Let’s Take a Closer Look at the Wonderful Brabourne Stadium

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The Brabourne Stadium is a picturesque cricket stadium in the south of Mumbai. It was built in 1937 and has a capacity of 25,000, which is quite small when compared to many other stadiums that you will find in India. It is the home ground for the Mumbai Cricket team, while it is a secondary home for the Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals. It has hosted some international cricket over the years, but the last international match that was played there was an ODI between India and West Indies in October 2018. Read on to find out more interesting information about this beautiful cricket stadium.

The History of Brabourne Stadium

The Cricket Club of India (CCI) came into being in 1933, with R. E. Grant Govan becoming the club’s first President. Anthony de Mello, who was the BCCI Secretary from 1928-37, also worked as the CCI Secretary from 1933-37. The first Chairman was Sir Nowroji Saklatwala, who donated a large sum of his own money in order to build the stadium’s pavilion.

Although the CCI was based in New Delhi originally, it was decided that their new ground would be constructed in Mumbai as it is considered to be the home of Indian cricket. Brabourne Stadium was constructed on reclaimed land close to Churchgate Railway Station and became the country’s first permanent venue for sports.

The negotiations for the land where this stadium was going to be built took place between de Mello and Lord Brabourne, who was the Bombay Governor at the time. The story goes that at the end of the meeting between the two, de Mello asked Brabourne whether he would prefer to accept money or immortality from sportsmen, and Brabourne chose the latter. He then allotted 90,000 square yards of land to the CCI at a price of 13.50 Indian rupees per square yard. The architects in charge of building the stadium wanted it to become India’s version of Lord’s.

It was estimated that it would cost 1.8 million Indian rupees to build, but the construction costs exceeded this by around a third. The CCI had to go to some lengths to get the funds to cover the extra costs, but they managed in the end. On the 7th December, 1937, the stadium was officially opened by Roger Lumley, who had taken over from Lord Brabourne as the Governor of Bombay. The first first-class game to be played at this ground was played on the same day between Lord Tennyson’s XI and a CCI XI.

The stadium has since become a Heritage Grade IIB building. There is a pavilion and three stands, the North Stand, the East Stand, and the West Stand. These three stands face the clubhouse and are covered by overhanging roofs. The pavilion is a three-storey structure with flagpoles, rounded pediments, and port-hole windows. The floors are made of marble and the walls are covered in dark wood and covered with portraits of cricketers and photographs of epic cricket matches that have taken place there.

The stadium has received a lot of praise, especially because of how beautiful it is. Ajit Wadekar, a former India captain, once said that any cricketer dreams of playing at Lord’s, but every Indian cricketer should dream of playing at this stadium as well. It is also noted for having a very pleasant atmosphere.

Historic Matches That Have Been Played Here

  • India V Sri Lanka in 2009: In this match, India scored 726/9d in their first innings, which is the highest total to be recorded at this stadium. Virender Sehwag was the Man of the Match as he hit 293 runs from just 254 balls. India went on to win the match by an innings and 24 runs.
  • India V Pakistan in 1952: Pakistan were touring India in a five-match series, with the third test being played at this venue. It was one apiece going into this test, but India put in a very solid performance and went on to win easily by 10 wickets. The other two matches were drawn, meaning that India won their first test series thanks to their victory at Brabourne stadium.
  • India V New Zealand in 1965: In their first innings against New Zealand the crowd had to watch in disbelief as India were bundled out for a mere 88 runs. They were forced to follow-on but made a much better fist of it in their second innings, scoring 463/5d thanks to a majestic 200* from Dilip Sardesai. India then reduced New Zealand to 80/8, but they ran out of time and the away side managed to walk away with a draw.
  • West Indies V Sri Lanka in 2006: Sri Lanka took on the West Indies at this stadium in a qualifying match for the ICC Champions Trophy and came away with a very easy win. They bowled the West Indies out for a mere 80 runs in 30.4 overs and then chased the score down for the loss of just one wicket inside 14 overs. A complete thrashing.

Here Are Some Other Interesting Facts

  1. Vijay Hazare has scored the most test runs at this venue. In the four matches (7 innings) that he played there, he scored 629 runs (four centuries) at an average of 125.80.
  2. The 293 runs from 254 balls that Virender Sehwag scored against Sri Lanka is the highest test score scored at this stadium.
  3. On the 29th October 2018, Rohit Sharma hit 162 runs from 137 balls, which is the highest ODI score at this ground.
  4. Bhagwath Chandrasekhar has taken the most test wickets at this venue. In the five matches that he has played (10 innings), he picked up 34 wickets at an average of 21.38. He also holds the record for best bowling figures in an innings as he picked up 7 wickets for 157 runs against the West Indies in 1966. It might seem that he was very expensive, but he bowled 62 overs with an economy of 2.53.
  5. Sri Lanka’s Farveez Maharoof has the best ODI bowling figures at this venue. In October 2006, he picked up 6 wickets for just 14 runs against the West Indies.
  6. Rangana Herath is the unfortunate player that holds the record for most runs conceded in a single innings. In December 2009, he conceded 240 runs from the 53.3 overs that he bowled. This was in the match that we mentioned above where India went on to win by an innings and 24 runs.

Should You Make an Effort to Visit This Stadium?

If you happen to be in Mumbai and a match is being played at this stadium, then we definitely recommend that you get yourself to the ground and buy a ticket. The atmosphere that you will experience here is like no other. In fact, in our opinion, if there is a match being played here while you are there, you will have missed out on a great opportunity if you decide against going.

If there is no match being played when you are visiting the wonderful city of Mumbai, then, unfortunately, you will not be able to see this stadium from the inside as there are no tours available. However, you can book yourself into a cricket tour where your guide will take you outside the stadium and tell you all about its history.

What is the Best Way to Get to This Venue?

Like many of the main cricket stadiums in India, this one is easily accessible by bus or train. If you want to go by bus, then you need to hop on the number 51, while if you want to get there by train, you need to take the 2005, which is on the Harbour line.

The closest train station to this stadium is the Churchgate Railway Station. If you get off here, you will have just a 2-3-minute walk to the station. If you are travelling by bus, the Ahilyabai Holkar Chowk stop is the closest to the stadium (just a 4-5-minute walk).

Once you have finished watching a match or having a look at the stadium from the outside (if there is no match on), there are plenty of other things in Mumbai that you must really see. For example, there is the Gateway of India, Juhu Beach, Haji Ali Dargah, Siddhivinayak Temple, the Elephanta Caves, Film City Mumbai, and the Sanjay Gandhi National Park.

When it comes to finding a place to stay during your stay in Mumbai, you are definitely spoiled for choice. If you are watching a match and want to stay close to the stadium, there is a lot of good hotels near to it. There is nothing better than exploring all that a city has to offer with the knowledge that you will be able to put your feet up in a relaxed and nice environment after a day of walking.

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