Cricket in Thalassery

1951 cricket team

Cricket was played in Thalassery much before it was introduced in Calcutta in 1860. Thalassery Stadium, also known as the Thalassery Municipal Cricket Ground, hosts the Ranji Trophy cricket matches every year. On this ground, the first ball was bowled in the early 1800s, thanks to Colonel Wellesley, who brought the game to this Malabar town. In 2002, Thalassery cricket ground celebrated its 200th birthday by hosting a one-day international cricket match between India and Sri Lanka.

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.

Kannur district team at palakkad(1939-40)
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).

India's first Cricket Club, which was later renamed as the Town Cricket Club, was formed in 1860 at Tellichery[9]. The Tellichery Cricket ground was the hub of cricket activities those days. It has been reported that an exhibition match was conducted in this ground to raise funds during the First World War[9]. Famous English cricketer Colin Cowdrey's father was a tea planter in Thalassery and he used to play cricket in Thalassery during 1890s, and is credited to have laid a decent cricket pitch here, in the early 1900s. Colin Cowdrey played in Thalassery during the British regime.

Thalassery Cricket Ground celebrated its 200th birthday in 2002 by hosting a match between the former cricketers of India and Sri Lanka. In 2008 a new stadium only for cricket was inaugurated in Conor Vayal near Venus Junction in Thalassery, as a project of the Kerala Cricket Association.

 

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