Dubai: The UAE veteran cricketer Freddy Sidhwa has been conferred with the highest honour by Parsi Gymkhana in Mumbai by presenting him with honorary life-membership of the world’s oldest Gymkhana which was founded in 1884.
Septuagenarian Freddy, who still regularly wins man of the match awards, inspires everyone with his fitness and passion for the game. Two years ago, in his mid-seventies, he became the oldest player to bag a man of the match award at the historic Lord’s Cricket Ground in London, while playing in the JP Morgan International Cricket Cup alongside legends of the game.
Sidhwa joins the list of renowned cricketers such as Farokh Engineer, Sunil Gavaskar and Dilip Vengsarakar, who have received this honour from the Gymkhana. Among other sportsmen who have received this honour include World Billiards champion Michael Ferreira, former Indian women’s cricket team captain Diana Edulji and renowned business tycoon Ratan Tata.
Parsi Gymkhana secretary PG Khodadad Yazdegardi and vice president Firoze Katrak presented the membership and a shawl to Sidhwa in Dubai. The Gymkhana cricket team played matches in Dubai’s DIP cricket ground and Sharjah Cricket Stadium last week.
Speaking to Gulf News, Sidhwa said: “It’s a great honour to receive this membership from this historic Gymkhana. When I play cricket I feel like a 24-year-old boy. Cricket is one game I cannot resist playing.”
Parsi Gymkhana is one of the founding members of the Bombay Cricket Association. Founded by the Parsi cricketers this Gymkhana fielded the Parsi XI that played in the Bombay Quadrangular and Pentangular cricket tournaments. Mumbai Parsis were the first to play cricket in India and the Parsi cricket club even toured England and defeated them in 1886.
Sidhwa captains Seven Seas and Ocean Fair Club in UAE’s domestic matches. South African pacer Dale Steyn, after watching Sidhwa’s performance in the JP Morgan International Cricket Cup while playing alongside legends like Wasim Akram, Dwayne Bravo, Darren Sammy, Graeme Smith, Jeoff Thomson, Jason Gillespie and Graham Gooch, presented him a bat with the words: “You are the definition of the spirit of cricket.”