It would have been easy to begin this account from
the year in which the Board of Control for Cricket
in India was formally established. However, it
won't be right or fair to do so. A historical
review of any organization would be incomplete
unless the event of its birth is juxtaposed against
the incidents that led to the birth itself, however
insignificant they may seem to be.
The birth of any organization is a grand
culmination and redemption of every development
that helps to lend a physical appearance to a
vision. History does not always begin at a specific
point. More often than not, it is a continuing
Keeping this in mind, it can be discerned that the BCCI owes its birth to the following factors:
A. Cricket matches played all over the
sub-continent in the 18th, 19th and early 20th
centuries, which made a foreign sport popular among
B. The birth and growth of prestigious clubs and
gymkhanas that acted as effective springboards for
talented local cricketers.
C. Wealthy citizens who allotted time and money for
the promotion of the game.
D. The zeal and dedication of the founding fathers
of the BCCI.
In the year 1721, a few curious onlookers on
India's west coast, in the region of Kutch, beheld
a new sport that was being played by British
sailors. The seeds of cricket in India were sown
with that game and subsequent such encounters
between British sailors and their compatriots who
had settled in India for trade and 'political'
purposes. However, it was not until 1792, when the
Calcutta Cricket and Football Club (CC & FC) was
set up in the first capital city of British India,
that the traders-turned-rulers started playing the
game on a regular basis.
A friendly fixture between a Military XI and Island
XI played in Mumbai in 1797 is believed to have
attracted a lot of attention and inspired the
locals to emulate their rulers by playing the
sport. It is the oldest recorded match in the city
that went on to become India's cricket capital.
Seven years later, the CC& FC organised a game
between its cricket team and one comprising Alumni
of the Eton College. This match evoked a tremendous
amount of interest amongst the locals. But cricket
largely remained a sport played by the rulers and
watched by the ruled, until 1848, when the Parsees,
the first Indian community to take to cricket in a
big way, instituted the Oriental Cricket Club in
Mumbai in 1848. The same community formed another
club - Young Zorastrians Club - two years later.
The Parsees were followed by the Hindus. They set
up the Bombay Union Hindu Club in 1866, which in
later years would come to be known as the P.J.
Hindu Gymkhana. This institution still stands on
Mumbai's Marine Drive seafront. Sir Dorabjee Tata,
a visionary among the Parsees, contributed to the
establishment of the Parsee Gymkhana in 1884. This
institution also stands today on the Marine Drive
seafront, separated from the Hindu Gymkhana by
another cricket club - the Islam Gymkhana.
While Kolkata and Mumbai were making rapid and
significant cricketing strides, Chennai was not too
far behind. The members of the Madras Cricket Club,
founded in 1848 by Englishmen settled in south
India, initially played the game on the beaches,
and later shifted to a locality in the city known
as Chepauk. This site is presently home to not only
the Madras Cricket Club, but also the M.A.
Chidambaram stadium, one of the best cricket stadia
in the country.
A local patron of cricket was Buchi Babu Naidu, who
founded the Madras United Club and encouraged his
fellow Indians to play the sport and compete with
the Englishmen. A national inter-office tournament
was instituted in his name several decades later.
To be continued..............................