History of cricket in India and BCCI

I have always been curious about BCCI as an organisation and its historical foundations. Given the mess BCCI is in and its huge political clout, have always wondered how did this thing start?

Came across this really interesting description of history of cricket in India and what led to formation of BCCI. It is on BCCI website. It started in 1926 with a discussion to induct India into ICC:

It was in 1926, eight years after the end of the War, that two representatives of the Calcutta Cricket Club travelled to London to attend a couple of meetings of the Imperial Cricket Conference.

Technically, the CCC should not have been allowed to participate in the meeting, as the club did not have exclusive control over cricket in India. But the club had the blessings of Lord Harris, who was Chairman of the ICC at the time. A significant outcome of the meeting was the MCC’s decision to send a team to India in 1926-27. Arthur Gilligan, who had captained England in the 1924-25 Ashes, was assigned the captaincy of the team.

The match between the visitors and the Hindus at the Bombay Gymkhana was made memorable by the man who had hit a six on his first-class debut in 1916.

C.K. Nayudu blasted thirteen boundaries and eleven sixes on the way to 153. His century took him only hundred minutes to complete, and left the spectators delirious. Prof. D.B. Deodhar’s 148 for ‘All-India’ in an earlier game, as also the showing of cricketers like J.G. Navle, Wazir Ali and Col. Mistry, made a huge impression on the visiting captain. Gilligan was convinced that India was ready for Test cricket.

By then, not only was cricket being played all over the subcontinent by the locals, but it had also scaled unforeseen heights of popularity. An annual Presidency match between the Europeans and Indians had been instituted in Chennai in 1915. It was played during the Pongal festivities. Sind, Calcutta, Lahore, Lucknow, Hyderabad and Kanpur were among the other leading cricket centres on the subcontinent. The Maharaja of Patiala supervised the creation of cricket arenas in Patiala and Chail, where he arranged for coaches from overseas to train junior cricketers.

Gilligan was one of the active participants in a meeting in Delhi in February 1927. The Maharaja of Patiala, a British businessman named Grant Govan, and Anthony De Mello were the other attendees. Gilligan expressed his praise of Indian cricket, and promised to press for India’s inclusion in the ICC, if all the promoters of cricket in the land came together to establish a single controlling body.

Govan, Patiala and De Mello in turn assured Gilligan that they would do their bit. They convened a meeting in Delhi on 21st November 1927,which was attended by around forty-five delegates. These comprised cricket representatives from Sind, Punjab, Patiala, Delhi, the United Provinces, Rajputana, Alwar, Bhopal, Gwalior, Baroda, Kathiawar and Central India.

Interesting to know this. It had following objectives:

There was a consensus that a Board of Cricket Control was essential to ensure the following:

  • Advance and control the game of cricket throughout India
  • Arrange and control inter-territorial, foreign and other cricket matches.
  • Make arrangements incidental to visits of teams to India, and to manage and control All-India representatives playing within and outside India.
  • If necessary, to control and arrange all or any inter-territorial disputes.
  • To settle disputes or differences between Associations affiliated to the Board and appeals referred to it by any such Associations.
  • To adopt if desirable, all rules or amendments passed by the Marylebone Cricket Club.

 Another meeting, held at the Bombay Gymkhana on 10th December 1927, ended with a unanimous decision to form a ‘Provisional’ Board of Control to represent cricket in India. The plan was for this ‘Provisional’ Board to cease to function as soon as eight territorial cricket associations were created. Representatives of the eight associations would then come together to constitute the Board.

Then they met up with the England officials and as a result India became a member of ICC.

Amazing how BCCI was formed to form some kind of authority and now has become “the authority” of world cricket.

BCCI as an organisation deserves a deeper historical narrative. If one sees its objectives which it even does today, it is no less than a kind of inter-state council which tries to resolve differences amidst State differences over cricket. It is like one of those federal bodies which tries to work around the system. But not established by government. Following qs come to mind:

  • How this whole franchise was established?
  • How  did it manage and coordinate various state cricket associations?
  • How did it promote cricket around the  country?
  • How BCCI remains a body which though remains out of government control yet is dominated by government?
  • How did it become the tour de force it is today?

etc etc. 

Given the craze of cricket in the country, one should know how did all of this start from an institutional perspective..

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One Response to “History of cricket in India and BCCI”

  1. How Indo-Pak ended up hosting the 1987 World Cup Cricket? | Mostly Economics Says:

    […] role in bringing Cricket World Cup to India despite all the odds. Was hugely inspired y’day from this post which led me to stumble on this book and just could not keep-off.  It was such an interesting […]

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