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India's Test Debut - A Photo Essay (Part I)
by Boria Majumdar
Jul 18, 2007
The Times, London on 1 March 1932, one-and-a-half months before the Indians embarked on their tour of England published the following report:

“We still play cricket in India. Political rough houses, communal riots, Congress hartals, Bengal terrorists, and the 10% cut in pay have all done their best to queer the pitch for us, but the game goes on. The Delhi police may be having three sharp rounds with a rioting crowd in the Chandni Chowk, the crowded bazaar of the old city, but a mile or two away on the club ground set in the gardens that 400 years ago Shah Jehan built for his princess, a Roshanara side will be playing the Punjab Wanderers or an Army team from New Cantonments will be fielding in the white sunlight.

Pic Credit: Boria Majumdar Collection.
Pen Pix of the Indian team.
Here is the team for England:

The Maharaja of Patiala, Captain (eventually withdrew in favour of the Maharaja of Porbander), K. S. Ghanshyamsinhji (Kathiawar), Vice Captain, Amar Singh (Jamnagar), S.M.H Colah (Bombay), Ghulam Mohammed (Ahmedabad), Joginder Singh (Punjab), B.E. Kapadia (Bombay), Lal Singh (Kuala Lumpur), N.D. Marshall (Bombay), J. Naoomal (Karachi), J.G. Navle (Gwalior), C.K. Nayudu (Indore), Nazir Ali (Patiala), S. M. Nissar (Punjab), P.E. Palia (Mysore), S Godambe (Bombay), Wazir Ali (Bhopal).

It will be seen that the team is composed entirely of Indians; the question of selecting Englishmen playing in India did not arise.”

Soon after the Indian team arrived in England on 13 April, 1932, the Evening Standard was slack-jawed with wonder, but did not fail to comment on the socio-political significance of the tour:

Pic Credit: CK Nayudu Family.
CK Nayudu's Scrap Book of the tour.
[More pictures below]
“No politics, no caste, just cricket. This is the unofficial slogan of the cricket team that has come from India after a lapse of 21 years (the last occasion an Indian team had toured was in 1911, when the Maharaja of Patiala had led an unofficial Indian team to England) to try its strength against England and the first class counties.

There has never been such a team of contrasts meeting on the common footing of cricket.

The 18 players speak eight to ten languages among them; they belong to four or five different castes; some may not eat this and some may not eat that; a few are denied smoking by their religious laws; some similarly have drink proscribed; they are captained by a Maharajah rich beyond the dreams of county cricket treasurers and they have tradesmen who earn their living with their hands; some come from the plains where cold is almost unknown, and others from the hills where the climate has insured them even to an English summer.

Caste demands that the Hindus do not eat beef or veal, and that the Mohammedans avoid pork, bacon and ham. So to prevent any difficulties at meal times the order has gone forth that these things must not appear on any menu during the tour. Instead the men will eat mutton, chicken and fish.

The team contains six Hindus, five Mohammedans, four Parsees and two Sikhs. The Mohammedans forswear alcohol by religion and most of the others do so by choice. The Sikhs, who will play cricket in turbans, are similarly denied smoking. There are no training regulations but when serious cricket comes along there is a voluntary rule of 9 o’ clock bed…”

Pic Credit: Boria Majumdar Collection.
The Team in London.
On April 23, 1932, Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News wrote -

All except one of the 18 members arrived in England last week. Team is captained by the Maharaja of Porbandar, and vice-captained by his brother-in-law, Kumar shri Ghanshyamsinhji of Limbdi. The Kumar Shri leaves Bombay this week, after his recent wedding. Except for the absence of a few cricketers of the former Hindu Gymkhana, the side is considered to be fully representative, bowling and fielding are its strong points. Its batting is vulnerable to slow left or very fast bowling. The average age of the players is about twenty-nine years.

Pictures of the team

Pic Credit: CK Nayudu Family. The Captain - The Maharaja of Porbandar (Kathiawar)

Pic Credit: CK Nayudu Family. The player who is reputed to be the best all-rounder of the team. CK Naidu of Indore.

Pic Credit: CK Nayudu Family. PE Palia (Mysore) A Class slow left-hand bowler and Godambe (Bombay) who is a slow break bowler.

Pic Credit: CK Nayudu Family. Two portraits of Syed Nazir Ali (Patiala). He is a sometime opening bat and a useful medium bowler.

Pic Credit: CK Nayudu Family. Lall Singh (Kuala Lumpur) is a good batsman.

Pic Credit: CK Nayudu Family. Amar Singh (Patiala). Fast Medium Right Hand Bowler and useful batsman.

Pic Credit: CK Nayudu Family. Wazir Ali (Bhopal). A very good all rounder.

Pic Credit: CK Nayudu Family. JG Navle(Gwalior). A good bat and wicketkeeper.

Pic Credit: CK Nayudu Family. J Naoomal (Karachi) is a good bat. Joginder Singh (Lahore) is a right-hand forcing bat.

Pic Credit: CK Nayudu Family. Ghulam Mahomed (Sind) is a left hand bowler and right hand batsman. Kumar Shri Ghanshyam Sinhji Limbdi is vice-captain and a useful bat.

Pic Credit: CK Nayudu Family. Ghulam Mahomed (Sind) is a left hand bowler and right hand batsman. Kumar Shri Ghanshyam Sinhji Limbdi is vice-captain and a useful bat.
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