How BCCI could hit 225 years of Indian cricket history for a six
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) may have sent history for a six by not being part of an evening which will commemorate 225 years of the sport being played in India.
The Calcutta Cricket and Football Club (CC&FC), the oldest cricket club outside the British Isles, will mark the milestone here on Saturday. It will do that with a dinner that raises money for destitute children suffering from cancer.
India captain Virat Kohli, coach Ravi Shastri, former greats Sunil Gavaskar, VVS Laxman and Virender Sehwag are expected to be present, but no one from those who run the game in India.
A report on February 23, 1792 in the Madras Courier newspaper talked about Calcutta Cricket Club’s games against Barrackpore and Dum Dum, military bases then which are now part of Kolkata. The matches may have been played near Raj Bhavan, nearly 8km away from the club’s current address in south Kolkata, but the report’s authenticity has been corroborated by cricket almanac Wisden.
That makes these the earliest reported matches in India.
The CC&FC celebrates that day in 1792 as its foundation day though there are reports that it may be older, maybe even senior to London’s Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) that framed the laws of the game in 1788.
“We are in actuality celebrating 225 years of cricket in India. I am not trying to be critical here but this is an opportunity lost. The BCCI should have been part of this. We did try through friends to push the message but it didn’t go. This is a huge legacy. Something like this doesn’t happen every day,” former India opener and CC&FC president Arun Lal told Hindustan Times.
Having shifted from Delhi to Bengal in 1980-81, Lal, 62, led the state to the Ranji Trophy title in 1989-90. A former president of the club, Tom Longfield, was Bengal captain when they won the Ranji Trophy for the first time in 1939.
“We are still hoping the whole India team comes. We reached out to Virat and Ravi in our personal capacities. It is just goodwill and because they believed in this great cause,” said Lal.