(Last Updated on : 16/08/2014)
Morappakam Josyam Gopalan, a man of multitalented genius, played both cricket and hockey, represented India in the colonial times.
Morappakam Josyam Gopalan was born on 6th June 1909 in Morappakam of Tamil Nadu
. He was a sportsman who represented India in cricket and hockey.
Gopalan Morappakam Josyam Gopalan hailed from the village of Morappakam in Chingleput district
, some 50 kilometres from Chennai
The family of Morappakam Josyam Gopalan moved to Triplicane in Chennai when he was young.
Gopalan Morappakam Josyam Gopalan was exposed by C. P. Johnstone. C. P. Johnstone is one of the founding fathers of Madras cricket. As was his practice with promising players, C. P. Johnstone gave him a job in the Burma Shell. Gopalan Morappakam Josyam Gopalan soon switched his allegiance to the Triplicane Cricket Club. He owed his fame in local circles mainly to his performances here.
Gopalan Morappakam Josyam Gopalan was a fast medium bowler. He moved the ball both ways. When he was selected to make his first class debut in the Madras Presidency tournament, it was not a popular decision.
Gopalan Morappakam Josyam Gopalan dismissed Hobbs in both innings; in the second he clean bowled the great man with a leg-cutter that pitched on the leg stump and took the off bail. Against Ceylon in 1933, he took a famous hattrick, the first in Chepauk
. This came in his eighth over when he took wickets with his first, third, fourth and fifth balls, hitting the middle stump each time.
When Ranji Trophy was inaugurated in 1934, Madras and Mysore
(now Tamil Nadu and Karnataka
), Gopalan Morappakam Josyam Gopalan played the first match. To Gopalan Morappakam Josyam Gopalan, went the honour of delivering the first ball of the tournament. His only Test match was against England at Calcutta (Kolkata
) in early 1934.
The hockey career of Gopalan Morappakam Josyam Gopalan was exposed by Robert Summerhayes. In the year 1935, Gopalan Morappakam Josyam Gopalan toured New Zealand with the Indian hockey team which enjoyed enormous success.
The next year, Gopalan Morappakam Josyam Gopalan was selected in the hockey team for the Berlin Olympics and the cricket team to tour England. It was known beforehand that Gopalan would have a small role to play in the England tour because of the presence of Mohammad Nissar and Amar Singh.
Still he chose the hockey, which turned out to be a terrible decision. The hockey team captained by Dhyan Chand
, one of the finest teams in the history of the sport, won the gold medal with little difficulty. As it turned out, Gopalan Morappakam Josyam Gopalan did not play a Test in England. The tour was blemished by internal politics and the cricket team returned in disgrace.
Gopalan Morappakam Josyam Gopalans batting was improved with time. Gopalan Morappakam Josyam Gopalan was then about a No.10 batsman, but by steady application he showed what improvement a bowler who really tries can make in batting and later on played many fine innings. The most celebrated of these “many fine innings:” was a 64 runs against the West Indians in 1949 which featured some exciting driving.
In the year 1952, a silver jubilee fund was started to celebrate 25 years of service in both cricket and hockey by Gopalan Morappakam Josyam Gopalan. An annual cricket match was instituted between Madras and Ceylon during colonial times (now called Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka) for the M. J. Gopalan Trophy. This yearly tournament continued with a few interruptions till Sri Lanka got Test status in the early 1980s. It was revived in 2000 as a match between Tamil Nadu and a Colombo District Cricket Association. This also lapsed after two years. Gopalan Morappakam Josyam Gopalan served as a national selector for a few years in the year 1950.
Gopalan Morappakam Josyam Gopalan was the oldest living test cricketer at the time of his death. He died on 21 December 2003, Chennai. One of the entrances to the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium
is named after Gopalan Morappakam Josyam Gopalan.