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