Brabourne Stadium

The Brabourne Stadium (Marathi:ब्रेबोर्न स्टेडीयम) is a cricket ground in the Indian city of Mumbai. It is located on 90,000 square yards of reclaimed land along Marine Drive near Churchgate railway station in South Mumbai. The stadium is owned by the Cricket Club of India (CCI). Brabourne Stadium is India's first permanent sporting (and cricket) venue. The North Stand of the Brabourne also housed the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) headquarters and the 1983 Cricket World Cup trophy until 2006 when both were moved to the newly built Cricket Centre at the nearby Wankhede Stadium.

Brabourne Stadium hosted Test matches from 1948 to 1972, and also the Bombay Pentangular matches. The stadium was known to host crowds beyond capacity. CCI members get to watch all matches from the members only clubhouse free of cost as per the their rights enshrined in the clubs constitution. After disputes over ticketing arrangements with CCI, the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) built the Wankhede Stadium, a few hundred metres north of Brabourne. After Wankhede was built, Brabourne was no longer the venue for Test matches although visiting teams played a few first-class matches there.

On 2 December 2009, Brabourne hosted the third Test match of the series between India and Sri Lanka. This was the longest interval between hosting of two successive Tests at the same venue - a period of 36 years, 9 months and 21 days.

Founding

The CCI was incorporated as a company on 8 November 1933, during the MCC's 1933-34 tour of India, with its registered office in New Delhi. R. E. Grant Govan, the President of the BCCI, became the first President of the club.Anthony de Mello, the Secretary of BCCI from its inception until 1937, also served the secretary of CCI from 1933 to 1937.

The negotiations for the land for the new cricket stadium took place between de Mello and the Bombay governor Lord Brabourne. The popular story goes that before returning at the end of the meeting, de Mello asked Lord Brabourne : 'Your excellency, which would you prefer to accept from sportsmen, money for your Government, or immortality for yourself?'. Brabourne chose immortality and CCI was soon allotted 90,000 square yards at a price of Rs. 13.50 per square yard from land reclaimed in the Backbay reclamation scheme. Messrs. Gregson, Batley and King were appointed the architects of the stadium, Shapoorji Pallonji & co were awarded the contract for construction and Frank Tarrant was the first groundsman. The intention of the stadium design was such that it be the Lord's Cricket Ground of India.

The foundation stone was laid by Lord Brabourne on 22 May 1936. The ground was intended to provide covered accommodation for 35,000 spectators and contain pavilion, tennis courts and a swimming pool. The first match was played in the incomplete stadium in October 1937 between the CCI and the Spencer Cup XI. The stadium was opened on 7 December 1937 by Roger Lumley, the Governor of Bombay, Lord Brabourne being now the Governor of Bengal. The stadium was named after Brabourne at the suggestion of the Maharaja of Patiala. On the same day, CCI met the visiting Lord Tennyson's XI in the inaugural first-class match in the stadium.

The estimated cost of construction was Rs. 18 lakhs (1.8 million) but the actual costs exceeded this by over a third. It took the efforts of people like Abubhai Jasdenwala who had succeeded de Mello as the secretary in 1937 and Sir Nowroji Saklatwala, the head of the Tatas for a few years for the CCI to cover the costs. The Maharaja of Idar paid for the Governor's pavilion and Maharaja of Patiala for the pavilion that was named after him. The deficits were paid off from the sale of debentures and from the income from the Bombay Pentangular matches.

Architecture

The stadium has a pavilion and three public stands, the West Stand, North Stand and East Stand. The three public stand face the clubhouse from three different sides of the stadium and are sheltered by cavernous, overhanging roofs.

The pavilion can be divided into the clubhouse in the centre with the Governors Pavilion and Maharaja of Patiala Pavilion on either side and is a three story art deco nautical structure with rounded pediments, flagpoles and port-hole type windows. The pavilion boasts of dark wood wall panellin and decorative marble floors. The walls of the pavilion are adorned by portraits of past and present cricketers and famous cricket matches.

The Brabourne Stadium has drawn praise from various quarters. Australian cricketer Keith Miller called the ground "the most complete ground in the world". According to West Indian legend Frank Worrell, the Brabourne was the only ground in the world where the could be in his dressing gown until he had to pad up, hence he loved playing at the venue. According to Worrell's compatriot, Brian Lara, ‘‘It is one of the most beautiful venues across the world. Perfect to host a good cricket match.’’ For Indian captain, M. S. Dhoni, "... Of course, it is special to play at CCI. ... It has a nice atmosphere." Noted Journalist and Chairman of the Mid Day group, Khalid A. H. Ansari writes in his newspaper, "Having witnessed cricket the world over, I can confidently say that cricket at the alluring Brabourne Stadium is an experience without parallel."

Cricket matches

The first match to be played here was between Lord Tennyson's XI and a CCI XI in 1937.

With the completion of the stadium in 1937, the Bombay Pentangular tournament was moved from the Bombay Gymkhana. It was in this year that the Rest entered the competition as the fifth team. Hindus, however, withdrew their team after a dispute over the seating allocation. The battle between Vijay Merchant and Vijay Hazare in 1943-44 saw the record for the highest individual score being bettered three times in the first week of December ending with Hazare's 309 out of Rest's 387 all out in the final. In the Ranji match against Maharashtra that began on the last day of the year, Merchant improved upon it with an innings of 359 not out which still stands as the highest score made on the ground. In the 1944-45 final of the Pentangular, Muslims chased 298 to defeat the Hindus by one wicket. The Pentangular tournament was discontinued after the 1946-47 season .

Brabourne hosted seventeen Test matches, starting with two against West Indies in India's first home series after the war in 1948-49. The first test to produce a result at the Brabourne was the fourth it hosted, when India beat Pakistan in 1952. India won their first ever test series after taking a 2-1 lead on the basis of this victory. Vijay Hazare scored a hundred in each of his four appearances. Indian batsman Abbas Ali Baig became the first Indian cricketer to be kissed on a cricket field during third Test between India and Australia at the Brabourne in 1960. When Baig reached the fifty run mark, a young woman ran onto the stadium from the North Stand and kissed him on his cheek. 16 Ranji Trophy finals and a Plate final were played at the stadium between 1938 and 2011. Bombay figured in fourteen of these and won on each occasion. Among the other notable innings played at the ground are Denis Compton's 249* for Holkar in the 1944-45 final and Ajit Wadekar's triple century in 1966-67 against Chandrasekhar and Prasanna.

The one serious instance of crowd trouble at the stadium happened in the final session of the fourth day of the Test match between India and Australia. With India in desperate trouble in the second innings Wadekar and Srinivas Venkataraghavan were involved in a partnership of 25 for the eighth wicket when the latter was declared out caught behind off the bowling of Alan Connolly. The decision was criticised by the radio commentators, and as Venkat left the wicket after some hesitation, trouble broke out in the East Stand. Bottles were thrown on the ground and chairs burnt. The awnings were set on fire in the North stand. Play went on for an hour while all this happened.

CCI was the first to introduce single wicket cricket in India. This competition in 1965 was won by Vinoo Mankad. For three years after the termination of the Pentangular, Brabourne hosted an inter-zonal tournament which was revived later as the Duleep trophy. Until the 1960s when international matches were played at the Brabourne, the teams would stay at the CCI itself.

Decline

Ever since the Brabourne Stadium was constructed, CCI had a rough relationship with their tenants – the Bombay Cricket Association (BCA) – mostly owing to the disputes regarding the allotment of seats. On one instance, BCA even threatened to stage a Test at Shivaji Park with temporary stands.

In 1971, BCA President S. K. Wankhede was told by the then CCI President, Vijay Merchant that they would be allotted no extra seats for the visit of England in 1972. CCI maintained that it spends a large amount in maintaining the ground and any further concessions would lead to substantial loss of revenue to the club. BCA went ahead and constructed a new stadium. The new Wankhede Stadium hosted its first Test match early in 1975 during the tour of West Indies. Since then, except for a few Duleep Trophy matches, Brabourne staged few major matches for about two decades.

Golden Jubilee Celebrations

Festival matches were played at the stadium to celebrate the golden jubilee of the CCI in 1987-88. Players such as Roger Binny and Mohammed Azharuddin played for a CCI XI and Wasim Akram, Imran Khan, Rameez Raja and Mudassar Nazar among others turned out for Pakistan. Due to shortage of players for Pakistan, Sachin Tendulkar, then just 14 fielded for Pakistan as a substitute. This was Tendulkars first international cricket exposure. CCI rules had to be amended to allow the 14 year old Sachin Tendulkar into the dressing room. Raj Singh Dungarpur, president of the club for several years was instrumental in the decision to change this rule.

Return of international cricket
One Day Internationals

International cricket returned to Brabourne in 1989 when Australia played a One Day International (ODI) against Pakistan during the MRF World Series for the Jawaharlal Nehru Cup. In 1993, South Africa took on West Indies in a Hero Cup ODI game where Jonty Rhodes took a world record five catches. Rhodes later recollected more than 20,000 people cheering him during this match, something which was rare for him in a foreign country.Chris Cairns allegedly drunk jumped into the CCI swimming pool a day before the deciding sixth ODI between India and New Zealand in 1995. He was dropped by coach Glenn Turner for the match, which was the series decider. India won the game and with it the series, with New Zealand scoring their lowest ODI total against India of 126.

Tour games

In recent years, many of the teams visiting India have started their tour with a match at the Brabourne. The match Australia and Mumbai in 1997-98 was noted for Sachin Tendulkar's first double hundred in first-class cricket. Mumbai won the game, becoming only the third Indian domestic team to beat an international team in a 3 day game. In 2000, several Test level Indian players turned out for a Board Presidents XI in a three day warm up game against the touring South Africans. The match is remembered for Sachin Tendulkar announcing his resignation from the post of Captain of the Indian team at the press box. In 2006, the CCI Presidents XI played an unofficial three day game with the visiting England team.

2006 ICC Champions Trophy and first T20I

International cricket returned to the stadium after a 11 year hiatus in 2006 for which the stadium was renovated. Brabourne Stadium hosted the five ODI matches including the final of the 2006 Champions trophy. Floodlights were installed at the stadium for this tournament. Raj Singh Dungarpur, then president of the CCI said "... We are turning a page and it was long awaited. It is like getting married again.".Australia beat West Indies in the finals to claim the title for the first time. The game was hampered by rain and was decided by the Duckworth-Lewis system. The pitch used for the matches faced criticism for being too slow for one-day cricket. West Indian Jerome Taylor took a hat-trick against Australia in a group match. This was the first hat-trick at this stadium, the first by a West Indian in ODI's and the first in an ICC Champions Trophy.

Brabourne Stadium hosted the first Twenty20 International on Indian soil, when India beat Australia in a one off game in October 2007.

Platinum Jubilee Test

The Wankhede Stadium underwent renovation between 2008 and Brabourne hosted the first-class matches in Mumbai during that period. It was scheduled to host a Test match (BCCI's and CCI's Platinum Jubilee Test) against England in December 2008 but the match was switched to the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali following the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Though the Test match took place at Mohali, Platinum Jubilee celebrations were shelved.

The stadium did finally host another Test match in 2009. After a gap of 36 years, 9 months and 21 days - the longest gap between two successive Tests at any international stadium - Brabourne Stadium hosted a Test match between India and Sri Lanka. Virender Sehwag scored a double century (293), but missed out on becoming the first person to score three triple centuries in Test cricket. India made their highest Test score of 726 for 9 and won the match by an innings. As a result of this win, India topped the ICC Test Championship for the first time. On the first day of the Test, the then Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Ashok Chavan released a book commemorating 75 years of cricket at the CCI.

IPL

CCI chose not to host the first season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2008 as it was unwilling to let go of the right of its members to access the pavilion on match days.

As per IPL rules, the winner of the previous competition decides the venue for the finals. In 2009, the reigning Champions, Rajasthan Royals chose the Brabourne Stadium to host the finals of the second season. However, a dispute regarding use of the pavilion meant that no IPL matches could be held there. The members of the Cricket Club of India that owns the stadium have the sole right to the pavilion on match days, whereas the IPL required the pavilion for its sponsors. The members were offered free seats in the stands, however the club rejected the offer, stating that members could not be moved out of the pavilion. In the end the second season was moved out of India and held in South Africa due to security concerns.

These issues were sorted out in 2010 and the Braboune Stadium did hold seven home matches of the Mumbai Indians in IPL 2010 (third season). The Mumbai Police charged a then record Rs. 98 Lakh (9.8 million) for providing security for these matches.

Other activities

The stadium has staged one under 19 Test match in 1992 when India played New Zealand as well as one Women's cricket One Day International match, again between India and New Zealand in 2003. In 1995 it was the venue for the Masters cup tournament played by veteran cricketers representing India, Sri Lanka, Australia, West Indies, South Africa and England. Although the stadium has not hosted a World Cup match, it has been used as a practice venue during the 2011 Cricket World Cup.

In 1946, leader of Ismaili Muslims, Aga Khan was weighed in diamonds at the stadium, the diamonds were then were donated to charity. Then Russian Communist Party chief, Nikita Khrushchev delivered a speech in front of a crowd of approximately between 75,000 and 100,000 people at the ground in 1955. In November 1971 a concert was organised at the stadium by the Bangladesh Aid Committee in support of the Bangladesh Liberation War. A performance by 700 dancers and thousands of musicians was witnessed by Pope John Paul II on his visit to the country in 1986. The performance interpreted religious themes through Indian dance. The Brabourne hosted the 26th International Film Festival of India in 1995. The stadium has played host to a few Music bands. In 1994, Bryan Adams performed here, which was his first concert in India. The Zubin Mehta led Israel Philharmonic orchestra performed four concerts at the Brabourne in 1994, each with a capacity crowd of 15,000.The Rolling Stones performed at the stadium during their Licks Tour on 7 April 2003 in front of a sell out crowd of 25,000 people. Some Indian artists, such as Jagjit Singh and Lata Mangeshkar have also performed here. Brabourne was the second venue of the Filmfare Awards night.Awwal Number, a bollywood movie starring Aamir Khan and directed by Dev Anand was shot here in the late 1980s.

The stadium hosted its first international tennis fixture in 1963, a Davis Cup tie when India lost to United States of America. Brabourne next hosted a Davis Cup match 43 years later in April 2006, an Asia-Oceania second round Group I tennis match where India beat Pakistan.

An ATP Tour tournament, Kingfisher Airlines Tennis Open was held at the Cricket Club of India tennis courts next to the stadium in 2006 and 2007.

Building Activity

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