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Cricket Country - Book Launch
Tue Dec 24, 7:30 PM
Lamakaan An Open Cultural Space

On the morning of 6 May 1911, a large crowd gathered at Bombay’s Ballard Pier. They were
there to bid farewell to a motley group of sixteen Indian men who were about to undertake a
historic voyage to London. The persons whom the crowd cheered that sultry Saturday morning
were members of the first All-India cricket team.
Conceived by an unlikely coalition of imperial and Indian elites, it took twelve years and three
failed attempts before an ‘Indian’ cricket team made its debut on the playing fields of imperial
Britain in the blazing coronation summer of 1911.
This is a capacious tale with an improbable cast of characters set against the backdrop of
revolutionary protest and princely intrigue. The captain of the Indian team was nineteen-year old
Bhupinder Singh, the embattled Maharaja of Patiala. The other cricketers were selected on the
basis of their religious identity. Most remarkable, for the day, was the presence in the side of two
Dalits: the Palwankar brothers, Baloo and Shivram.
Drawing on an unparalleled range of original archival sources, Cricket Country is the untold story
of how the idea of India was fashioned on the cricket pitch in the high noon of empire.

Prashant Kidambi is associate professor of colonial urban history at the University of Leicester.
After completing postgraduate degrees in history at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New
Delhi, he was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to pursue a doctorate at the University of Oxford.
Kidambi’s research explores the interface between British imperialism and the history of modern
South Asia. He is the author of The Making of an Indian Metropolis: Colonial Governance and Public
Culture in Bombay, 1890-1920 and the lead editor of Bombay Before Mumbai: Essays in Honour of Jim

In conversation with : Rammanohar Reddy
He is currently Editor of “The India Forum”, a digital publication on contemporary issues that was launched in March 2019.
He holds a PhD in Economics and has been in economics journalism since 1989, the longest period in “The Hindu” and then the “Economic and Political Weekly”.
He was a passionate follower of cricket for 3 decades but now, because there is too much of it and too many varieties that he can’t make sense of he sticks to reading about its history.