Preserving priceless cricketing history for posterity
By Vishnu Prasad - KOZHIKODE
18th September 2012 12:14 PM
Cricket may be the craze of the entire nation now but more than 200 years ago, it was the sleepy coastal town of Thalassery that first saw a game of cricket being played on these shores.
One man has taken it upon himself to preserve the town’s rich cricketing history by maintaining a priceless cricketing collection.
Between his duties as the secretary of the Kannur District Cricket Association and the 100-year-old Town Cricket Club, V B Ishaque has managed to amass a collection of photos, letters, scorecards, newspaper cuttings and books that gives an insight into the cricketing history of both the Malabar and the country. “Thalassery is the place where cricket was first played in India and hence we have a history that no other place in the country can match. I inherited most of my collection from my uncle Macky and have maintained it, just so that future generations can appreciate the role that we played in the propagation of cricket in the country,” he says.
One of the prize items in his collection, which is currently housed in his residence, is a scorecard that was used to jot down the scores of match held in 1923 between a British Eleven and a Malabar Eleven. Scorecards from matches played between British and Indian teams in later years and rare photos of the games held then are also part of his collection.
And a plaque that contains the names of every test cricketer to have played in Thalassery reveals some famous names like Anil Kumble, VVS Laxman and Mohammed Azharuddin. Ishaque is looking to expand his collection and would one day like to see it housed in a museum dedicated to the game.
“The collection used to be much bigger but a number of pictures and cards including one of CK Nayudu playing in Thalassery, were either damaged or lost. I am now trying to expand the collection. During the last government’s reign, state tourism officials had asked me if I would donate my collection to a cricket museum if they came up with one. However nothing came out of it. I do hope that my collection can be part of a project that will properly highlight the role that the town and Malabar had played in popularising cricket to the country,” he says.
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