22 January, 2021

Oh, Would That Patel Could Bat!

The Hindu
Oh, Would That Patel Could Bat!

Indian cricket at 17 was like a teenager who had ‘come out’, free from her governess, and could roam the world at last. By 1949, India in world cricket was no longer India vs England.

In its first 15 years as a Test-playing country (1932-47), India played just 10 Tests, all against England. Barring some unofficial tours, cricket largely comprised matches between Hindus, Muslims, Parsees and the Rest, which had done much to nurture the game here. Just before independence, these matches, seen as a manifestation of communalism in sport and condemned by Gandhi, were stopped. However, by 1949, India had taken steps to become like other Test-playing countries with regular official home and away tours. In 13 months between January 1948 and February 1949, India doubled the number of Tests it had played in the past sixteen years.

The country was still bloodied from Partition when India left for Australia in the winter of 1947. It marked a number of firsts: first Tests against a country other than England, the first tour of a country other than England and the...



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