VIDARBHA’S wicketkeeper-batter Jitesh Sharma received the loudest cheers during the annual awards function of Vidarbha Cricket Association on Saturday evening. Braving heavy rains, Vidarbha cricketers and well-wishers attended the function at VCA’s Bilimoria Hall, Civil Lines. Over 100 prizes and cash awards worth Rs 16.5 lakh were given away by the VCA at a glittering function. Sharma was felicitated for his selection in the Indian squad during the T20I home series against Sri Lanka as well as India’s T20 squad for the upcoming Asian Games. Top individual performers as well as champions and runners-up of various local tournaments, organised by the VCA in the past three seasons, were rewarded for their feats. The function was held after three years because the action on the field was heavily curtailed in 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons because of pandemic-related restrictions.
Association’s former President, Adwait Manohar was the chief guest and gave away the prizes. VCA President Justice Vinay M Deshpande (Retd), welcomed the gathering and urged the players to give their best on the field and assured them that the association will continue to support them in every possible way. The VCA President presented a memento to his predecessor, Manohar for his support and guidance to the association. Amidst loudest cheers, Jitesh received a memento from Manohar, who also felicitated Ankita Guha, who is the first woman umpire from Vidarbha to be inducted in the BCCI panel. Young Danish Malewar received the Best Junior Cricketer of the Year award for playing a starring role in Vidarbha’s U-19 boys’ team which won a double crown in the 2022-23 domestic season. Ashwini Deshmukh was awarded the Best Junior Cricketer of the Year in the women’s category.
Former India pacer Prashant Vaidya, who is the Chairman of VCA’s Cricket Development Committee, had a special word of praise for players from the districts, many of whom have broken into various age-group teams of Vidarbha.
Also present on the occasion were VCA Vice-President Dr Avinash Deshmukh, Secretary Sanjay Badkas, Joint-Secretary Chandrakant Manke, Treasurer CA Arjun Phatak, and Executive Committee members Adv Anand Deshpande, Nitesh Upadhyay and Samir Gujar (Tournament Committee Chairman).