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Beyond the Boundary, Dogs and Indians Barred in India’s Inaugural Test Match

Bombay Gymkhana and the Inaugural Test Match of 1933

In a historic moment on December 15, 1933, India’s cricket team, under the leadership of Colonel CK Nayadu, faced off against Douglas Jardine’s England at the Bombay Gymkhana Club in what would become the inaugural Test match on Indian soil. This match, etching its significance in the annals of Indian cricket, marked a turning point for the nation’s cricketing journey.

RESOURCED ARTICLE In 1st Test Played In India, “Dogs And Indians” Weren’t Allowed To Spectate

Rewinding 91 years, the roots of this moment trace back to June 25, 1932, when an ‘All-India’ cricket team embarked on a journey to England. Their four-day Test match at Lord’s heralded the beginning of a rich legacy for Indian cricket. Fast forward to December 15, 1933, and India was hosting its first-ever Test Match, a testament to the growth and evolution of the sport within the country.

Acknowledging this historical occasion, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor recently shared a captivating picture commemorating the 90th anniversary of this landmark event. The image, capturing the essence of that first Test match on Indian soil, resonates with the cultural and sporting heritage of the nation.

However, the historical backdrop unveils a less celebratory aspect. Discriminatory practices prevailed during those times, as Indians and even dogs were not allowed on the Gymkhana premises. In response to this exclusion, the visionary Maharaja of Patiala took a stand. He founded the Cricket Club of India and the Brabourne Stadium, creating an inclusive haven where racial restrictions held no sway. This move not only addressed a pressing issue but also laid the foundation for a cricketing legacy accessible to all.

The significance of the Test match at Bombay Gymkhana Club in 1933 transcends the cricketing field. It played a crucial role in shaping the future trajectory of Indian cricket. Maharaja Bhupinder Singh’s efforts bore fruit in the form of the Cricket Club of India, a crucial subsidiary of the BCCI, and the iconic Brabourne Stadium.

The match itself unfolded with India batting first, posting a score of 219. Lala Amarnath emerged as the leading run-scorer in the first innings, setting the stage for an enthralling contest. England, in response, showcased their prowess with a score of 438, establishing a substantial lead. Despite England eventually clinching the victory by 9 wickets, the Test match stands as a pivotal chapter in India’s cricketing history.

Players like Mohammad Nissar and Amar Singh, part of the Indian bowling duo, showcased their talent, leaving an indelible mark. Notably, Mohammad Nissar later became one of the founding members of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) after India gained independence.

The legacy of this Test match extends beyond the cricket field. Lala Amarnath’s contributions in the second innings, where he scored 118, marked a significant milestone. He not only became the first Indian to score a test century but also secured the position of the leading run-scorer for India in Tests. This legacy continued with his son, Mohinder Amarnath, who played a pivotal role in India’s triumph in the ODI World Cup in 1983.

The events at Bombay Gymkhana Club in 1933 set the stage for the iconic Wankhede Stadium, which emerged four decades later from a dispute between the Cricket Club of India (CCI) and the Bombay Cricket Association (BCA). This stands as a testament to the enduring impact of historical events on the evolution of cricketing infrastructure.

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In conclusion, the 1933 Test match in Bombay not only marked a crucial moment in Indian cricket history but also became a catalyst for change, inspiring the establishment of inclusive venues and shaping the trajectory of cricket in the nation. The echoes of that historic day continue to resonate in the rich tapestry of Indian cricket.

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