Photo Collection of Cricket in Mluru Compiled by Kasturi Balakrishna Pai Displayed at INTACH

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Photo Collection/Story of Cricket in Mangaluru Compiled by Kasturi Balakrishna Pai Displayed at Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), Kodialguthu, GG Road, Ballabagh, Mangaluru under the Exhibition named “‘Nurturers of the Cherry Garden’, which was inaugurated on Saturday, 19 February 2022 by K Vishnu Shenoy, a member of the first team of Mangalorean cricketers, which went to Mysore and Bangalore in 1957

Mangaluru: An exhibition organised under the title ‘Nurturers of the Cherry Garden’ was inaugurated on 19th February 2022 at 05:30 pm at the Mangaluru Chapter of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), Kodialguthu Center for Art and Culture, GG Road, BallalBagh, Mangaluru by K Vishnu Shenoy, a member of the first team of Mangalorean cricketers, which went to Mysore and Bangalore in 1957. Basty Purushotham Shenoy, former captain of the KREC (NITK) cricket team who was supposed to grace the occasion, couldn’t make it due to a family function.

Kasturi Balakrishna Pai

The exhibition of rare vintage photographs of the journey of cricket in Mangaluru from the collection of Kasturi Balakrishna Pai, former cricket umpire of Mangaluru region on display will remain open to visitors till 23 February, between 11 am and 7 pm. The exhibition will celebrate the story of cricket in the context of the historic port town of Mangaluru by connecting places, personalities, institutions and events together. The presentation has an assorted display of a uniquely personal collection of photographs and documents from the first Ranji Trophy match played at Nehru Maidan up to KL Rahul’s early days in Mangalore. It also features famous local teams and the personal profiles and biographies of ten celebrity players of Mangaluru. Photos of benefit matches hosted in Mangaluru and featuring national players are also on display.

Speaking about his photo collection/story of cricket in Mangaluru, Kasturi Balakrishna Pai said, “For several years, most of the cricketing action used to take place at Nehru maidan, situated in the heart of Mangaluru city. However, for the past few years, it has been neglected by lawmakers. We had to fight when the district administration had proposed to shift the market near the ground. Yet there is not much cricket being played on the ground. I am happy that due to our efforts the High Court in August 2020 passed an order that no other activities/political or religious events etc should be held on Nehru Maidan, other than cricket and other sports”.

Kasturi Balakrishna Pai (left), former umpire, and Ex-cricketer Mahabala Marla (former MCC Mayor)

He further said, “To name a few of the stalwarts of the home turf, are -Sringeri Gopal Pai, G R Sundaran, BC Alva, B G Alva, B S Alva and B H Alva (all four brothers), N Ganapathi Rao, Naranappa Suvarna, PN Bhandary AJ Shenoy, Dayanand Kamath, among others. Though modern Mangaluru is developing, there is no importance given to building a cricket, football or hockey stadium in the city. It is essential to nurture sports. There are talks going on to have a cricket stadium near Bondel, and if it happens it will be good news for the present cricketers of Mangaluru who can unleash their cricket talents in a better cricket field. We all need the support of the cricket fans and others to have a cricket stadium in the City soon”.

The introductory remarks of the exhibition were given by Subhas Chandra Basu- Convener of Mangaluru INTACH, and the vote of thanks was delivered by Neiraj Shetty-the Co-Convener of Mangaluru INTACH. Other team members of INTACH involved in this exhibition/project are- Ms Palak Sharma (Designer); Jeevan Salian ( Artist and Cartoonist); Harish Kodialbail (Sculptor and Installation Artist); Keshava Bhandary and Basty Purushotham Shenoy (both former captains of KREC, now named NITK).


Mangaluru’s historic narrative has a long and distinctive western colonial phase (1767-1783 – East India Company at Mangalore, and 1767-1783, 1784-1947 – East India Company and the British Empire). Locals imbibed a lot in this period from their colonisers which persisted and integrated seamlessly into our present education, administration, language and sports routine. Cricket is one such British colonial contribution to sports.

“In its origin, a rural sport which was once highly popular in the villages of southern England, in the nineteenth-century cricket was made a part of the life of the industrial towns,” observes the eminent historian Ramachandra Guha. “The first mention of Cricket in India dates to 1721 when British sailors played a match among themselves in the port of Cambay.” However, it is not clear when another group of sailors got down at Mangalore port in search of open space around to play their first match here. The Central Maidan attached to the old fort area and presently known as Nehru Maidan, was the most probable option.

So, the exploration starts with Nehru Maidan, the Oval of the Mangalore region. Then, how the red (cherry) leather ball cricket flourished and sustained here (with some negligence) are narrated in this exhibition from a passionate cricket lover’s intimate and personal view of cricket in Mangaluru. This exhibition in its inception has highlighted issues pertaining to the future of cricket in this region, like: How to create a conducive environment to nurture young aspiring cricketers to reach the national/international arena in future; How to fulfil the need for a cricket stadium with proper natural turf to host national/international level matches.; and how to urgently protect all the playgrounds in the city and its suburbs dedicated to sports from the commercial development process.

For More Details Contact: Subhas Basu (Convener INTACH): 8762368048; Kasturi Balakrishna Pai: 9483529510; Rajendra Kedige: 9480014812

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1 Comment

  1. A beautiful exhibition of memorabilia. A work of a true cricket lover. Well done Balu Pai mam. God bless you

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