The Bombay Quadrangular used to be India’s premier domestic tournament in the era preceding Ranji Trophy. However, there arose confusion in 1937-38: which teams would Indians who did not belong to the three major cricket-playing communities — Hindus, Muslims and Parsees — play for? Should there not be a fifth team?
Of course, there was a team of Europeans, consisting almost entirely of Christians, but they were European Christians. Indian Christians, along with Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains, needed their own team. Thus a fifth team — The Rest — was created, enabling Vijay Samuel Hazare to join in the run-fest in Indian domestic cricket in the early 1940s.
Hazare later became the first Christian to play Test cricket for India. Then there was Kripal Singh, a Sikh, who switched religion during his career to become a Christian. Kripal had played Test cricket alongside Chandu Borde, another Christian, but it is not clear whether they played together after Kripal’s conversion. Whether that is under speculation, there is no doubt that two Christians — Stuart Binny and Varun Aaron — played together in the 2014 Test at The Oval.
After Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs, the Christians form the fourth XI.
Making a Christian XI was not easy. In fact, it made me look up the limited-overs sides as well. Some of the men selected here have represented India in only ODIs and/or T20Is.
Please note that the purpose of this article is not to hurt any religious sentiment.
Roger Binny, Robin Uthappa (wk), Vijay Hazare (c), Chandu Borde, Jacob Martin, Stuart Binny, Noel David, Tinu Yohannan, Robin Singh Jr, David Johnson, Varun Aaron, Connor Williams (sub).
Uthappa, Martin and David have played only limited-overs cricket for India.
Williams has played only an unofficial Test.
I have left out Kripal intentionally.
(A New Delhi-based cricket author and historian, Gulu Ezekielis the author of a dozen sports books including best-selling biographies of Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and MS Dhoni. Formerly sports editor at Asian Age, NDTV and india.com)
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