Cricket Country: An Indian Odyssey in the Age of Empire

ISBN : 9780198843139

Prashant Kidambi
496 Pages
153 x 234 mm
Pub date
Jul 2019
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Cricket is an Indian game accidentally invented by the English,' it has famously been said. But India was represented by a cricket team long before it became a nation.

Conceived by an unlikely coalition of imperial and local elites, it took twelve years and four failed attempts before the first Indian cricket team made its debut on the playing fields of imperial Britain. Drawing on an unparalleled range of original archival sources, Cricket Country is the story of this first 'All India' national cricket tour of Great Britain and Ireland. It is also simultaneously the extraordinary tale of how the idea of India took shape on the cricket pitch long before the country gained its political independence.

Replete with a highly improbable cast of characters, the tour took place against the backdrop of anti-colonial protest and revolutionary terrorism in the high noon of Edwardian imperialism, with an Indian team that included the young, newly enthroned ruler of the most powerful Sikh state in India as its captain and, remarkably for the day, two Dalit cricketers as well.

Over the course of their historic tour in the blazing Coronation summer of 1911, these Indian cricketers participated in a collective enterprise that epitomizes the way in which sport - and above all cricket - helped fashion the imagined communities of both nation and empire.


1 Parsi Pioneers
2 Imperial Wanderers
3 Elusive Quest
4 Reviving the Dream
5 Men in White
6 The Captain's Story
7 City of the World
8 Indian Summer
9 Lost and Won
10 Beyond the Boundary
11 Ends and Beginnings

About the author: 

Prashant Kidambi is Associate Professor in Colonial Urban History at the University of Leicester. After completing graduate degrees in History at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, he was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to pursue a doctorate at the University of Oxford. His research explores the interface between British imperialism and the history of modern South Asia, with a specific focus on cities. In addition to numerous articles in journals and edited volumes, he is the author of The Making of an Indian Metropolis: Colonial Governance and Public Culture in Bombay, 1890-1920 (Aldershot, 2007; London and New York, 2016). His other research interests include the social history of sport in colonial and postcolonial India.

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