Friday, February 17, 2017



TRUE love for sports was
 demonstrated last Saturday at Club Aman when cricket enthusiasts paid tribute to Michael Francis Shepherdson (better known as Mike Shepherdson) on the first anniversary of his death.
A memorial match between Klang Crows and Club Aman was held, where Mike’s son, Aubrey, Mike’s sister Oliver and brother-in-law, S. Rajalingam (teammate of Mike), besides many close friends and fellow cricketers were present.

The late Mike Shepherdson  family members and friends - from left Tan, Lall, Harjit, Dennis, Aubery, Nageswaran, Chris Syers, Bhupinder and front row from left, Olive, Hector, Delilkan and Nageswaran

But what was heart-warming was that the event was organised by an individual who was a friend of Mike and a cricket enthusiast – 65-year-old retiree K.Tharumanathan from Klang.
While the governing body of cricket and the state Mike represented, forgot about this legend, who is said to be the best all-round cricketer the nation has produced, Tharma, as he is fondly known among the cricket circle, kept the legacy of Mike alive.
Tharma, single-handedly organised the event with his own money, buying a challenge trophy and souvenirs for the event, while some well-wishers like Johor Cricket Club president, Datuk Dr Harjit Singh, former Klang Club president K. Nageswaran, former national hockey player K. Balasingam and Klang Crows founder, Lall Bangah, to name a few, donated on the day for the worthy cause.

There was no fanfare over the event. Just a simple game of cricket to honour and remember the late Mike.
Tharma, a former employee of PKNS who retired in 1996 when it was privatised, lives on his pension and is coaching cricket and hockey fulltime in Klang on a voluntary basis!
But his love for both the sports is undying and his association with Mike began in the 70s when he greatly admired Mike’s batting and fielding.
“After Mike retired from TNB, he used to call me and give me a lot of tips on batting fielding and also bowling,” recalled Tharma.
“Mike punished me whenever I played against him. But after the game he took time to buy me tea and explained what to do and not to do especially in my bowling.
“He gave me tips on how to coach children. Not a day goes by that I do not think of this great person and mentor. I miss him a lot. Thanks to Mike and all his mentoring that I am able to run my coaching clinics, said Tharma paying tribute to Mike.

Tharma left preparing for the prize presentation with MC for afternoon Suresh Nunni whon had played for Klang Crows earlier.
Tharma played hockey and cricket for PKNS from1973 to 1988, hockey for Selangor from 1972 to 1976 (under coach was C. Paramalingam) and cricket for Selangor, Negri Sembilan and Terengganu.
He was also involved in a junior development programme from 1996 to 2000 under the Silver State Cricket Coaching Club – where he was coaching 12 schools in Klang
Since 2001 Tharma decided to conduct his own coaching clinics in Klang, were he has children coming from schools in Klang including Tamil schools.

Klang Club and Klang High School allow Tharma to use their ground for free to conduct his clinics on weekends, pubic holidays and school holidays.
Tharma now conducts clinics for about 110 school children from Klang for free.

He depends on well-wishers and friends to donate equipment and some money to run the clinics.

And when Tharma decided to have the memorial match for Mike, friends and cricket enthusiasts were full of praise for Tharma and came forward to be present at the event.
And it turned out to be a reunion for some of the greats of cricket and cricketers of yesteryear with the presence of Prof Emeritus Datuk Dr Alex Delilkan, Dennis Sheperdson, S. Rajalingam, Hector Durairatnam, Datuk Dr Harjit Singh, Bhupinder Singh, Col (Rtd) Manjit Singh, K. Kamalanathan, K. Krishnasamy and Tan Kim Heng to name a few.

What was even more meaningful was that Tharma had brought some of his students from his coaching clinics not only to witness some ‘vintage’ cricket but to meet some of the cricket legends and talk to them.

Six kids – including a girl (14-year-old Dhanusri Sri Muhunann - SMK Bkt Tinggi, Klang) also played in the Memorial match.
Dhanusri was also named the ‘Most colourful cricketer’ for the match,

Klang Crows Cricket Club founder Lall Bangah presenting Dhanusri with the most 'colourful player' award with Dennis Shepherdson applauding.

Souvenirs in the form cricket bat keychains were also given to given to the “Future Stars”.

For the record the match played over 30 overs was a closely fought with Club Aman emerging victors narrowly with 159 for nine wickets in 29.3, while Klang Crows chalked 158 in 29 overs all out.
But the true winner that afternoon was the game of cricket and sports!

Aubery giving away challenge trophy to Club Aman captain Nirmal Singh  

While accolades for Mike came freely that afternoon, but one statement stood out – that he was local bred and from the Railway ground in Sentul.

Mike, the double international (cricket and hockey) who is the eldest of the Shepherdson brothers Christie, Denis and Vivian, started playing cricket at the Railway Recreation Club grounds, which was a breeding ground for many other hockey and cricket players and also football who went to represent the nation.
There was a time in the 60s when the national cricket team had seven players from Sentul.
The octogenarian was born in the railway quarters in Sentul and started at a very early age to knock the ball about in the back lanes besides the two cricket grounds that belonged to Malayan Railways.
Mike is arguably the greatest batsman to grace the local scene and his prowess was not only rated in fifties and sixties, but for all time in Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Mike’s younger brother Christie, who was equally talented in both hockey and cricket was a member of the Malayan team for the 1958 Tokyo Asian Games too playing as right wing
The other two brothers, Dennis and Vivian reached honour in the late 50s and early 60s when they represented Selangor state as opening bowlers. Dennis went on to represent Federal Territory when it debuted in the Malaysian Cricket Association league in 1975.

Dr Harjit in his address stressed how school and public fields which were breeding ground for athletes had disappeared in the name of development and thus the dwindling number of local grown talent from housing estates, districts and villages.

Datuk Dr Harjit with Aubery Sheperdson

Pro Delilkan pointed out that sportsmen and women cannot be manufactured.
Delilkan, fourth in a family of four boys and two girls,was born into a family with a ‘cricket-mania’ atmosphere.

Nageswaran presenting a souvenir to Alex Delilkan
“My father (hailed from Sri Lanka) as a cricket lover and carried his interest of the game to an extreme. My three older brothers were infused, as I was, by the intense cricket fanaticism that pervaded very nook and corner in our home.
“As far as I can remember my memory is filled with cricket talking, listening to cricket on the radio and watching games. My father even had his own team called – Colonial Cricket Club – playing in the Singapore Division One league.
“With this type of family background – it is understandable that cricket still flows in my blood.
“As we grew up, my father bought us a complete cricket set and the four of us could be seen in the evenings, during weekdays, indulging in fiercely-fought ‘games’. The weekends, were solely devoted to watching our heroes’ in action.”
Alex said sportsmen and women can be manufactured through clinics an academies, but they first have to have the passion for the sport, but it will take a longer time, then those who breathe, eat and sleep the sport they love.
Indeed, it was a delight to witness a sports event filled with so much passion, love and voluntarism still alive, when in present days sports has degenerated to too much politicking , greed, power craze, corruption, cheating and sports managed by officials who are not sportsmen or women.


Future Stars

Girls - Dhanusri Sri Muhunan

Ø Vijay Unni 14 years – Bukit Jalil Sports School
Ø Srikanth Sri Muhunan-SRK Bkt Tinggi Klang
Ø Sanjay Unni- SMK Lasalle Klang
Ø Pradnesh Nair- Uniten
Ø R. Visshvaran – A.C.S Klang
Ø R. Viemanna Ram- SMK Lasalle Klang
Ø Samhith Reddy Vannedi- Harvest Home School, Klang
Ø Neshan Suresh- SMK Bkt Tinggi, Klang
Ø Thishan Suresh- SRK Bkt Tinggi Klang
Ø Tharan Mathava Thurai- SMK Lasalle Klang
Ø J Ameet Singh- Segi College
Ø Sachdev Singh- Ex schoolboy
Ø K. Jagvinder Singh- Ex schoolboy

Other awards given out were:
1.    Vijay Unni 14 years old – Best batsman (scored 38 runs in 40 balls)
2.    Deepak Menon – Best bowler ( 5 wickets -33 runs-6 overs)
3.    Nirmal Singh- Best Fielder
4.    J. Ameet Singh – Best All-rounder – 29 runs in 22 balls , 2 wickets - 25 runs in 5 overs

TONY is a sports
journalist with close to
four decades’ experience
and is passionate about
local sports.
He can be reached at

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