November 2014 \ Diaspora News \ Indian Diaspora in Kenya

By Kul Bhushan

This true life saga merits inclusion in ‘Believe it or not’ book. A father and son duo of Kenya cricketers participated in the same three-day One Day International matches (ODIs)! Really! How can this happen? The father, Subash Modi, was the umpire and the son, Hitesh Modi, was a player in the same international matches. Here is a unique happening in the cricket world. Only a dedicated cricket historian can dig up another example of this nature.

The first ODI in which father and son featured together in the same match was Kenya vs West Indies played on 15 August 2001 on Nairobi’s Simba Union grounds when one of the umpires was Subash Modi and one of the Kenya players was his son, Hitesh Modi. At the end of the match, the ICC Match Referee Vishwanath Gundapa from India congratulated Subash that this was the first time a father and son duo were featured in an official ODI match. This feat was repeated in two other ODIs, Kenya vs Bangladesh.

The story starts in 1957 when Subash started playing cricket at the age of eleven while at school in Zanzibar. Two years later, he moved to Kenya with his parents and continued playing at school in Nairobi. After playing for various clubs namely Ngara Sports Club, Pangani Sports Club and Premier Club he graduated to Kenya national team in 1969 during the Quadrangular Cricket Tournament in Zambia in which Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia participated. He played active cricket until 1984 and then became a Kenya cricket umpire in 1981. With experience, he represented International Cricket Council Associates and Affiliates Umpires Panel from 2005 to 2010. He has umpired 22 ODIs and nine T20 matches while Hitesh played 63 ODI's for Kenya.

His achievements as an umpire are exceptional. He represented International Cricket Council (ICC) Umpires Panel for Affiliates and Associates from 2006 to 2010 when he retired and then became the Regional Match Referee for ICC Africa Region. Subash has umpired in East Africa, England, Scotland, South Africa, Ireland, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Malaysia, India, Zambia, Malawi, Mauritius and the Seychelles. Kenya Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association honoured him with the Green and Gold Badges and later on with Life Membership. Manish Rughani, Secretary General of Lohana Sports and Cultural Festival honored Subhash with the First Ever Festival Life Time Achievement Award for his" outstanding contributions to Sports" during the 32nd Lohana Sports and Cultural Festival in Dar es Salaam in 2012.

Subash is also a former Kenya National Cricket Selector. He has organised many cricket tours overseas, organised umpires seminars for the betterment of the umpires and he has trained umpires. No wonder Kenya Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association have bestowed many awards on him. Subash holds the record of umpiring and refereeing for the highest number of matches by a Kenyan umpire. He worked with Ogilvy & Mather advertising company for nearly four decades, and was presented with the William E. Phillips Eagle Award.

His eldest son, Hitesh, followed him on the cricket pitch. Starting early in school, Hitesh played for the Kenya national team from 1992 to 2006, among other clubs. After playing as Vice-Captain, Hitesh became the Captain of the Kenya team. As Vice-Captain, he helped his side reach the Semi Finals of the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2003 in South Africa. Hitesh also captained Nairobi Gymkhana and represented Kenya in three ICC Cricket World Cups. Hitesh also played for Kanbis Sports Club in Nairobi and Chesham Cricket Club in UK. Hitesh lives now in UK with his wife and a daughter.

Subhash Modi is still active in Umpiring and Match Refereeing in Kenya despite his knee injury last year when he was hit by the cricket ball during the Cricket Kenya Tournament. Hitesh Modi who is a member of M.C.C and Chesham Cricket Club in UK occasionaly plays for MCC and Chesham Cricket Club.

Both father and son share many interests. As an umpire, Subash gives no quarters to his son Hitesh. In an international match, Subash declared Hitesh a LBW!

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