In 2012, Sanmar’s flagship cricket team Jolly Rovers won the prestigious ‘Palayampatti Shield’ for the TNCA senior division league for the eighth time since 2000. Significantly, Jolly Rovers has won the shield 17 times. Its most memorable feat has been that of five successive triumphs in the recent past (1999-2000 to 2004-2005).
Jolly Rovers has made winning a habit, starting as far back as the 1964-1965 season, when it was run by members of The Hindu family. It was in the 1966-67 season that India Cements, the original promoters of Chemplast, adopted Jolly Rovers. They set about building a formidable combination in right earnest, and at one stage had some of the finest players the state had produced in its ranks. There was a fresh wave of recruitment in the mid 1970s when the team came under the management of Chemplast Sanmar. The team won the Palayampatti Shield for three consecutive years from 1966-67 to 1968-69, repeating the feat in 1970-71 and 1971-72. It was the champion three times in the 1980s and again in 1990-91.
Alwarpet Cricket club became a Sanmar sponsored team in early 2000. They clinched the Championship in the recently concluded TNCA Second division league thereby earning a promotion to the Senior (First) division league of TNCA.
Former Indian wicket keeper Bharat Reddy has been in-charge of talent spotting and nurturing Chemplast supported teams for more than 30 years.
The IIT-Chemplast cricket ground is a jewel in the crown of Chennai cricket. The pavilion was declared open by the legendary Neil Harvey in 1998. The ground maintains a classical touch much like the stylish Aussie southpaw who enthralled many with his panache. Developed and maintained by Sanmar, the superb ground and the excellent practice and training facilities available there have been important factors in the success of Jolly Rovers and other clubs sponsored by Sanmar in recent years. The ground is a world-class facility with a fine outfield and sporting wickets, besides an elegant pavilion that combines old-world charm and modern comforts.
The Indian cricket team has a close connection with the IIT-Sanmar cricket venue. Over the years, many cricket icons have trained at the IIT-Sanmar ground. Yuvraj Singh and Zaheer Khan had their first camp here before their maiden tour to Kenya. Harbhajan Singh attended trials to join Chemplast in 1997. Even the likes of Richard Hadlee have commented on the pitches and pavilion at the ground and their being of a far superior quality. The IIT Sanmar cricket ground had the unique opportunity to host the Indian team during their 2011 World Cup for practices.
The Sanmar Group has the distinction of contributing some outstanding talent to the Indian team. VB Chandrasekar, S Venkataraghavan, L Sivaramakrishnan, Robin Singh, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, Dinesh Karthik, S Ramesh, L Balaji, Piyush Chawla, Munaf Patel, S Badrinath, R Ashwin, Murali Vijay, Sujith Somasundar, Hemang Badani, Tinu Yohanan and Dinesh Mongia are some of Sanmar’s contributions to Team India.
A tour of England is regarded as an excellent education in a young cricketer's life. The cricketers representing The Sanmar Group in the Chennai league and other tournaments across India are expected to perform professionally and are given every facility to achieve that goal. To recognise their efforts, the Group has, over the years, instituted a system of rewards for excellence and a tour of England has been one such incentive that the cricket team enjoys.
This year, The Sanmar cricket team toured England from 28 May to 14 June 2013, playing eight limited overs matches in all after the opening fixture was rained out. The tour, a reward for the consistent performances of Jolly Rovers and Chemplast, the two teams that Sanmar fields in domestic cricket, was a successful venture, with the tourists winning six matches and losing one and one match unfinished.
The tour was marked by consistent displays by the Sanmar batsmen, with Nilesh and Bharath Shankar scoring hundreds. Leg spinner Piyush Chawla not only took vital wickets but also scored runs when the team needed them. Skipper Hemanth Kumar, Ashwin and Anand were also regularly among the runs.
Of the bowlers, off-spinner Prabhu was the most successful, while left-arm spinner Syed, Kaushik, Jesuraj, and Sakthi were also consistent.
This is the team's third tour of England, after equally successful visits in 2004 and 2007. As Bharath Reddy, Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs of the Group, puts it, “These tours boost the morale of players and support staff.”