“Natives with Bats versus Officers with Umbrellas”

Quizman emails to respond to my post, “Cricket and the Veshti,” and points out that DB Deodhar used to play cricket in his dhoti. He also points me to a historical piece by Ramachandra Guha which contains this passage:

At first, the British thought little of the attempts by their subjects to take to their national game. They sneered at the Indians’ clothes and their technique, a Bombay journalist remarking of some Hindu players, in the 1870s, that `their kilted garments interfered [when batting] with running, and they threw the ball when fielding in the same fashion as boarding school girls’. At this time the gulf, admittedly, was huge, so much that some early matches were billed as `Natives with Bats versus Officers with Umbrellas’. Slowly the Indians began acquiring proficiency, helped by their decision to discard the cumbersome dhoti for the cricketer’s flannel trousers.

Those, I am most certain, were the days. Though I am sure some of you would argue that our players still field like boarding school girls. Tsk tsk.

Update: Reader Shastri points me to this picture.