This is the first Test in Mumbai without a Mumbai player playing for India    IANS
This is the first Test in Mumbai without a Mumbai player playing for India IANS

When news broke out that Ajinkya Rahane will miss the fourth Test of the ongoing series between India and England at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai (he will also miss the fifth at Chepauk, Chennai), ripples of excitement spread through cricket statisticians across the world. It was indeed the first time in its 42-year (and 25-Test including the ongoing one) history that Wankhede hosted a Test without a single local player. While Sunil Gavaskar played the first 11 Tests at Wankhede, Sachin Tendulkar was a part of the last 11. The 2 Tests between the two giants featured Dilip Vengsarkar, another big name of Mumbai cricket, who led India in both Tests.

But what about Brabourne Stadium, the other iconic city in the ground? A Test at Brabourne remained one of the annual fixtures of Test season in India till Wankhede came along. The historic ground witnessed a solitary Test in 2008-09, one that was immortalised by Virender Sehwag s outrageous 293.

Full Cricket Scorecard: India vs England 4th Test at Mumbai

Bombay Gymkhana, Mumbai s Bombay s other Test ground, had hosted the first Test on Indian soil, back in 1933-34. The Test predated Ranji Trophy (which ruled out the concept of a local player), but several Indian cricketers featuring in that Test LP Jai, Vijay Merchant, and Rustomji Jamshedji would begin their Ranji Trophy careers with Bombay.

In other words, there has never been a Test in Bombay/Mumbai without a cricketer from the local side.

Trivia: Douglas Jardine, captaining England in that Test, was also born in Bombay.

But what about other grounds and cities? Which was the first time each of them held a Test without a local cricketer?

Before we answer that question, let us make a few assumptions:

1. A local cricketer is defined by the team he plays for, not the state he was born. For example, Venkatappa Muddiah, born in Bangalore, played 2 Tests, but was with Services during his Test career (though he had earlier played for Mysore now Karnataka).

2. If a cricketer has played for multiple Ranji Trophy sides, his last Ranji team will be considered for this. For example, Vijay Manjrekar mostly played for Bombay, but he also played Test cricket while playing for Bengal, Andhra, and Rajasthan. Manjrekar has been assigned his teams accordingly.

3. Since both Punjab and Haryana have played home matches in Chandigarh, I have considered players from both Punjab and Haryana as local cricketers of the city (both grounds).

4. The first 3 Tests on Indian soil predated Ranji Trophy. They have been treated separately. For these Tests, the first Ranji Trophy teams for the cricketers have been considered.

Ground City M First Test without local player No.
Gymkhana Ground Bombay / Mumbai 1 None
Eden Gardens Calcutta / Kolkata 40 January 5, 1934 1st
MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chepauk Madras / Chennai 31 February 10, 1934 1st
Feroz Shah Kotla Delhi 33 November 10, 1948 1st
Brabourne Stadium Bombay / Mumbai 18 None
Green Park Kanpur 22 January 12, 1952 1st
University Ground Lucknow 1 October 23, 1952 1st
Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium Hyderabad 3 None
Nehru Stadium Madras / Chennai 9 January 10, 1962 6th
Vidarbha CA Ground Nagpur 9 October 3, 1969 1st
M Chinnaswamy Stadium Bangalore / Bengaluru 21 November 12, 1988 9th
Wankhede Stadium Bombay / Mumbai 25 December 8, 2016 25th
Burlton Ground Jalandhar 1 None
Sardar Patel (Gujarat) Stadium Ahmedabad 12 November 12, 1983 1st
Barabati Stadium Cuttack 2 January 4, 1987 1st
Sawai Mansingh Stadium Jaipur 1 February 21, 1987 1st
Sector 16 Stadium Chandigarh 1 None
KD Singh Babu Stadium Lucknow 1 January 18, 1994 1st
Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium, Mohali Chandigarh 13 October 10, 1999 3rd
Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, Jamtha Nagpur 5 November 6, 2008 1st
Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Uppal Hyderabad 3 March 2, 2013 3rd
Holkar Cricket Stadium Indore 1 October 8, 2016 1st
Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium Rajkot 1 None
Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium Visakhapatnam 1 November 1, 2016 1st

Note:

1. Since the inception of Ranji Trophy, the first Test at Eden Gardens without a player from Bengal was played on December 30, 1960.

2. Since the inception of Ranji Trophy, the first Test at Chepauk without a player from Madras / Tamil Nadu was played on January 27, 1949.

3. Ghulam Ahmed is the only local cricketer to lead his side in the first Test at his home ground (Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium, Hyderabad).

4. Vidarbha CA Ground, Nagpur has hosted most Tests (9) without featuring a player from the local team (Vidarbha).

5. Brabourne Stadium now holds the record for hosting most matches where every Test has featured at least one local cricketer.

But what do things look like at city level?

Indian cities and their first Tests without local cricketers

City Grounds M First Test without local player No.
Bombay / Mumbai 3 44 December 8, 2016 44th
Calcutta / Kolkata 1 40 January 5, 1934 1st
Madras / Chennai 2 40 February 10, 1934 1st
Delhi 1 33 November 10, 1948 1st
Kanpur 1 22 January 12, 1952 1st
Lucknow 2 2 October 23, 1952 1st
Hyderabad 2 6 March 2, 2013 6th
Nagpur 2 14 October 3, 1969 1st
Bangalore / Bengaluru 1 21 November 12, 1988 9th
Jalandhar 1 1 None
Ahmedabad 1 12 November 12, 1983 1st
Cuttack 1 2 January 4, 1987 1st
Jaipur 1 1 February 21, 1987 1st
Chandigarh 2 14 October 10, 1999 4th
Indore 1 1 October 8, 2016 1st
Rajkot 1 1 None
Visakhapatnam 1 1 November 1, 2016 1st

India will have three new Test centres this season, in Dharamsala, Pune, and Ranchi. Unless a major talent appears on the scene or there is a string of injuries, it seems extremely unlikely that one of the three cities will join Jalandhar or Rajkot.

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Chief Editor at CricketCountry. He blogs at ovshake.blogspot.com and can be followed on Twitter @ovshake42.)