The Indians played their first tour match against T.G. Trott's XI at Pelsham Farm, Pearmarsh near Rye on 29 April 1932.
The Indians played their first tour match against T.G. Trott's XI at Pelsham Farm, Pearmarsh near Rye on 29 April 1932. Interestingly, playing against the Indian team in this match was Duleepsinhji. While the Indians acquitted themselves fairly well with Lall Singh, the Sikh from Kuala Lumpur leading the way, it was on 22 May 1932 in the unofficial tour match against the MCC that the world had a glimpse of what India's first home grown legend, C. K. Nayudu, was capable of.
Nayudu, who would go on to be Wisden Cricketer of the year in 1933, smashed the first Indian century of the tour in style. The Star's headline on 22 May 1932 summed it all up: "The Hindu Bradman in Form at Lord's."
Autograph hunters - Northumberland - 1932 Tour
The Observer was equally eloquent: "A brilliant not out innings of 116 by C.K. Nayudu was the feature of the first day's play between All-India and the MCC." The Indian team was designated 'All India' to emphasize the point that it was a representative team with players from all parts of the country.
However, it was in the first and only test match of the tour at Lord's that the Indians shocked the English in the first half-hour itself. The MCC was reduced to a dismal 19-3 by some excellent Indian bowling and fielding.
Wrote The Birmingham Post: "The All India cricket team has administered a few shocks to the dignity and confidence of England today. If there were among the 24,000 spectators at Lords some who imagined that the granting of a Test match by the MCC to the tourists from the Indian empire was merely an amiable concession, then they had a very rude awakening before the close of play."
It was an extraordinary start to the match. Sutcliffe and Holmes, Yorkshire's record smashing opening pair, united in a similar manner under the banner of England, went out full of cool confidence. But the first ball of Nissar's second over was an in-swinger and Sutcliffe, playing with the edge instead of the middle of the bat, diverted it into the wicket and one of England's greatest batsmen was out.
'The NW Frontier of India'
Cartoon in Nottingham Guardian
on April 6, 1932.
The disappointment was redoubled and revived when the last ball of the same over, a delivery perfect in flight, length and pace, sent Holmes off stump spinning through the air, while the batsman was only half way through the stroke. Woolley and Hammond were now together.
When he (Woolley) had got 9 in twenty minutes he played a ball from Nissar to a point between short leg and mid-on. The stroke was worth a comfortable single and no more, but for some extraordinary reason an attempt was made to secure two runs. The fielder, the blue turbaned Lall Singh, threw in rather wildly, but even so the wicketkeeper had time to gather it and remove the bails while Woolley was still several feet from home. The wicket was thrown away by wild calling, and three men were out for 19.
Though India eventually lost the match by 158 runs, the courage and grit shown at Lord's, which was evident in the first half hour itself with England reduced to 19-3, clearly conveyed to the world that the Indians, in little time, would carve out a niche in the world of cricket.
Lord's, 25-28 June 1932
England 259 (Jardine 79, Ames 65, Nissar 5/93)
India 189 (Naoomal 33, Nayudu 40, Bowes 4/49, Voce 3/23)
England 275/8 (Jardine 85*, Paynter 54, Khan 4/60)
India 187 (Wazir Ali 39, Amar Singh 51, Hammond 3/9)
England wins by 158 runs
Here are the original scorecards from the match.
A page from CK Nayudu's Scrap Book of the tour
Courtesy: CK Nayudu Family and Boria Majumdar Collection.