Not everyone talks of CK Nayudu. There are two things you should know about him:

He was the India’s first ever Test captain. 

And he took us from a country in love with cricket to a Test playing nation in a matter of just 116 minutes. 

Yes, it took the most important innings of his life, and arguably in India’s history, to get us there. But it was a magical day or rather two hours and here’s how the story goes.


It was 30th of November, 1926. 

The MCC (Marlybone Cricket Club) Team had travelled throughout India beating teams. Undefeated, the tourists came to Mumbai and their opponents were CK Nayudu’s team, the Hindus.

The pre-match report stated how only Parsis had defeated the English in the past, but a change was in order – “Those were the Palmy days of Parsi cricket, but now we depend on the Hindus to resist the invaders.”


The invaders, confident, were in for a huge surprise. They had to wait for it though. After putting 363 on the board, waiting for the calendar to change to December 1st and reducing the Hindus to 67-2, they welcomed Cottari Kanakaiya Nayudu to the crease. 

He was quiet for a total of two balls. The third one landed on the roof of the Bombay Gymkhana. Over the course of his innings, two more deliveries were subjected to the same fate.

Soon, he raced to his fifty and disappeared into the locker room for the scheduled lunch.


News of his brutality against the so-called invaders had gone around the city. Post lunch, all the stands were occupied, the roofs were filled and the trees were trembling under the pressure of people trying to get a glimpse of the onslaught. 

He sure gave them a show. It is hard to probably realise how people felt at that time. Under foreign rule but watching a man, on our turf, slaughter the opposition. He was bound to be a hero.


CK Nayudu played for only 116 minutes before he was caught in the deep for 153.

He hit 14 fours and 11 sixes while he laid waste to the bowlers. Mumbai, then Bombay, had come alive because of cricket. A feeling that we are all too used to now. But back then, it was out of the ordinary.

And it took an extraordinary man to do it. A fearless warrior they also called the Colonel. A man who would, fittingly so, be at helm of the first ever Indian test team, in 1932.


CK was gifted a silver bat by the MCC for his swashbuckling knock at the Gymkhana.

It was the most emotional and significant moment in Indian cricket history. E L Docker wrote the perfect tribute – 

Importance of the day lay in the emotional scene at the finish when outside the pavilion in the quickening dusk people began to gather in little craning their necks, straining every muscle to catch glimpse of their hero, touch him, garland him with flowers, press gifts into his hand. How he had raised them up! What glories he had shown them!

The fact that the match ended in a draw wasn’t important. CK’s innings brought India under the spotlight and by extension also got us the official Test status we deserved. Something that even the MCC captain Arthur Gilligan had been campaigning for. Indian cricket was never to be the same again.

We always talk about the achievements of our Kapil Devs, MS Dhonis and Virat Kohlis. But all of it happened due to the 116 minutes of brilliance back in 1926 by our first captain, our “Colonel” – CK Nayudu.

Docker was right. He raised us up. He showed us glory. 

Featured Image for representational purposes only.