The legacy of Chinnaswamy
By S S Shreekumar - BANGALORE
05th November 2012 09:00 AM
Silver haired, with slight side tilts in his walk due to his bulkiness, Mangalam Chinnaswamy was a cricket administrator par excellence. Born on March 29, 1900, Chinnaswamy breathed his last on November 8, 1991.
Almost close to his 22nd death anniversary comes a momentous occasion, unveiling of his bust, that was probably long overdue and the late administrator and lawyer by profession, deserves it no matter when.
It was his dedication and hard work that has given Bangalore a prominent venue and a Test status as well.
He was one of the founder members of the Karnataka State Cricket Association and served as the secretary from 1953 to 1978 and later as the President from 1978 to 1990. Chinnaswamy was the President of Board of Control for Cricket in India from 1977 to 1980 and Secretary from 1960 to 1965.
He also served as its vice president and joint secretary for long.
He represented India in the International Cricket Council in 1965, 1973 and 1977 - 1980. He was the treasurer and second official during India’s tour of Australia in 1967-68 and the manager when Australia visited India in 1970.
A recipient of many awards for his yeoman services to the game of cricket, he was made a life member of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in 1969.
Probably, the KSCA Stadium would never have seen the light of the day but for his tireless efforts.
The KCSA members decided to rename the venue as the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium but the man himself was not very inclined to the idea but had little or no choice. By the time Pakistan arrived for their tour of India in 1987 and played in Bangalore, the ground had been renamed as the Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Work on the stadium began in 1969 and it was given Test status in 1974-75 when West Indies under Clive Lloyd visited India. The stadium was half-complete with the Eastern Stands having stands made of casuarina poles and wooden planks.
To ensure public safety, a case was filed and the Karnataka High Court ordered the organisers to make all arrangements to protect the paying public.
Cement bags was placed behind the poles for support and the Test, when both Vivian Richards and Gordon Greenidge made their debut, went on without a hitch.The stadium with a seating capacity of 50,000, hosted its first One Day International when Sri Lanka came calling in 1982.
Of course by the time floodlights were installed for the 1996-97 World Cup matches, Chinnaswamy was no more.
In any case, the Chinnaswamy Stadium has hosted the Federation Cup and Stafford Challenge Cup football tournaments. The Super Soccer Series matches involving clubs like FC Bochum (Germany), Sao Paolo Juniors and Sao Paolo Seniors (Brazil) and PSV Eindhoven (Holland) were also played at the venue with crowds in excess of 70,000 (Chairs only in the pavilion).
The India vs Pakistan hockey ‘Test’ was played at the very venue in 1975-76 and a crowd of nearly 80,000 was packed in with people squatting on the ground behind the sponsors’ hoardings.
It also hosted a Russian Dance troupe’s programme and also the Miss World contest organised then by the ABCL (Amitabh Bachhan Corporation Limited).
Chinnaswamy has indeed left behind a lasting legacy which the KSCA must be proud of.
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