Remembering PEC Cricket Team’s historic win as University Champions in its Centenary Year of Celebrations

Author — Tejinder Singh Bedi with Former India Captain & Ace Left Arm Spin Wizard, Bishan Singh Bedi

*Tejinder Singh Bedi
@tsinghbedi

As part of the year long centenary celebrations of PEC, Alum Tejinder Singh Bedi was recently invited to join the alumni across the globe and batches for a virtual musical performance. The meet was organized at the initiative of Bedi’s three years senior Jasbir Chhabra (of the 1970 batch) on zoom and majorly attended by as old members as from the 1962- 1966 batches bringing out many a unknown pleasant memories of our Alma Mater that being the first operational institute of higher learning in Chandigarh, even before the PU Campus could be commissioned and also much before the PGIMS that was established many years later and has thus been largely instrumental in shaping the lifestyle of the city beautiful concurrent to its year of inception of 1953 itself. The institute estimates that about 25000 of its alumni are still active all around the globe with over 16000 having been identified and registered with its official alumni portal already as shared by Ms Divya Bansal, Dean- Alumni Affairs, Corporate & International Relations.

Bedi felt happy that the musically driven cultural meet happened to reconnect him with many other seniors too including Bhushan Mahajan of the 1969 Aeronautical batch & Bharat Bhushan Khanna of the 1968 Mechanical besides many others, after over half a century.

The University Champions of the PEC — Punjab University of Panjab, Haryana, Himachal & Chandigarh Institutes

Recalling the institute’s solitary win as the University’s Cricketing Champions way back in 1966–67, Bhushan (affectionately called Bhushi) in his close circles shared how fulfilling for the team it was to have won the championship beating the most favoured and reigning contending teams of the Hindu College, Amritsar and the DAV College, Jalandhar in the Semi Finals and in the Finals then! It was all the more remarkable for both these teams had a good number of players playing for the State’s Ranji Trophy team and it was no wonder that the institute witnessed cricket euphoria for a long time thereafter. Being from Amritsar, Bhushi knew most of the players from the Hindu College and could see a few literally in tears after they lost to PEC’s team in the Semis. Added he that it must have been the only occasion in PEC history for this laurel.

While at Amritsar, Bhushi used to share nets with Bishan Pa ji (Bishan Singh Bedi) at the Gandhi Grounds often. Having joined the Law College in the Punjab University Campus in 1966, Bishan Paji became the Captain of the Punjab University Campus Team. PEC’s team in the league matches had also won the match against the PU Campus Cricket Eleven but perhaps also by a factor of luck that Bedi Paji could not play in that team as having been selected for his debut test match in the upcoming West Indies-India Test Series had already moved to Calcutta for the same and many teams were saved from the misery of his miserly bowling spells and the lethal spin he had already come feared for ! In PEC’s match with the Hindu College team Bishan Paaji sat outside the ropes advising his former team mates from Hindu College how to tame the engineers on charge!

Chipped in Gurmeet Singh (also of the 1969 batch and a star cricketer of PEC from 1965 to 1969), “It was also during this time that as the Warden of the University College of the West Indies, and as a Jamaica Senator in WI Parliament, Sir Frank Mortimer Maglinne Worrel was invited by India/BCCI as a Guest as the Windies toured India. (Frank Worrel, also fondly remembered by his nickname Tae, had also been the Captain, a second black of the West Indies team in the 50s earlier).

Sir Frank Worrel at PEC, Campus — Pics Courtesy — Bhushan Mahajan

The Senator in FW inspired him to visit a few selected Universities/Institutes in India and in this series he visited the relatively new upcoming campus of PU in Chandigarh besides the Punjab Engineering College too around mid December of 1966. Our team had just beaten the Govt College team of Chandigarh and getting ready for the next league encounters with the other strong teams and the historic interaction and the photographic session with FW organized by our then Principal, G C Khanna in his office became a life long memory for all members of this team!

A Coffee Session with the then PEC — Principal, G C Khanna

Added Bhushi, “Gurmeet Singh and Amrik Singh were Star players of this team of PEC, both great all rounders and opening batsmen. Getting wicket of either brought great celebrations to the fielding sides. After this championship, both of them were regular players for Punjab University (Inter university tournament) and Vizzy trophy (North zone) for a long time. Kanwal Mago had been gifted with a very smiling and affectionate nature and was full of inspiration and encouragement as our Captain. All players made memorable contributions; Shashi troubled top batsmen of oppositions with his speed and swing ; Harinder Dogra held two outstanding catches in slips, very fast Sizzlers in extremely cold weather. These two catches by Harinder Dogra in the 1st and 2nd overs of Hindu College had upset the cart for them. God was so kind that in the finals against DAV, Jalandhar, in their 2nd innings, my leg spin bowling was blessed with the optimum line and length combination and ended up taking 5 wickets of their top batsmen”.

Sir Frank Worrel surrounded by his fans from PEC

Star player of the 1973 cricket eleven later, Vijay Iqbal Singh also shared the pleasant time he & Bedi shared together studying at their Alma Mater for four long years before respective career pursuits sent all on individual routes finally to converge in such virtual meets in the centenary year of shared joy and way forward, as so wished by Bhushi Paaji too for our Star Bal’s Iqbal!

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