History of Madras Presidency Matches
The Europeans vs Indians matches were the brain child of Buchi Babu Naidu of the Madras United Club (MUC) and Percival Partridge of the Madras Cricket Club (MCC). During those days, the MCC was an exclusively white organisation. So, Buchi Babu established the MCC as a similar cricket club for the Indians.
Unfortunately, before the first match Buchi Babu died of a heart attack. He was to captain the Indian side. The match still went ahead, mainly due to the efforts of B. Subramaniam who was an assistant of Buchi Babu.
BS Ramulu Naidu and Partridge captained the Indian side and the Europeans respectively. This match (Presidency Hindus and Presidency Europeans) was played between 29th December 1908 and 1st January 1909. However, the match had to be abandoned due to rain without the first innings being completed.
Since 1909, Subramanian organised an annual Buchi Babu Memorial Tournament and the Europeans vs Indians series was not revived until the 1915-16 season. This match, which began on the last day of 1915, is regarded as the first Madras Presidency match.
Series of Madras Presidency Matches
The series were usually ruled by the Indian teams and it was 1920 before Europeans scored their first victory. Occasionally, players from outside the Madras Presidency were brought in by the teams. Cricketers like C. K. Nayudu, Maharajkumar of Vizianagram and Phiroze Palia had played for the Indian team.
In the year 1918, E. Britten-Jones, took the only hat-trick in the competition. In 1921, C.K. Nayudu hit 128 before lunch on the first day, an innings that included a famous hit. Then in the year 1927, Humphrey Ward of the Europeans hit 173 setting a record for the highest score in the series. It was bettered the next day by MC Sivasankaran who made 174 for the Indians.
Decline of Madras Presidency Matches
The Second World War was the reason behind cancellation of the 1942 match which also led to the decline of the series. By the late forties, the British started migrating and the Europeans struggled to raise their teams. No match was played in 1949 and 1950 and those for 1951 and 1952 were two-day affairs. With time, the number of audience too decreased. In the later year, the match was watched by a crowd of six people, four of whom were journalists. This was the last of the Madras Presidency matches.
In the year 1956, a match was played between Indian and European members of the MCC with the aim of reviving the series. Indians won by an innings. It was the last experiment.