Brabourne Stadium


Brabourne Stadium

The Brabourne Stadium is a cricket ground in the Indian city of Mumbai. It is located near Churchgate railway station in South Mumbai. The stadium is owned by the Cricket Club of India Brabourne stadium hosted Test matches from 1948 to the 1972, as well as the Bombay Pentangular matches.

Since the early 1970s, Brabourne Stadium ceased to be a major venue for international matches after a dispute between CCI and the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) over the allotment of tickets. The MCA then built a cricket stadium of their own, the Wankhede Stadium, a few hundred metres north of Brabourne. Since then it has lost out on major matches though first class matches are held when visiting teams arrive in the city.

Founding

The CCI was incorporated as a company on November 8, 1933, during the MCC's 1933-34 tour of India, with its registered office in New Delhi. R. E. Grant Govan, the President of BCCI, became the first President of the club. Anthony de Mello, then the Secretary of BCCI, also served the secretary of CCI from 1933 to 1937.

The negotiations for the land for the new cricket stadium took place between de Mello and the Bombay governor Lord Brabourne. The popular story goes that before returning at the end of the meeting, de Mello asked Lord Brabourne : 'Your excellency, which would you prefer to accept from sportsmen, money for your Government, or immortality for yourself'. Brabourne chose immortality and CCI was soon allotted 90,000 square yards at a price of Rs. 13.50 per square yard from land reclaimed in the Backbay reclamation scheme. Messrs. Gregson, Batley and King were appointed the architects of the stadium, Shapoorji Pallonji & co were awarded the contract for construction and Frank Tarrant was the first groundsman.

The foundation stone was laid by Lord Brabourne on May 22, 1936. The ground was intended to provide covered accommodation for 35000 spectators and contain pavilion, tennis courts and a swimming pool. The first match was played in the incomplete stadium in October 1937 between the CCI and the Spencer Cup XI. The stadium was opened on December 7, 1937 by Sir Lawrence Roger Lumley, the Governor of Bombay, Lord Brabourne being now the Governor of Bengal. The stadium was named after Brabourne at the suggestion of the Maharaja of Patiala. On the same day, CCI met the visiting Lord Tennyson's XI in the inaugural first class match in the stadium.

The estimated cost of construction was Rs. 18 lakhs (1.8 million) but the actual costs exceeded this by over a third. It took the efforts of people like Abubhai Jasdenwala who had succeeded de Mello as the secretary in 1937 and Sir Nowroji Saklatwala, the head of the Tatas for a few years for the CCI to cover the costs. The Maharaja of Idar paid for the Governor's pavilion and Maharaja of Patiala for the pavilion that was named after him. The deficits were paid off from the sale of debentures and from the income from the Bombay Pentangular matches.

Cricket matches

With the completion of the stadium in 1937, the Bombay Pentangular tournament was moved from the Bombay Gymkhana. It was in this year that the Rest entered the competition as the fifth team. Hindus, however, withdrew their team after a dispute over the seating allocation. The eight years at Brabourne were perhaps the most glorious in the history of the tournament. The battle between Vijay Merchant and Vijay Hazare in 1943-44 saw the record for the highest individual score being bettered three times in the first week of December ending with Hazare's 309 out of Rest's 387 allout in the final. In the Ranji match against Maharashtra that began on the last day of the year, Merchant improved upon it with an innings of 359 notout which still stands as the highest score made on the ground. In the 1944-45 final of the Pentangular, Muslims chased 298 to defeat the Hindus by one wicket. The Pentangular tournament was discontinued after the 1946-47 season .

Brabourne hosted seventeen Test matches, starting with two against West Indies in India's first home series after the war in 1948-49. Vijay Hazare scored a hundred in each of his four appearances. 16 Ranji Trophy finals were played at the stadium between 1938 and 1973. Bombay figured in fourteen of these and won on each occasion. Among the other notable innings played at the ground are Denis Compton's 249* for Holkar in the 1944-45 final and Ajit Wadekar's triple century in 1966-67 against Chandrasekhar and Prasanna.

The one serious instance of crowd trouble at the stadium happened in the final session of the fourth day (08-11-1969) of the Test match between India and Australia [ [http://cricketarchive.com/Archive/Scorecards/30/30561.html Scorecard of the India-Australia Test in 1969-70] ] . With India in desperate trouble in the second innings Wadekar and Srinivas Venkataraghavan were involved in a partnership of 25 for the eighth wicket when the latter was declared out caught behind off the bowling of Alan Connolly. The decision was the cricticised by the radio commentators, and as Venkat left the wicket after some hesitation, trouble broke out in the East Stand. Bottles were thrown on the ground and chairs burnt. The awnings were set on fire in the North stand. Play went on for an hour while all this happened. [Sujit Mukherjee, 'Bombay Burning', "An Indian cricket century", Orient Longman, 2002, pp. 97-101]

CCI was the first to introduce single wicket cricket in India. This competition in 1965 was won by Vinoo Mankad. For three years after the termination of the Pentangular, Brabourne hosted an inter-zonal tournament which was revived later as the Duleep trophy.

Decline

Ever since the Brabourne Stadium was constructed, CCI had a rough relationship with their tenantsndash the Bombay Cricket Association (BCA)ndash mostly owing to the disputes regarding the allotment of seats. On one instance, BCA even threatened to stage a Test at the Shivaji park with temporary stands.

In 1971, BCA was told that they would be allotted no extra seats for the visit of England in 1972. CCI maintained that it spends a large amount in maintaining the ground and any further concessions would lead to substantial loss of revenue to the club. BCA went ahead and constructed a new stadium under the direction of the President S. K. Wankhede. The Wankhede Stadium hosted its first Test match early in 1975 during the tour of West Indies. Since then, except for a few Duleep Trophy matches, Brabourne staged few major matches for about two decades.

Return of international cricket

International cricket returned to Brabourne in 1989 when Australia played Pakistan a One Day International. Since then it has hosted a few more ODIs. In recent years, many of the teams visiting India have started their tour with a match at the Brabourne. The match between Australia and Mumbai in 1997-98 was noted for Sachin Tendulkar's first double hundred in first class cricket.

Brabourne Stadium hosted the final of the 2006 Champions trophy. Floodlights were installed at the stadium for this tournament. The pitch used for the matches faced criticism for being too slow for one-day cricket. [ [http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/india/content/story/263540.html Pitch for the Champions Trophy draws criticism] ] Brabourne Stadium hosted the first Twenty20 International on Indian soil, when India beat Australia in a one off game in October 2007.

The Wankhede Stadium undergoes a renovation starting in 2008 and Brabourne will host the first class matches in Mumbai till 2010. [ [http://mumbainews.wordpress.com/2008/02/10/ Ratnakar Shetty interview] ] It is scheduled to host a Test match against England in late 2008.

Other Activities

Brabourne hosted the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania second round Group I match between India and Pakistan in April 2006.

The Kingfisher Airlines Tennis Open is held on the Cricket Club of India grounds next to the stadium.

References

:5. [http://cricketarchive.com/Archive/Grounds/14/1140.html Score card of matches played at Brabourne stadium.] :6. Vasant Raiji and Anandji Dossa, "CCI and the Brabourne Stadium", Cricket Club of India, 1987:7. Mihir Bose, "A History of Indian Cricket", Andre Deutsch, 1990:8. Boria Majumdar "Twenty two yards to freedom", Penguin, 2004


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