De Mello, the giant!

“When Mr de Mello enters a room you feel that here is a man among men. His optimism is infectious. If he promised you the Empire State Building, you would be sure of one thing; he would move heaven and earth to fulfil it.” That is the impression Sir Frank Worrell formed about Anthony S de Mello when he first met him during his visit to India with the Commonwealth team. A dedicated, incorrigible dreamer who got himself involved in one grandiose scheme after another all his life for the great good of sports as well for the glory of personal achievement. That was de Mello. To him, the cricket public of India owe a large debt of gratitude. He played the leading role in the formation of the BCCI and the CCI and the Delhi and District Cricket Association. It was through his untiring efforts that the National Cricket Championship of India for the Ranji Trophy was born. De Mello was the first Secretary of the Board and continued in that office for 10 long years. Later, he became its President.

Anthony de Mello

He built it...
He was the first Secretary of CCI but resigned a few months after the inauguration of the Brabourne Stadium because his books of account failed to balance.

He had spent far too much from too little that was in the Club’s kitty. He built the magnificent stadium and having accomplished his mission, left the prosaic task of settling the bills to others better suited for the job.

Born on October 11, 1900 in Karachi, de Mello had his education at St Patricks, the Sind College and Downing College Cambridge. He was a decent right-arm medium pace bowler. His greatest triumph on the cricket field was when playing for the Rest of India against Vizianagram’s team in Delhi in 1931, he dismissed Hobbs, Sutcliffe and CK Nayudu in one inspired spell of bowling. In 1937, he captained the first Rest team in the Pentangulars.

De Mello died after a cancer operation on May 24, 1961. And if he lived as a “Showman” of cricket, he died as one. His last wish was to be dressed in the MCC colours; this was fulfilled after his passing away; he was buried with full cricketing honours.

Reproduced from the book, CCI & The Brabourne Stadium 1937-1987 by Vasant Raiji and Anandji Dossa. Published in 1987 by the Cricket Club of India

MS Dhoni received De Mello Trophy
In yesterday’s Our View ‘Silverware in the Tiger’s name, please!’ we had said there was no photographic evidence in sight that Mahendra Singh Dhoni received the Anthony De Mello Trophy for India’s victory over England in the 2008-09 Test series in India. In fact, there is. The error is regretted. 

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