Thursday, August 2, 2007

Tellicherry, Cradle of Indian Cricket; Mahe River, English Channel?

Tellicherry which is a coastal town in north Kerala is sometimes referred to as the city of cricket, cakes and circus. Along with the rest of the country, Tellicherry which has a cricket ground that is 207 years old, is also celebrating the Platinum Jubilee of India’s entry into Test cricket. The Bi-centenary of the Tellicherry Municipal Cricket Ground (now Thalasserry Stadium) was celebrated in 2002 with a match between former Indian and Sri Lankan cricketers.

It is believed that Arthur Wellesley (1st Duke of Wellington of Waterloo fame - see photo) brought cricket to Tellicherry in the 1790s when he was commanding the East India Company’s army in Kerala and Karnataka. What is interesting is that apart from the soldiers of the Tellicherry garrison, Wellesley introduced the game to the locals also. As a result, cricket became a way of life for the people of that area. Wellesley also took the game to Srirangapattinam after the British defeated Tippu Sultan of Mysore.

The locals formed Tellicherry Town Cricket Club in 1860, the year that cricket was introduced in Calcutta. There were regular tournaments and matches including Ranji Trophy fixtures at Tellicherry ever since.

It is said that Colin Cowdrey’s (Baron Cowdrey of Tonbridge, b. December 24, 1932, Bangalore, India) father laid the first proper pitch in Tellicherry. Colin himself is believed to have played the game there.

The cricket fervor continues unabated in Tellicherry, and nearby town of Kannur (Canannore).

Between Tellicherry (which was under the British) and Mahe (former French posession) is the Mahe River (Mayyazhi puzha). I believe it used to be jokingly referred to as ‘English Channel’!


Also see:

Cricket in remote areas

On the Banks of River Mahe


Maddy said...

I recall that Brennen college at telicherry produced some fine cricketeers, especially upto ranji levels..

Zarshad Cheruvakkara said...

Students sporting club,Tellicherry is celebrating 50th anniversary this year. Players who played Ranji Trophy from Tellicherry is the product of Students Club.