While growing up in a village the highest cricket match he could play is a bet match with his friends. From then on, sports had been part of his life. The spirit of sports led him to captain not just sporting teams but also lead the International B-School festivals during his Masters. All those long planning nights in the event and making numerous calls asking for sponsorships, to getting the event marketed across the world and finally making it happen was a life of an event one should experience.
A few years later, Siva Harsha became an administrator, who fortunately had the opportunity to create a lush green field for the sport lovers.
As an Assistant Sports Officer of Waltair Division of Indian Railways, his first biggest moment was when the former DRM, Mukul Saran Mathur called for a meeting of young officers to discuss an opportunity to host the National Elite Boxing Championship 2017 at a short notice of 20 days. Taking it as a challenge and planning accordingly and coordinating with all the functional teams, he pitched in to bridge the gaps among the various management teams and they had to take quick decisions that continue to stand during the event too.
That juncture made him come across his boss and the guide of many journeys to come. Sakkeer Hussian is one of the best sports officers of not just Indian Railways but the country could get the services of. He even learnt from him on how smart planning along with tough decision making helps an administrator ease the process.
Overcoming unexpected incidents and challenges will eventually lead to success. Same is the case with their organizing team too. A night before the D-day, a trial run by the local boxers suggested that the ring mat was slippery. This made the ECoRSA team come together to arrange and re-fix a new mat before the sunrise. The event continued for 3 days which included moments of glory to despair, both involving out bursts of players and emotions. In the end the event became the best ever Nationals and had given the best Life moment to the entire organising team who never had any experience of conducting an event of this scale and at such short notice. All it needed was passion, tapping the experience of the veteran players and a quick decision making.
Waltair Railway Stadium- Siva Harsha shares his journey:
A seed for this long journey was planted with a dream of conducting a first-class match on a park like field which was daily circled with walkers and various other children playing in the open. The Mission was set and we kick started the process, all thanks and credit to one man, Mukul Saran Mathur. This was a journey to remember with many breaks but he never let the spirit go down.
The work got assigned to an agency that only had experience to construct a high rise building but this was all to be on the ground. This made him to study the preparation manuals of BCCI, ECB and various other Boards to guide the contractor. From only knowing to hit a ball over the boundary to score six to now knowing the admissible distance beyond it for allowing a billboard to be displayed during a telecast it has been a different life.
One Magician who directed them to this beautiful reality was Sakkeer Hussian. He was a scientist at PUSA when he left for Railways. His attention to detail was immaculate. He virtually made him and his curator live the life cycle of the grass. On the basis of its growth and colour, he suggested us the perfect mix of macro and micro nutrients required, ordered the removal of unwanted plants and advised us the right pesticides too. If this were to be a planet called cricket, the amount of exploration with attention to detail would made Sakkeer Hussian, its best explorer.
Meanwhile, RSPB had identified this ground as the home ground for four matches in the Ranji Season 2018-19. The countdown was ticking with 100 days to go, displayed on the newly designed score board. With all the technical help in house cricketers and technical crew, they could take off with the first ball bowled in a local district league match, which witnessed some wonderful carry and bounce on our freshly made wicket with the “ Labour of Love”. Soon famous cricket personalities like West Indies Legend Sir Alvin Kalicharan, Team India Coach Ravi Shastri, Chief Selector MSK Prasad, Batting Coach Sanjay Bangar etc. visited and have taken heartful of memories and were even kind enough to spread its beauty to the cricketing world. Eventually associations started coming to them for matches and camps as they successfully hosted BCCI’s Sir Vizzy One day trophy, Cricket association of Mizoram’s camp & Andhra matches.
With the support of one of the finest and game changing sports administrators, PC Lochab, Secretary RSPB, The Indian Railways Team made this their true home as they enabled some wonderful stay and practice facilities. They continued to put in all their “Labour of Love” on this ground and “The tryst with Destiny” had to happen.
On 17 Dec 2019, History was created under the leadership of Chetan Kumar Srivastava, a truly sport loving and a passionate DRM & the President of our cricket association, as we could host the 1st Ranji Trophy match where Railways took on Saurasthra on the renovated stadium after a gap of 2 decades. And the ground has witnessed Pujara play his cover drive as the hills on the backdrop rose and Unadkat hit the stumps as the breeze cur across, eventually turned out to be Destiny for them too as Saurasthra won the Ranji Championship 2019-20.
Hence, Sports to Life is what Passion is to Destiny!
Inputs by Reshma Jain and Praveena Mandapati