PART II- CRICKET GROUNDS

                                  Contd …..

BRABOURNE STADIUM

Brabourne stadium.  Photo courtesy : Sportskeeda.com

The Brabourne Stadium was built on a piece of land reclaimed from the sea which Lord Brabourne, Governor of Bombay, presented to the Cricket Club of India 

The Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai boasts of a glorious past. It is named after Lord Brabourne who laid the foundation stone for the stadium on 22 May 1936. Brabourne stadium, built on a piece of land reclaimed from the sea, was officially inaugurated on 7th December 1937. The opening match was played between CCI and Lord Tennyson’s team. This luxurious stadium became a center for multiple sports facilities during the British period and also hosted international tennis tournaments.

Now It can accommodate 20,000 people for sports matches. The ground is owned by the Cricket club of India  (CCI). 

The Brabourne has been identified as a Heritage Grade IIB structure.The stadium has a pavilion and three public stands, namely the West Stand, North Stand and East Stand. The three public stands face the clubhouse from three different sides of the ground and are sheltered by cavernous, overhanging roofs.

The pavilion can be divided into the clubhouse in the centre with the Governor’s Pavilion and the Maharaja of Patiala Pavilion on either side and is a three-story art deco nautical structure with rounded pediments, flagpoles and port-hole windows.] The pavilion boasts of dark wood wall paneling and decorative marble floors. The walls of the pavilion are adorned with portraits of past and present cricketers and photographs of famous cricket matches.

ENCOMIUMS BY LEGENDS 

The Brabourne Stadium has drawn praise from various quarters. Australian cricketer Keith Miller called the ground “the most complete ground in the world”, West Indian legend Frank Worrell stated that the Brabourne was the only ground in the world where he could be in his dressing gown until he had to pad up, hence he loved playing at the venue.

Brian Lara, “It is one of the most beautiful venues across the world. Perfect to host a good cricket match.” Former Indian captain Ajit Wadekar commented on the eve of the India-Sri Lanka test in 2009, “It is the ultimate dream for any cricketer to play at Lord’s; by the same token, every Indian cricketer would like to play at the CCI. It has a lovely atmosphere and that makes you feel different. You also play in front of a knowledgeable crowd.   Former Indian captain M. S. Dhoni stated, “… Of course, it is special to play at CCI. … It has a nice atmosphere.”

 Noted Journalist and Chairman of the Mid-Day group, Khalid A. H. Ansari wrote in his newspaper, “Having witnessed cricket the world over, I can confidently say that cricket at the alluring Brabourne Stadium is an experience without parallel.”

INTERNATIONAL MATCHES

The Brabourne Stadium hosted Test matches from 1948 to 1972 and it was the venue for Bombay Pentangular matches from 1937 until 1946. 

It has hosted 18 Tests out of which India won 5 Tests and lost 2 and remaining were drawn.  It hosted 9 ODIs including Nehru Cup, Hero Cup and ICC Champions Trophy and India won 2 ODIs.  

It has hosted India’s First T20 International match in 2007 (after a roaring success in winning the T20I World cup in S.A.) and India won the match comfortably.

After falling out with CCI  over ticketing arrangements , the Bombay Cricket Association (BCA) built the Wankhede Stadium a few hundred metres north of Brabourne Stadium. After the Wankhede Stadium was built, Brabourne was no longer used for Test matches, although visiting teams played a few first-class matches at the ground. Apart from cricket, the ground has played host to tennis and football matches as well as music shows and concerts.

More recently, international cricket has returned to Brabourne; it played host to the ICC Champions Trophy in 2006 and it was the venue for the first Twenty20 International played in India in 2007. Brabourne hosted a Test match in December 2009 after 36 years, thus creating a record for the biggest gap between two tests at the same ground. The ground was home to the Mumbai Indians, Several matches of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2013 were held here. At its AGM in September 2013, the BCCI unanimously decided to allot international matches as per its rotation policy thereby bringing the ground back as a regular international venue. BCCI also used this stadium on 29 May 2014 for IPL playoffs that is eliminator between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings. In IPL 2015 the venue was secondary home ground to the Rajasthan Royals.

Test cricket 

Brabourne hosted 17 Test matches between 1948 and 1973, starting with two matches against the West Indies in India’s first home series after World War II in 1948–49.. India won their first ever test series in 1952 against Pakistan after taking a 2–1 lead on the basis of this victory. Vijay Hazare scored a hundred in each of his four test match appearances at the ground, the most by any player here.

 

Indian batsman Abbas Ali Baig became the first Indian cricketer to be kissed on a cricket field during the third Test between India and Australia at the Brabourne in 1960. When Baig reached the fifty run mark, a young woman ran onto the ground from the North Stand and kissed him on his cheek in full view of a packed crowd. 

During the test match in  Jan.1964, several members of the visiting England team faced fitness issues, forcing England to request India to provide a substitute fielder. On successive days, A. G. Kripal Singh and Hanumant Singh took the field as substitutes for Micky Stewart. 

CHANDRA SPINS FOR INDIA

The Test match between India and Australia on October 10, 1964, was an absolute cracker of a match in which India held the nerve to win the match by 2 wickets with MAK Pataudi playing a captain’s knock and helping India chase the target in the 4th Innings.

The rookie leg spinner aged just 19 years B. Chandrasekar tormented the Aussies with his googly deliveries and scalped 8 wickets in the Test and helped India win this Test.

Bhagwat Chandrasekar at his best at Brabourne against Aussies.  Photo courtesy :  Getty Images

The final day coincided with the festival of Dussehra, a public holiday, which meant that an estimated crowd of 42,000 thronged to witness the proceedings, hopeful of a famous Indian victory and Captain M.A.K. Pataudi led from the front with a half century and his stand of 93 runs with Vijay Manjrekar almost sealed India’s win and Chandu Borde stayed till the end and saw India in winning moments.

The winning moment arrived when Borde hit a straight drive to the boundary off a full toss from Veivers, sending the packed house into delirium. India reached 256/8 with half an hour left in the game and Borde, unbeaten on 30, returned to the pavillion as a hero. 

The Indian captain himself played a  decisive role in the stirring victory hitting 86 and 53 runs, and unsurprisingly, mentioned it as ‘the most satisfying I have known as captain’ in his 1969 autobiography Tiger’s Tale.

In an unusual occurrence, when Gundappa Viswanath completed a hundred runs for India against England in a test match in 1973, he was lifted by England fielder Tony Greig.

ICONIC MOMENT

The best Test to remember was way back in the 5th &  final Test, against West Indies played in Feb 4-8, 1949, a tantalizing match ended in a Draw. India’s bowlers finally had a good match in the 5 Test series, keeping West Indies to 268 and 267. Set a target of 361 in 395 minutes, India finished on 355/8 thanks to a brilliant century by India’s mainstay Vijay Hazare and with West Indies, Captain Goddard’s behindhand tactics and the Indian umpire Bapu Joshi’s howler, signalling the end of the Test when there were two minutes still left to go. Thus the Indians were denied their First Win in Tests by just 6 runs.

Concerts And Events

  • During a NUS convention, Jawaharlal Nehru addressed a fully packed Brabourne Stadium in 1950.
  • The Brabourne Stadium witnessed the centenary celebrations of the Indian National Congress in 1985. 
  • The ground served as the venue for the Filmfare Award ceremony in 1955 and also the 26th International Film Festival of India in 1995.
  • In 1994, Bryan Adams performed in Brabourne Stadium in his first show for India. Also, Indian artists such as Lata Mangeshkar, Jagjit Singh, etc have had their performances here.
  • The Zubin Mehta-led Israel Philharmonic orchestra performed four concerts at Brabourne in 1994, each with a capacity crowd of 15,000.The Rolling Stones performed at the ground during their Licks Tour on 7 April 2003 to a sold out crowd of 25,000 people.
  • Placido Domingo performed at the Brabourne in 2008 as part of a concert.Some Indian artists, such as Jagjit Singh and Lata Mangeshkar, have also performed at the ground.

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