Parsi cricketers led the way for us!

The first two teams from India, therefore, to leave the shores in 1886 and in 1888 to tour England consisted of only Parsi players.

The one in 1886 was led by one Dhanjishaw H. Patel, an underhand bowler, and also in the team were three Parsis — Pestonji Dinshaw Dastur, Dinshaw D. Khambatta and Burorji P. Balla — from Karachi.

Their tour was a huge failure for the fact that they were not trained and experienced to play against the English bowlers and batsmen. In 28 matches on the tour, they lost 19, drew eight and won only once against the Normanhurst team.

What is important of course is that this team played two very important matches, one against MCC at Lord’s which they lost by an innings and 224 runs and in which W.G. Grace took 11 for 44 runs and scored 63 before being caught by Balla, the Karachi cricketer. I suppose Dastur, Balla and Khambatta remain the only Karachiites to have played against Grace.

The other important match that they played was at Great Windsor Park against the grandson of Queen Victoria Prince Christian Victor in which his brother Prince Albert also played.


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Courtesy : Jehangir Bisney

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