Bombay Gymkhana: Connecting with cricket

Bombay Gymkhana ground that used to host high-end ties is now a launchpad for those who wish to take up cricket as a career

One of the city’s most elite clubs, the 140-year-old Bombay Gymkhana, has been instrumental in shaping many an Indian cricketer’s future.

Young cricketers catch a breath at the tents at Bombay Gymkhana ground
Young cricketers catch a breath at the tents

Formed in 1875 exclusively for the elite Europeans, it remained that way well into the 20th century – even Ranji was refused admission. The only Indians allowed into the club were servants, although this rule had to be suspended for India’s first home Test in 1933 to allow the players to use the facilities.

A player in action during a friendly match at Bombay Gymkhana ground
A player in action during a friendly match

It was created as an unashamedly private club and the pavilion is classically colonial, with no fixed seating anywhere else on the ground – marquees were erected to accommodate the vast crowds who turned up.

By the time cricket returned to the city after the war, the Brabourne had taken over as the main cricket venue. However, the Gymkhana still continues to be home to a variety of sports.

A player hits a square cut during a friendly tie at Bombay Gymkhana ground
A player hits a square cut during a friendly tie

The ground does not have any floodlights and it has a capacity of 15,000 people though this figure has reached upto 50,000.

Young cricketers in action at Bombay Gymkhana ground
Young cricketers in action

The ground also hosts a national rugby competition, and has also hosted matches against Sri Lanka and a few other South Asian teams. It has also hosted national and international squash tournaments. It also has swimming facilities at the southern end.

Mumbai's gothic architecture forms a perfect backdrop to the age-old, historic Bombay Gymkhana ground
Mumbai’s gothic architecture forms a perfect backdrop to the age-old, historic Bombay Gymkhana ground

OTHER PICTURES

A young cricketer walks towards his tent to pad up
A reader’s day out at Bombay Gymkhana ground

Young cricketers in action at Bombay Gymkhana groundYoung cricketers in action at Bombay Gymkhana groundYoung cricketers in action at Bombay Gymkhana groundYoung cricketers in action at Bombay Gymkhana ground

Also Read: A Varanasi ghat through a reader’s lens

Chronicles of a forgotten past

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