Cricket is a colonial game, played and followed in the countries that were once ruled by the British. For the British rulers, cricket was a symbol of the ‘superiority’ of their race. They showed no interest in teaching the game to the non-white natives in the West Indies and India.
Towards the end of the 19th century, the first non-white cricket club came up in the West Indies. Members of this club were light-skinned people of mixed European and African descent, called the Mulatoos.
Cricket gained huge popularity amongst the common people in the Caribbean. Winning cricket matches became a way of gaining social equality and political progress. When the West Indies won its first test match against England in 1950, it was celebrated as a national victory. Today, the Pan-West Indies team represents many nations of the Caribbean region, which could never get unified politically.
During the 18th century, cricket was played in India by the British military men and civil servants. The Parsis became the first Indian community to form a cricket club in 1848 in Bombay. This club was supported by big businessmen like the Tatas and the Wadias.
Later, the Hindus and the Muslims also established their separate cricket clubs. Four teams, namely the Europeans, the Parsis, the Hindus and the Muslims, played in a famous tournament called the Quadrangular. When the remaining communities joined as a team called ‘The Rest,’ the tournament was renamed as the Pentangular.
By the 1930s-40s, the Pentangular tournament faced widespread criticism from all quarters for its communal foundations. Later on, a National Cricket Championship, also known as the Ranji Trophy, was formed on regional lines.