Vadodara Group’s Play On Cricket To Be Archived In London     - Vibes Of India

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Vadodara Group’s Play On Cricket To Be Archived In London    

| Updated: March 31, 2024 10:47

MCC's librarian has asked for the script and videography of the performance

In news that will delight Indian cricket fans, a play staged in Gujarat’s cultural capital Vadodara is to be archived at the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the owner of the famous Lord’s Ground in London.

MCC has approached Triveni Theatre Group based in Vadodara. The club’s librarian has contacted the theatre group to share the original draft, the performance script, and the videography of the performance staged in Vadodara in January 2024. It will be preserved as a historical treasure for the benefit of future generations.  

The Triveni Theatre Group is led by well-known director P.S. Chari who had scripted the play titled ‘Raas Mela’. The play is a dramatisation of the book ‘When Cricket First Arrived in India’ written by John Drew, a cricket historian and author. Drew is also a British Commonwealth scholar.  

First time cricket was played in India

The play ‘Raas Mela’ narrates how cricket came to India 300 yrs ago when it was played for the first time on  the banks of river Dhadhar near Vadodara in December 1721. The play traces the history of Indian cricket from the 18th century to the 21st century. It also questions many aspects of the game.  

Interestingly, both Chari and Drew were students of the late legendary Gujarati playwright Chandravadan Chimanlal Mehta, popularly known as Chan Chi Mehta almost six decades ago. Drew, 85, continues to play cricket at Cambridge.

Drew’s book relates that a British vessel of the East India Company was stuck off the coast of Jambusar near Vadodara. The crew went down to the shore and diverted themselves for a fortnight of cricket. They engaged the local population of Kolis, the Persian Muslims, and Maratha soldiers to play cricket with them, as is depicted in the play. Later, the locals improvised and learnt the game. 

The play also shows how the Parsi community were fascinated by the sport and took it to Mumbai. It covers the post-Independence period as well which has seen increased corporatisation of the game.  

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