament. With only Nagpur and Jamshedpur cricket teams playing initially, the tournament later included Secunderabad, Kolkata and Surat.

[Courtesy: Daizy Patel, Secretary – ZWAS]

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