Gujarat Cricketer Niranjan Mehta's Coachguru

The whole idea of this website is to share all the old satisfying cricketing days of Gujarat Cricketers Niranjan Mehta in Gujarat, Saurashtra, England, Scotland, and the Mafatlal Group with my friends and cricket associates.I have learned that many old cricketers do not have some of their photographs. This is an opportunity for all of us to share our good cricketing days. Initially, this website was created about 25 years ago, but coding upgrades forced us to rewrite it, and here we are.
This website is dedicated to Shri Akbarkhan Umarkhan Babi, one of the best cricket coaches for Saurashtra. He was the first to understand back foot play and leg spin bowling. His mindset was toward Australian cricket and its style. That attitude was rare in those years (1950-1980) when everything from England or British was the standard.

I want to shed light on Shri Akbarkhan Babi's dedication and contribution to Saurashtra, Gujarat, Bombay, and Baroda cricket associations. His coaching camp in Rajkot, known as RSA and RYCC, produced at least 70-80 national and international caliber cricketers in the last forty years. Some of his cricketers played prominently in India and abroad.
I, Niranjan Mehta, am one of his beneficiaries. I also respectfully remember some of the highly talented cricketers of my time coached by Akbarkhan Babi. These cricketers never had the opportunity to represent India but should have played for India for a long time. Namely: Uday Joshi, Atul Mehta, Jaswant Bakrania, and Arvind Panchasara. Mahendra Rajdev, Bhupendra Mandavia, Dhiraj Parsana, Jyotindra Baxi, and Dhiraj Parsan were the only ones who played two Test Matches for India against the West Indies.
The reason for dedicating this website to Babi Bhai? His personal life was dedicated to cricket training. He was constantly upgrading his knowledge by reading more and more cricket books and his knowledge and dedication is shown by the countless cricketers who’ve gone on to become exceptional players, because of Babi Bhai.

How Niranjan and Atul ended up At RSA Coaching?

It was around 1958-59 I was approximately 13, and my younger brother Atul was 10. One day, Atul and I were on the way to school in the morning, we were tempted to watch some cricket before going to school. We were curious and waited for 5-10 minutes and were tempted to ask one old towering personality, Velji Master (who coached the great Amar Sihji).

We politely requested Velji Master in Gujarati “Saheb amare ayya ramavu chhe,” (Sir, we want to come here to play here). He looked at us and said you both are too young for leather cricket ball. We were too young and timid to push back, so we started walking toward our bikes. Suddenly before we picked up our cycles, we heard a shout from another gentleman “ane chokrav ahi avo” (hey kids, come here!). This gentleman was Akabarbhai Babi. He said don’t worry you both start coming tomorrow and also communicated with Velji Master saheb.

The following day we started going from 6:30am to 7:30am and then left after for school. We must have done this for 3-4 months without getting to bat but fielding and, on weekends some times bowling. Meanwhile, Mahendra Rajdev and I were in the same school, Virani. He joined me along with Uday, Dhiraj Parsana, Bhupendra Mandavia, and Jyotindra Baxi. Then Panchasara Brothers, Bakaranias,ArvindPujara
Originally RSA was started by Vajesingh Nakum and Velji Master. A year later, Babi bhai joined. After four-five years, there was some misunderstanding between Akabarbhai and Vajesihji bhai Nakum and Velji Master stayed and supported Akabarbhai Babi. RSA to became RYCC.

Babi bhai was knowledgeable, generous, dedicated, and a rare cricketing fanatic. He created the most acceptable lot of cricketers in the west zone, even better than anywhere.

Why did his cricketers not do very well on the national level?
His trained cricketers were like Colts without reins on them – there was no guidance, mentorship, or monitoring on how to use our finest ability.

The second drawback was our background. We were all from Saurashtra, very simple people, very timid to push for personal gain, no sneakiness, did not know what personal interest is, never knew cricket average and run counts in selection. We all played cricket as just a game.

However, Uday and Dhiraj were more naturally knowledgeable or had the instincts to look after themselves and knew how to keep on bowling or stay on bowling. In contrast, all the others were very talented and turned into bowlers to use when they failed.

I firmly believe that during my cricketing time, the following cricketers from Gujarat and Baroda State should have played for the Indian cricket team: Narottam, Naishad Baxi, Ashok Joshi, Pankaj Javeri, Ramesh Patel, Dhiru Patel, Jayprakash Patel, Sangram Gaikwad, Jam Saheb Shatrushalya, Magan Patel, Ramesh Nagdev, Kanti Desai of Navsari, Dashrath Pardeshi, Shaukat Dudha, Anthony Fernandes, and Cecil Williams. Bimal Jadeja, Mukund Parmar, Pravin Desai and many very talented lost without getting on stage.
On Mukund Parmar, I surely question of Gujarat admin”s Possible inability to push on his playing for India.
In those years, all Media houses were in Mumbai. For the Gujarat, Saurashtra, or even Baroda cricketers, items of NO interest for them. “Out of sight is out of mind” they Had No vested interest.

I have been watching cricket for 60 years, using my judgment without giving any importance to average or total runs.or centuries, My primary consideration is my playing ability in the Game of Cricket. (Professionalism and average is for those people who have Lusted for money it)
I consider out of hundreds of top-class test and non-test cricketers with many so-called legends and outstanding records; however, for me, following cricketers were unique with unmatched talents.

The following three cricketers: Mushtaq Ali, Subhas Gupte, and Vijay Merchant. I have seen them on video but not much live, but their unique quality and ability to play, puts them in the most outstanding group of players before 1960.

From 1960-2020, the most talented players in my opinion:
Mohammad Azururidun, M.S. Dhoni, Virendra Sehwag, Bishan Singh Bedi, Sachin Tendulkar, and Sangram Gaikwad.

Why Sangram Gaikwad? I played with him for 12-14 years, along with Sunil Gavaskar, Chetan Chauhan, and many openers of my time. No one had the ability, style, and comfort of facing any speed of a new ball under any condition the way Sangram Gaikwad used to handle it. Sure, with spinner, he was just like any other batsman, but dealing with a fast bowler, he was unmatched. And this opinion on My above opinion on Sangram Gaikwad was picked up and copied in some newspapers by one top-notch cricketer.

Why are all Test cricketers no better than average Ranji levels or club-level outstanding cricketers?

Here is an obvious example. Sunil Gavaskar is playing a match in times shield in Mumbai against a powerful team. That team also had top-class test bowlers, none of those test-played bowlers could can get out Sunil Gavaskar, but Sunil was bowled by a never played Test even Ranji trophy cricketer. The point is this never played Ranji or test cricket have the ability to get out Test level batsmen if he could prove in times shield he can do the same in given opportunity in the test. Therefore Test players do not have any unique ability but sense or mind to organize their similar or average knowledge into more productive skills.

Another example is Atul Mehta and Karshan Ghavri; both played for Saurashtra. At that time, they were just standard cricketers. The moment they shifted to play for Mumbai, suddenly, they became top-notch test-level cricketers. Still, their level or ability was the same. Still, they started playing under the more organized, more logical, and better mentorship, making their Saurashtra level talents into the Mumbai level playing field. Bombay’s average-level cricket or ability was the same but recognized by the right people.

Imagine Google’s Sunder Pichai and Microsoft’s Satya Nadella stayed in India, they might be working for some average companies or getting kicked around. The moment they move to the right place, their same talents got platforms to blossom with sunlight on them rather than candlelight.

So do not label any cricketer as great, superstars, legends, stalwarts, or more critical than any other. Amit Bhai (president of Gujarat Cricket Association) has to remove big photos of non-Gujarati cricketers from Narendra Modi’s stadium.

Gujarat and Saurashtra has produced so many talented and dedicated players, yet, when we walk into GCA there are pictures of Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar, and other non-Gujarati platers. When you walk into Mumbai Cricket Association, you DONT see a photo of Nari Contractor who completed his first century there. But why doesn’t the GCA honor Nari Contactor in Place of Sachin Tendulkar or its players?
Does Kanpur Stadium have a photo of Jasu bhai (as he helped India win)?
Does the Bengal Cricket Association have a photo of Deepak bhai Shodan (Deepak bhai scored on the first appearance for India). Why aren’t players like Parth Patel, Rusi Surti, and of course Jasubhai, Deepak Sodhan, and Nari Contractor honored?

Finally, in my case, I was never ignored by selectors. Always recognized. Any good performance from me., and I was given a chance to move further. My luck made many umpires make the wrong decision and take away that opportunity.

In a straightforward case, I was playing well at 36 runs against the West Indies. One ball from Lester King, I missed that ball and far from far my bat, standard reaction from fielders and given out. I was very young, naive, and from Saurashtra. I could not do drama or be sneaky – I just walked back. While walking back, someone from the fielder said something to me; I turned my head but nothing further; I just walked back to the stadium.

It did not end there; on the same evening, at Governor Nityananda Kanungos’s home; both teams were enjoying a tea party, and the umpire who gave me out (very famous and I do not want to write his name respecting him as well as his children) he said in Mumbai Hindi: “idhar aa, tumne pichhe kyu dekha, jab tumne out diya” (why did you turn your head while walking back to the stadium?) I was too young and timid to say anything. I still have no bad feelings.
The Law of Karma works better than an umpire’s decision. And (from 1950-1980 no TV days) Indian umpires used to please foreign cricket captains to get accommodation certificates.

The following cricketers from my time should have played for the India cricket team.
Ashok Joshi could have been in the Indian team before Bishan Bedi and was a very effective bowler and challenging to deal with on a helpful track. However, once Bishan Bedi entered, his chances of getting into the team became very difficult. A brilliant bowler at the wrong time.
Dhiraj Parsana should have played a long time for India in place of Nadkarni. Dhiraj was a more versatile, more effective left-arm spinner than Nadkarni and equally the same batsmanship with all-round fielding ability.

Jayprakash Patel was The Terror of his first two years; he was one fast bowler for the west India tour of 1971; his inswing pace was very destructive. Another great but never much recognized was Harshad Shah. His ability to swing even on a matting wicket with speed was terrifying. Like Jayprakash Patel, Harshad was a top-class batman too.
Uday Joshi was very surfaced at the wrong time like Ashok Joshi. Venkat or Prassana were NO better than Uday, but Gujarat never could push for our player. Arvind Panchasara, Jaswant Bakarani, Rajde, Mandavia, Jyotindra Baxi, Atul Mehta, Pankaj Jhaveri, and many never got a chance like nowadays; young cricketers such as Axar Patel, and many just playing a few matches they are chosen on ability, not performance. Gujarat, Saurashtra, and Baroda had massive talents, not only now. But we were ignored, NO media coverage, no publicity, and sometimes they used to do negative publicity to protect their vested interest.


The below link has a tremendous connecting story

I, missed a tough catch of Sunil Gavaskar, he was around ten runs, and this missed catch gave him entry into the Indian team for the West Indies tour of 1971. Abbas Ali Bag, Jayantilal Kenia ( Hyderabad) Sunil Gavaskar, and, Sure Sunial were the best contenders out of all I and bag kept out. The bowler was Dhiraj Parsana. The rest is debatable. Sure there was NO mention of Sunil getting a chance. That is the way life used to function.


In another picture, The Times of India, I played a lifted shot mighty, seen being passed on the left side of my younger brother’s left hand, Atul Mehta, who used to play for Mumbai. However, the next day, in all major newspapers, I was being shown as getting a chance of dropped catch and Atul was painted as dropping the catch of his brother.


Pictures From
Cricket and

Here Are some images of Niranjan Mehta with his team and some of newspapers.