Dubai: Cricketer Parvez Ahmed’s villa in Palm Jumeirah can be mistaken for an outlet selling trophies. Starting from the entrance, trophies are stacked on shelves all along the walls of the small outhouse of his villa. Ahmed, who formed the Al Masa Cricket Club in 2003, may probably be the most successful captain in domestic cricket having lifted 97 trophies, and is now in the nervous nineties, hoping to win three more and record a century of trophies.
Speaking to Gulf News, sitting amid all his coveted silverware, Ahmed revealed the ‘tale of the trophies’.
“While working as sales director of Al Masa IT Distribution, I formed the Al Masa Cricket Club,” he explained. “I had come from Lucknow after playing university-level cricket and in India’s famous Cooch Behar Trophy before taking up a job in Dubai. I found many cricket-loving friends from the IT field and thus began playing regularly. It took four years for our club to win our first trophy when in 2007 we became runners-up in the final of the Dubal tournament. We lost to Yogi Group in the final at the Dubai Cricket Council ground. But very soon we began to emerge champions as our club made sure to play in every tournament in UAE — be it in Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Sharjah, Al Dhaid, Al Ain and Abu Dhabi.”
Later when Ahmed started his own company called Infinity Data, he began to play with the same set of players, but his club was known by different names. “We played in the name of Global Distribution, Active Distribution, and now we play under the name of Ausaf XI,” he said. “This club is named after my father Ausaf Ahmad who was a keen cricket lover and passed away three years go. We went on to become champions in 75 tournaments and finish runners up in 22,” noted 55-year-old Ahmed, who began as an all-rounder and opened the innings for his club, but now focuses mainly on bowling off-spin and has produced many five-wicket spells. Amid the trophies are many cricket balls that gave him his five-wicket hauls, with his bowling-spell marked on every ball, as well his 67 man-of-the- match awards.
Among the many tournaments that his clubs have won are the ones organised by Dulsco (three times), Ocean Fair, Pakistan and India Independence Cup, Sealine Cricket Cup, Ajman Council’s Arabian Cup, US Robotics Cup, Lions Cup Al Etihad Cup in Dubai Zabeel Park, and Sharjah Cricket Council’s Motorola Corporate T20 Cup.
“When we started winning, a few more good players joined us and that made us stronger,” he said. “Today I feel so happy that four of our players (Ashfaq Ahmed, Muhammad Boota, Waheed Ahmed, and Zawar Farid) are playing for the UAE national team.
“We have never missed any holiday or weekend to play in tournaments. We hire a bus and travel to all venues in UAE, and these 97 trophies stand testimony to our intense passion. We do not take a break even in summer. Earlier it used to be 25 over tournaments, but since the arrival of T20, most organisers follow this shorter format. Playing cricket is a stress reliever for all of us and winning trophies rejuvenates us to keep playing. Ahmed is confident that his team will complete 100 victories next season. “It is true competition has increased over the years, but we are currently in the semi-final of STS Cricket Lions Cup in Ajman; that maybe our 98th trophy. We all are now gearing up to celebrate our 100th win,” noted the proud Ahmed.
The trophy-haul journey:
The first trophy was won in 2007 under the name of Al Masa Club which Parvez Ahmed launched in 2003.
The team played under different names such as Global Distribution, Active Distribution and Ausaf XI to emerge champions in 75 tournaments and finish runner up in 22. The squad travelled to all UAE cricket venues and played in Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Sharjah, Al Dhaid, Al Ain and Abu Dhabi over the last 16 years Among the tournaments they won includes Dulsco (three times), Ocean Fair, Pakistan and India Independence Cup, Ajman Council’s Arabian Cup and Sharjah Cricket Council’s Motorola Corporate T20 Cup. The team has four Ashfaq Ahmed, Muhammad Boota, Waheed Ahmed, and Zawar Farid who are representing the UAE national team.