1st Edition

The 1935 Australian Cricket Tour of India Breaking Down Social and Racial Barriers

By Megan Ponsford Copyright 2022
    218 Pages
    by Routledge

    218 Pages
    by Routledge

    The first Australian cricket tour to India possesses an inherent intrigue that, for inexplicable reasons, has fallen into obscurity. Megan Ponsford rectifies this through her investigation of the uneasy relationships between Australia, British India and Indian nationalism during the interwar period, using the 1935/36 tour as a case study. The unique liaison between the entrepreneurial tour manager Frank Tarrant and the Maharaja of Patiala, who financed the exercise, led the way.

    From the palaces of the Raj to the foothills of the Himalayas, the evolving racial consciousness of the ragtag team of Australia cricketers defines the tour. The cricket establishment was also challenged as the tour defied the amateur game with participation encouraged by the Maharaja’s deep pockets.

    Employing a unique methodology, this book interprets the material culture located in the archives of the Australian and Indian cricketers. In the absence of first-hand accounts, these artefacts enable insight into the forgotten and overlooked sportspeople who are finally given the voice and acknowledgement they deserve. It is a brilliant new contribution to the study of both cricket and history, and will be a great resource for academics, researchers, and advanced students of History, Politics, Sports, Sociology, and Cultural Studies.

    The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of Sport in Society.

    1. Introduction

    2. Bhupinder and Tarrant: players of the game

    3. The has- beens and never will-bes

    4. Who are these Australian fellows with ‘Grim determination and astounding stamina’?

    5. Neither home nor away

    6. The launch of Indian- Australian cricket

    7. Beer, banquets and a Patiala Peg: food and drink on tour

    8. Photographic reportage and the colonial imaginary

    9. The atmosphere vibrated with triumphant joy

    10. Conclusion


    Megan Ponsford’s career as a documentary photographer took a sharp turn in 2005 when she located a box of long-forgotten archives whilst working at the Melbourne Cricket Club. This led to researching the first Australian cricket tour to India in 1935/36 which combined her greatest passions: cricket, photography, cultural history, travel, the subcontinent and family. Megan completed her PhD in 2016 and has subsequently published extensively.