Featured 19 Nov 2014 Print
The Rajkumar of Vizianagram - 1936 All-India captain
Cricket - 1936 All-India Tour of England
The Rajkumar of Vizianagram (aka Vizzy'), Vijay Ananda Gajapathi Raju, captain of the 1936 All India Tour of England.
The 1936 All India side has been described as the one of the most unhappy and poorly led teams of all time'. The captain was the Maharajah (Prince) of Vizianagram, nicknamed Vizzy, an untalented player who had gained the position through extensive political lobbying, his family's wealth, and his standing as a prominent cricket sponsor in India.
In all the team won just 4 of the 28 first-class games played, losing 12, and lost the three-match Test series 2-0. Vizzy's on-field strategy was described by the post-tour enquiry as disastrous...he did not understand field placings or bowling changes and never maintained any regular batting order, and in the test series he scored 33 runs at 8.25 batting at no.9 and not bowling. He ostracised many of the players with his manner off the pitch too, leaving many players out of the team for weeks on end.
However the incident that caused major controversy was when star all-rounder Lala Amarnath was sent home for reportedly swearing in Punjabi (a language Vizzy didn't even speak) after having been made to wait by his captain for hours padded up while suffering with a bad back as others were sent in to bat above him. Many believe the punishment was politically motivated as Amarnath, who came from a poor background, was not only the best player in the side but the most natural leader. The enquiry later exonerated Armarnath of any blame. Despite all this, during the trip Vizzy was fast-tracked into the MCC and became the only active test player in history to be knighted