Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

“The 1886 Trophy”: A Matter Of Pride For The Cricketing Fraternity

(Extraordinary lovers of the game called cricket are all geared up and excited to be a part of the tournament “The 1886 Trophy” and are saying it aloud that they are proud of the heritage where it all began. CricFit author and Sports Media Specialist Binaisha M. Surti brings you a pre- view of all the exciting action to come.)

Article by Cricfit

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The Parsees were the earliest local community in India to take up cricket. They are known to have played the game since about 1840 and the first Parsee Club “The Oriental Cricket Club” was founded in 1848. In February 1885, a group of eminent Parsees met at the Ripon Club in Bombay to discuss the setting up of a Gymkhana to meet the needs of Parsee youngsters for physical recreation and outdoor sports. This eventually led to the establishment of the Parsee Gymkhana in 1885, with Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy being its first President. The Gymkhana came to be regarded as the world headquarters of Parsee Cricket.
The Parsee tour of England in 1886 was the first cricket tour of England by a team from India. It was made up of enthusiasts who had the means to pay. The position changed in 1888 on the second tour, when players were selected on merits. The Parsees back then genuinely enjoyed this sport and continue to do so even today.

Thus to recreate such golden moments and enjoy the game of cricket “The 1886 Trophy 2016” came into being. The 2 teams that will face each other in a thrilling contest on 12th November 2016 are Parsee Gymkhana and British Business X1 at the Parsee Gymkhana Grounds from 8:30 am onwards. Six balls will be bowled per over with each innings being of 30 overs each. The post-match presentation ceremony will be held after the game. The umpires will not be using a ball counter, they will be using marbles instead. The main sponsors of the tournament are Spenta, HSBC and Glenfiddich. This grand cricketing event will be attended by personalities across the Parsee community, renowned ex-cricketers and ex- Parsee Cricketers.

Speaking to CricFit, Khodadad Yazdegardi (Vice President and Cricket Secretary of Parsee Gymkhana) shared with us “I believed that whatever we do, we should do it extremely well and make it big… I thus had a meeting with Matt Greenwell and as everything fell into place…the cricket tournament called “The 1886 Trophy 2016” was born. In 1886 an all Parsee team reached the shores of England to play the most loved game called cricket. It is a nostalgic feeling to try and re- create the whole scenario of the golden days of the sport. We want this generation to come and thus remember this occasion for a long time.”

Adding to this Matt Greenwell (Managing Committee member of the British Business Group in India) said “I have been living in India for some years now and have been a fan of Indian history. I read many books on cricket too. Parsees were the first community who took interest in cricket and the Parsee team toured England in the year 1886. I am extremely passionate about the sport and I too will be playing on 12th November. I have a special bat made for the occasion. We are a team of British businessmen…I even play for the Malabar Pirates Cricket Club. Though I come from a rugby background I picked up the sport when I was in my 20’s. Talking about getting sponsor HSBC on board… Since this is such a massive event and an opportunity to celebrate the great days of the golden era we had a meeting with the CEO of HSBC in India and they were more than happy to come on board.”

Aspan Cooper (Chairman of Spenta Group of Companies) concluded by telling us “Firstly cricket is very close to my heart and so is my community. It is something exceptionally great that the first team touring England were an all Parsees unit. I readily agreed to sponsor such a big tournament and support any cause which helps our community. I would love to sponsor many more such events in the future too and it is always a pleasure to be associated with the Parsee Gymkhana. I have been an avid cricket lover and played for Parsee Gymkhana too.”