Full name Anil Dalpat Sonavaria
Born September 20, 1963, Karachi, Sind
Batting style Right-hand bat
Fielding position Wicketkeeper
AS the Indian cricket team has arrived in Pakistan, one can’t help recalling a man, rather a gentleman, who used to volunteer as a liaison officer for touring teams. Dalpat Sonawaria was a cricket enthusiast and he headed the club Pak Hindus, which won honours in many local tournaments.
Barring two or three families, none has produced so many cricketers. His son Anil Dalpat kept the wickets on many an occasion and was once instrumental in a Test victory for his country. Pakistan was poised for victory, when suddenly wickets started falling at the other end, but Anil, whose reputation rested only on wicketkeeping, batted sensibly. Thanks to him Pakistan, which had the reputation of ‘snatching defeat from the jaws of victory’, managed to do otherwise. Anil is now in the UK. He was earlier coaching in Canada. Now he is into business.
Three of Mr Dalpat Sonavaria’s seven sisters produced outstanding cricketers. Danish Kaneria is earning laurels for his country in Tests, but his two cousins, Bharat Kumar and Mahendra Kumar (both played first class cricket), have now hung up their boots.
This year on Diwali, Dalpat Sonawaria was missed by his many friends. He used to send homemade sweets to them on the eve of Diwali and would make it a point to phone everyone to make sure the boxes had reached their destinations. Sonawaria passed away on January 27 and his friends, who belonged to different faiths, miss his smiling face. So would the members of the Indian touring team who have been here before.
When someone asked the Gujarati-speaking Dalpat how come only two Hndus played for Pakistan, he said most Hindus in the country are Sindhi speaking, and Sindhis, irrespective of their religion, are not fascinated by cricket. The only Sindhi to have played Test cricket was the allrounder Ramchand, who played for India in the 50s and 60s.
As a practitioner of Ayurvedic medicine Dalpat specialized in curing different forms of hepatitis. His patients who have recovered miss him too.