QUT Home
facebook icon QUT eNews icon tripadvisor icon map pin icon

Cricket's 'batting wonder of the age' at Old Government House

  More images

In November 1897, Lady Lamington briefly noted in her diary/memoir that a university friend of Lord Lamington's, Prince K. S. Ranjitsinhji, had been a guest at Government House. Discovering who Prince Ranjitsinhji was has been a fascinating process.

With the Cricket World Cup now being held in India it seems remarkable to learn that when Prince Ranjitsinhji made his Test debut against Australia in July 1896 at Old Trafford he became the first Indian to play cricket at Test level and the first non-white player for England. The 'batting wonder of the age' Ranjitsinhji scored a century in the second innings of his debut, only the second batsman for England, after W.G. Grace, to do so. W.G. Grace said of Ranjitsinhji – 'you will never see a batsman to beat him if you live for a hundred years.' A prolific and record run scorer, Ranjitsinhji is credited as the inventor of the leg glance, a stroke which changed cricket from a predominantly off-side game.

By the time the English team arrived in Australia for the 1897/98 tour, Ranjitsinhji had become the most popular cricketer in the Empire. Advertising for the first day of the Brisbane test between England and a combined Queensland and New South Wales team simply and repeatedly declared – 'Come and see Ranjitsinhji batting Today'. A record crowd of 11,000 people came and admired 'the Prince's style', though when he was dismissed on 67 there was 'much jubilation amongst the spectators.'

Prince Ranjitsinhji is one of the greatest batsmen of all time and generally acknowledged as the Father of Indian Cricket- so it's not too surprising then that Lord Lamington, a keen golfer, chose to play golf with his university friend!

Wisden Cricketer of the year

1897 - Ranjitsinhji

1997 - Tendulkar

Batting Averages for Comparison

MatInnNORunsHSAve10050
Ranjitsinhji
Tests15264989175 44.9526
1st Class3075006224692285*56.3772109
Bradman
Tests5280106996334 99.942913
1st Class2343384328067452*95.1411769
Tendulkar
Tests1772903214692248*56.945159
1st Class2804424823585248*59.8678105

March 2011