25 October, 2020

Of Sixes And Pride

CK Nayudu epitomised the best in Indian Cricket.

Of Sixes And Pride

Such large crowds normally gathered only for civil disobedience. On 1st December, 1926, 25,000 people trooped into the Bombay Gymkhana grounds to watch a game of cricket. The visiting team was the strongest that had ever played there; the MCC, led by Arthur Gilligan, consisting of players like legendary medium-pacer Maurice Tate, Test cricket's first triple-centurion Andy Sandham and Leicestershire allrounder William Astill.

Facing them was the strongest local team of that era: The Hindus. On their way to Bombay, the MCC team had bludgeoned its way through north India, thrashing every team they played. On the first day of this match, they had rattled up 363; Hindus were 16 for 1 at close of play, and quickly slid to 84 for 3 on the second morning. Defeat seemed inevitable. Then, CK Nayudu walked in.

He walked in at a time when cricket wasn't -as it is today - considered an Indian sport. Cricket in India had begun essentially as an elitist pastime propagated by the British - colonial masters recasting the natives in their image - and thrived in its...



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