Anthony de Mello (cricket administrator)

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Anthony de Mello
Cricket information
Bowling style Right-handed medium pace bowler
International information
National side
Career statistics
Competition First-class
Matches 11
Runs scored 82
Batting average 5.12
100s/50s 0/0
Top score 15
Balls bowled 1350
Wickets 17
Bowling average 38.23
5 wickets in innings 1
10 wickets in match 0
Best bowling 6/66
Catches/stumpings 2/0
Source: CricketArchive

Anthony Stanislaus de Mello (11 October 1900, Karachi, British India – 24 May 1961, Delhi, India) was an Indian cricket administrator and one of the founders of the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

Background[edit]

Born in Karachi, he was educated in St. Patrick's High School,[1] Sind College and Downing College in Cambridge. He started his career in the services of the businessman R. E. Grant Govan in Delhi, and with whom he collaborated in founding the BCCI.

Career[edit]

The BCCI had it origins in a meeting in February 1927 at the Roshanara Club in Delhi between Arthur Gilligan, the captain of the visiting MCC team, De Mello, Grant Govan and the Maharaja of Patiala. The decision to form the board was taken at another meeting held at the same place on 22 November 1927 attended by representatives of various provinces and princely states. De Mello travelled with Grant Govan to England to organise tours of India by South Africa in 1929 and MCC in 1930-31. Both tours were eventually cancelled but the BCCI was formally founded at the Roshanara Club in December 1928 with Grant Govan as the first President and De Mello the Secretary.[2] They represented India in the Imperial Cricket Conference in May 1929.[3]

De Mello, with Grant Govan, was also instrumental in founding the Cricket Club of India (CCI). As for BCCI, De Mello served as the founder secretary. Delhi was planned as the headquarters and location of the ground for the club, but it was eventually set up in Bombay (now Mumbai). Guha [4] considers this as an attempt on the part of De Mello and Grant Govan to shift the headquarters of cricket in India from Bombay, but the book brought out by the CCI for the Golden Jubilee of the Brabourne Stadium [5] attributes this to the non-availability of land in Bombay. But it does seem that De Mello played a prominent role in selecting the site and convincing Lord Brabourne, the Governor of Bombay, to allot the land for the stadium at a cheap rate.

De Mello served as the Secretary of BCCI from 1928-29 to 1937-38 and President from 1946-47 to 1950-51. In the meeting of the cricket board in Simla in the summer of 1934, De Mello submitted the proposal for the national championship and a sketch of the proposed trophy which became the Ranji Trophy. He was the organising secretary of the first Asian Games at Delhi in 1951. As the General Manager of the Gwalior and Northern India Transport System, he helped to modernise Delhi's transport system.[6] He also headed the Jumna Valley Rail and Road Transport Company.[7]

De Mello courted controversy later in his career (in 1951, reviewing his time as the BCCI President, The Times of India called him a 'dictator'). His tenure as the President of BCCI ended with a defeat to J. C. Mukherjee, the President of the Cricket Association of Bengal, by 12 votes to 5, in the Board meeting held at the Imperial Hotel in Delhi on 1951-08-05. He had not been in good terms with the Bengal association for some time. When in 1949, De Mello came up with serious allegations against the Indian captain Lala Amarnath, the 'Bengal lobby' had strongly supported Amarnath.[8] Amarnath threatened to sue the board for one lakh rupees but the matter had then been settled with Amarnath tendering a qualified apology to the board. De Mello made another attempt at the presidency in 1952 but withdrew on finding that his chances were slim.

De Mello's cricket career as a medium pace bowler was rather inconspicuous. Duleepsinhji once dismissed him as one 'who thinks he is a bowler but has never found anyone to agree with him on that point' [9] His greatest success as a bowler came for a Rest of India team against the Vizzy XI in 1930-31 where took the wickets of Jack Hobbs, Herbert Sutcliffe and C. K. Nayudu. De Mello captained the first 'Rest' team in the Bombay Pentangular.

De Mello died following a cancer operation. He was buried in York Cemetery in New Delhi.[10] He authored the book Portrait of Indian Sport which was published in 1959.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Issue 2, 2006 The Goan Voice, UK. Retrieved 26 November 2011
  2. ^ Mihir Bose, A History of Indian Cricket, Andre Deutsch, 1990, pp. 60-61
  3. ^ Ramachandra Guha, A Corner of a Foreign Field, Picador, 2002, p. 191
  4. ^ Guha, pp. 190-191
  5. ^ Vasant Raiji & Anandji Dossa, CCI and the Brabourne Stadium, 1987, p. 11
  6. ^ Richard Cashman, Patrons, players and the crowd, Orient Longman, 1980, p. 20
  7. ^ Times obituary, 25 May 1961, p.17
  8. ^ Boria Majumdar, Twenty-two yards to freedom, Penguin, 2004, p. 275
  9. ^ Bose, p. 64
  10. ^ The Hindu article on Anglo-Indians

External links[edit]