Kersi Meher-Homji, OAM: Queen’s Birthday Honours 2022

For service to the multicultural community, and to cricket

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This may be the first time an OAM honoree has burst into song when hearing the news. Kersi Meher-Homji claims he felt compelled to sing the Pankaj Mullick song Aaj apni mehanato ka badla mil gaya (Today I receive the rewards of my hard work) when he heard he had been honoured with the OAM.

Kersi’s love for cricket is well-known not only in Sydney’s Indian community but in the broader mainstream as well.

Describing himself as a “poor cricketer”, he seems to have made up for it by writing prolifically about the game, for almost 60 years now.

“Cricket is a large part of my life,” he told Indian Link. “I have written in cricket magazines in India, Australia and England, giving my opinions without favour or prejudice.”

As a cricket tragic, Kersi’s strength has been statistics. He can rattle off any manner of cricket numbers, leaving you marveling.

“Yes, I enjoy gathering and sharing interesting cricket information,” Kersi said in the quiet manner of a deeply involved academic. “I have written 16 books on cricket. Amongst them are serious ones like Cricket’s Great Families, Cricket’s Great All-rounders, The Waugh Twins, Cricket’s Great Controversies, and quirky ones like Out for a Duck, Nervous Nineties, Six Appeal, Cricket Quirky Cricket. My latest is titled From Bradman to Kohli – the Best of India-Australia Test Cricket. It has forewords by Sunil Gavaskar and Allan Border.”

Kersi Meher-Homji sees India-Australia cricket as a great unifier in a larger sense. “Both Indians and Australians love their cricket. It does bring them together. It hasn’t always been smooth sailing, with controversies galore in the past, but it is much better now.”

Talking about his early days in Australia, Kersi recalled, “Coming to Sydney in 1970 with only $50, without a job, and with a pregnant wife (Villie) by my side, we faced initial problems. But we were helped by friends. Although a postgraduate in virology I got my first job as a schoolteacher in Blacktown, a long travel every morning from where we were living. The warmth and friendliness of students and other teachers made me decide quite quickly that Australia is my country of choice. Even though I taught there for only three weeks, the students were in tears to find out that I would be leaving to take up a job as a virologist in Sydney University.”

Soon Kersi moved to a higher job at the Australian Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service (ARCBTS) NSW, as a Quality Control Officer, working with HIV and Hepatitis viruses.

Here, his research on poliomyelitis, small-pox, hepatitis and HIV viruses resulted in many publications in reputed scientific journals.

These of course were in stark contrast to the writing he was doing for The Times of India, The Illustrated Weekly of India, Sportsweek and Sportsworld in India; The Cricketer, The Wisden Cricket Monthly and SPIN in the UK; The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, The Sun-Herald, Australian Cricket and Cricketer in Australia, and The Wisden Cricketer in South Africa.

Ask Kersi which national cricket team he supports, India or Australia, and he’ll reply without hesitation: “Both; but India, just a little bit more.”

As a devout Zoroastrian, Kersi is a pillar of Sydney’s Parsi community and one of the founders of the Australian Zoroastrian Association in 1971, only months after his arrival. He continued to be editor of its publication Manashni until 2000.

Kersi claims he has enjoyed each of his 52 years in Sydney. “I’m proud to be an Indian-Australian.”

He advises new migrants to be similarly proud of their new identity.

“Be proud and happy that you are in a wonderful country where your hard work will be rewarded if you do your best.”

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Pawan Luthra
Pawan Luthra
Pawan is the publisher of Indian Link and is one of Indian Link's founders. He writes the Editorial section.

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