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Andrew Stoddart's bat: An unwelcome visitor?

Andrew Stoddart's bat: An unwelcome visitor?

Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji was the only English batsman to match Australia's bowling attack during Australia's defeat of England in 1897/98. Ranjitsinhji was an Indian prince who took up cricket while studying at Cambridge University in England.

A black and white photograph of a cricketer demonstrating a batting stroke. He stands at a batting crease with a set of stumps behind him. He wears light-toned trousers, shirt, shoes and a baggy cap. He also wears batting pads on his lower legs and batting gloves. He holds his bat in front of him; its face is turned away to the right side of the photograph. The cricketer looks down toward the ground near the bat. In the backround is a cricket field. What appear to be out of focus cricketers can be seen in the distance. Beyond them are out of focus buildings and a large chimney.

He became the first Indian to play Test cricket, representing England in 15 Test matches between 1896 and 1902. Many regard him as one of the finest batsmen of all time, in part because he introduced new strokes to the game such as the late cut and leg glance.

Despite his prowess, Ranjitsinhji was almost selected for the Australian tour in 1897/98. In Britain, some people did not think an Indian should play for England; in New South Wales, the government had a Bill before parliament calling for all non-white people entering the colony to pay a 'deterrent tax' of £100. Eventually, it was decided that the tax would be waived for Ranjitsinhji.

Left: Ranjitsinhji displays his leg glance. This photograph appeared in Ranjitsinhji's Jubilee Book of Cricket which was published in 1897 and was titled for Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee. The jubilee marked the English monarch's 60 years on the throne. Photo: George Serras.

A black and white photograph of an Indian man taken in 1920. He stands facing the camera, wearing a long traditional coat and a turban decorated with jewellery. He also wears several pearl necklaces and a sash. He rests his left hand on the handle of what appears to be a ceremonial sword. His right hand rests upon a small book which is on a table. In the background is a patterned backdrop.

Left: This photograph shows KS Ranjitsinhji in 1920.

After his cricketing career, Ranjitsinhji returned to India to become Maharaja Jam Sahib of Nawanagar, where he worked to improve the living conditions of people in his state. Courtesy: Wikipedia.

The cover of a publication relating to the English cricket team's 1897-8 tour of Australia. There is a photograph of an Indian cricketer on the right side of the cover. He stands at a batting crease, in a batting pose. The text on the cover reads (from top to bottom) 'Third Edition. One Shilling. By Prince Ranjitsinhji "With Stoddart's Team In Australia." Being the record of the 1897-8 tour. With sixteen illustrations of the principal players and full batting & bowling averages. London: James Bowden, 10 Henrietta Street, W.C.' The text is in white print on a green background.

KS Ranjitsinhji was also an accomplished writer. He published a detailed account of the English team's 1897/98 tour of Australia. Photo: George Serras.

A still image taken from black and white film footage of a cricket match in the nineteenth century. The image shows a batsman walking down a flight of steps toward a gate leading on to a cricket field. He wears light-toned trousers, shirt, batting gloves and batting pads on his lower legs. He holds a bat in his right hand. The end of the bat is touching the step on to which he is about to step. Some of the crowd watching the match in progress can be seen in the left of the image. They appear to all be men, wearing suits and either boater or trilby hats. Behind the cricketer at the top of the steps a man sits on a chair, in front of two large tent flap-style sections of material. A sign can be seen on the the fence visible at the edge of the cricket field, in the left foreground. It says 'Members Only'.

Take a look at KS Ranjitsinhji batting with WG Grace (MP4 1mb) duration 0:33
Courtesy: British Pathe/ITN Source.