Mangaluru, Dec 1, 2017: The first ever Ranji Cricket Tournament of the erstwhile princely Mysuru State - the Ranji Trophy South Zone League which was played at Nehru Maidan in Mangaluru, completes a momentous 60 years today. The matches were played on November 30, December 1 and 2 in the year 1957. During those years, there were only four state level cricket teams in South Zone viz.Kerala, Mysuru, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu teams.
S Gopal Pai, K Ganapathi Rao and B Chandrahas Alva
The first Ranji tournament in Mangaluru was played between the erstwhile Mysuru state and Kerala. It was the Mysuru team which won the match by an innings and 71 runs. S K Raghunath Rao and Satya G Rao were the umpires.
Mangalurean hero K Ganapathi Rao had scored the highest runs of 125 during the first innings of Mysuru team. The then Dharmasthala Dharmadhikari Ratnavarma Heggade as a token of appreciation had gifted Rao with a cash prize of Rs 25. The team was all-out for 382 runs in 135 overs. Anandan and Abraham of Kerala were the leading wicket takers for Kerala with four each in their kitty while Madhavan and Ravi Anchan had clinched one wicket each. The Kerala team could only secure 139 runs in its innings.
The Mysuru team was then led by L T Subbu, while Mangalureans S Gopal Pai, K Ganapathi Rao and B Chandrahas Alva were in the team. All of them are now no more. Ananthram Taranath Shenoy who was the 12th player is presently staying in Mangaluru.
Satya G. Rao now resides in Bengaluru
The arrangements: Elaborate arrangements had been done for the first Ranji match in Mangaluru. A temporary gallery had also been erected around Nehru Maidan. About 5,000 cricket lovers from Mysuru state and Kerala had arrived to watch the tournament. Canteen was arranged in the Hotel Taj Mahal van itself while all players were staying at Kirthi Mahal at Falnir, recollects cricket enthusiast Kasturi Balakrishna Pai.
Koyna charity match: Another prominent match with the participation of leading players held in Mangaluru during those years was the Koyna charity match between Karnataka Finance Minister Eleven and Maharashtra Finance Minister Eleven teams on April 5, 6, 7 in the year 1967. It was meant to raise funds for Koyna earthquake victims. Leading players like Sunil Gavaskar and Subrahmaniam had played in the match.