A collector's delight
J.K Mahendran's `Cricket Shop' at Chepauk is a storehouse of cricketing memorabilia ranging from bats, balls, sweaters, T-shirts to caps and ties used and autographed by legends of the game.
FOR THOSE who would like to learn a thing or two about the history of cricket, J.K. Mahendra's Cricket Shop is the place to be.
A former Ranji Trophy player, Mahendra's passion for the game has prodded him to set up a `Cricket Gallery' adjacent to his shop at the M.A Chidambaram Stadium.
The gallery is a storehouse of cricketing information and has memorabilia ranging from bats, balls, sweaters to T-shirts and caps used and autographed by legends of the game such as Sir Garfield Sobers, Greg Chappel and Sunil Gavaskar. Also on display are the autographed stumps of the Tied Test between India and Australia, replicas of the stumps used in 1750, portrait of the Legend Bar and photographs autographed and presented by Dennis Lilliee, Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne. The collection includes personal neckties, blazers and caps worn by the cricketers at historic moments of their lives.
Among his priceless collection is the Doug Walters cricket clock bearing the signature of Doug Walter from an edition of only 300 pieces.
Says Mahendra, "We don't have a culture of preservation. As a result, bats, sweaters and caps used by some of our old time cricketers such as M.G. Gopalan and Chandrashekar are very difficult to get. Sport lovers are forgetting that we had some truly unsung heroes amidst us. That's why I am so keen on collecting memorabilia," he says.
However, with commercialisation being the mantra of modern day cricket, Mahendran is quite concerned about the impact it can have on up and coming cricketers. "During our time, we had access to top level cricketers. But now due to the high profile nature of the game and security reasons, youngsters are not able to meet their heroes. This is not a healthy trend," he warns.
The Cricket Shop also sells cricket related products such as bats with oil paintings, ball-shaped clocks, paperweights, bat shaped pen stands and of course, books and encyclopaedia on the game.
To capture the World Cup fever, the shop is screening all the matches on big screen till March 23. For details The Cricket Shop can be contacted at M A Chidambaram Stadium, Chepauk, A.G Ramsingh Gate, Next to the Madras Cricket Club Entrance, Under `G' stand, Bells Road, ph: 28266361/28253453.
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