New Edinburgh Cricket Club Ottawa - Tribute to Ravi Anna

Tribute to Ravi Anna
   Ravi Saba, a long standing Burghs member, left us all abruptly on Sunday, April 24 2011. RAVISHANKAR SABA: 1963-2011
   He was a passionate cricketer and a complete gentleman. Today, New Edinburgh Cricket Club and the rest of the Ottawa Cricket fraternity immensely misses Ravi's presence.
   May God bless his soul forever.
   Following are some Eulogies in honor of Ravi Anna written by current Burghs members:

   Good evening ladies and gentlemen. It is my great honor and privilege to stand before you today to say a few words about Mr. Saba Ravishankar, a friend and a former teammate of mine at New Edinburgh Cricket Club. On behalf of the Burghs, I would like to offer        our  sincerest condolences to his wife, children and to the rest of his family and friends.

I first met Ravi around 1994 when he showed up at practice with his brother in law Ramana.My brother Dom had met Ramana at a co-op job in the Ottawa General Hospital and had invited him to practice with us. Ravi turned up with Ramana that evening and this started an almost 15 year love affair with the club and the results of this successful relationship are in evidence today. New Edinburgh C.C. was a powerhouse in the early to mid 90’s and had won the city cricket championship in 92 and 96 but we were a club in sharp decline towards the end of the decade. Many of the good players had left the club and the club was in trouble with depressed membership. A small group of players, with Ravi at the helm were instrumental in turning the club around and restoring it to a position of strength. Working selflessly and diligently, they restored the membership base. Our ranks swelled with the introduction of talented players from Ottawa’s Tamil community who were brought to the club by Ravi Anna as he was affectionately known. Our club continues to be prosperous and successful and much credit must be given to the man we are honoring today.

Ravi will be remembered by his numerous friends in Ottawa as a decent gentleman who brought dignity and grace to everything he was involved with. When I first heard about Ravi’s sickness last week, I was speaking with my brother and he reminded me of an interesting anecdote that involved Ravi. In 95 my firm had won a large contract with National Defence to build a radar simulator. We were awarded the contract and were panicking because we now had to deliver the project. Ravi introduced us to his friend, Dr. Sun who was a recent PhD in Computer Science. Thanks to Ravi’s convincing and assurances of our good characters, this brilliant scientist joined our ragtag team and somehow against all odds, we delivered the project successfully. This successful project launched a few careers and when we thanked Ravi for his help later on, he brushed it off with typical modesty. I think this was the essential nature of the man. A quiet fixer who got things done effectively and was not looking for any great personal credit or fanfare.

I last heard from Ravi in early February this year when he sent me a short note after I had informed him about a personal accomplishment. His note was brief and gave no hint at all to the personal challenges he was facing at the time. He congratulated me and wished me all the best in the future. Again thinking of others first seems to be typical of Ravi’s character and this thought has been echoed in my conversations with others this evening.I would like you to know that Ravi was a key force behind the creation of the Rawle Williams Memorial cricket game that we play every year to honur our fallen comrades. This charity game has become the highlight of the Burghs season and has helped donate thousands of dollars to charitable programs including the Cancer society and the School Breakfast Program. We intend to dedicate this year’s game in honour of Ravi and I urge all of you to attend and support this event in Ravi’s memory. Proceeds raised will go to support the Cancer Society. event in Ravi’s memory. Proceeds raised will go to support the Cancer Society.

I have heard that the number of people who attend your funeral is an indicator of the impact your life has had on others. When I look around this room tonight and I see the number of people who have come here to honour the memory of a husband, a father, a son and a friend I know
that this sentiment is true indeed. Ravi’s legacy will live on in the strength and courage that he has shown in facing his challenges and in the relationships he established. In the end all that is left are words and thoughts and the monuments we construct are in the personal relationships we build with others and in the good memories of those we have left behind. I am confident that Ravi‘s memory will live on in the good works he did while he was with us and especially through the lives of his beautiful children and others he touched.

Sadly, Ravi’s innings came to an end far too soon. Forty Seven years is far too young for him to leave us. We were truly enriched by our association with him and are impoverished by his passing. The Ottawa Tamil community and the cricketing fraternity to large are greatly diminished by his absence. Like a true gentleman cricketer, he has accepted his decision with quiet dignity and grace and we will always remember our friend warmly and use his life as an inspiration to guide our own.
Thank you and Rest in Peace.

By: Ajit Thomas
Dated: 24 April 2011

My first memory of Ravi Saba goes back to when I was a newbie in Ottawa cricket and was playing for the Juniors. I vividly remember taking strike at RH 2 against this lanky mustachioed Sri Lankan charging
in with a not inconsiderable run-up. As Ravi approached the wicket, I felt a clear sense of trepidation at what would undoubtedly be some rapid pace. I was lucky enough to spot the ball early and moved
quickly to play an intended defensive stroke. Alas, the ball arrived about an over later, by which point I’d completed my MCC manual-esque follow through. The Kookaburra gently lobbed by my feet and
into the stumps. Pankaj Shrichand – Bowled Ravi Saba, Nought. Morale of the story: Do not judge a bowler by the length and ferocity of his run-up.

I joined the Burghs in 2004 and Ravi had been the club’s President for a number of years at this point. Those with a much longer association with the club than myself will attest to the fact that without Ravi’s
mature leadership, New Edinburgh Cricket Club may have seized to exist in the late 90s. Since then the club has flourished both on and off the cricket field, but much of this can be traced back to Ravi’s efforts to keep a struggling club alive in the late 90s and early 2000s. A club whose inception dates back to 1928 owes a substantial debt of gratitude to Ravi.

Despite having left NECC to help found Nepean Cricket Club in 2008, Ravi continued to maintain a strong association with our club. I think I only truly appreciated his affinity for the Burghs when I took over as President myself in 2009-10. Being enmeshed in the administrative side of managing the club, I quickly found that Ravi made a conscious effort to participate in all our social gatherings. He got in touch with me in 2009 and offered to send a CBC reporter to cover the Burghs annual awards dinner. He was also
a regular feature in every Burghs Memorial Game, an event that he was in fact instrumental in founding in 2005 following the sad demise of Rawle Williams. Ravi played in last year’s Memorial Game and entertained with his inimitable bowling, batting, fielding and subsequent analysis of the game!

Ravishankar Saba passed away last Sunday, April 24th, still shy of his half century. Attending Ravi’s viewing and funeral over the past two days, I had the opportunity to reminisce about Ravi with some of the “ol skool” of Burghs – Harpreet, Ajit, Nakul, Kamal, Jaijeet, and others. We chuckled over the mammoth jar of peanuts that Ravi showed up with at every game which everyone in the team tore into during the innings interval. Anna must’ve made a statutory trip to Costco every Friday evening to arrange for that must-have jar of peanuts on game day. We spoke of how he was a player of modest ability but tough as nails. I vividly remember repeatedly busting up his fingers (and head for that matter!) while running slip catching drills. You’d ask him to take a break, but he’d just laugh it off and keep coming back for more. We joked about his unfailing ability to analyze and describe in great depth and nuance every wicket he’d taken and every boundary he’d ever scored.

Ravi anna, you will be fondly remembered and sorely missed at the cricket ground. Having shared a few cold ones with you over the years, my first post-match beer this year will be in your memory. Cheers and well played!

By: Pankaj Shrichand
Dated: 24 April 2011