“The history of gymkhana cricket led to first class cricket being organised on communal and racial lines.” Explain.
The establishment of the Parsi Gymkhana led other Indians to establish clubs based on religion. By the 1890s, Hindu Gymkhana and Islam Gymkhana were established. The teams which played colonial India’s famous first-class cricket tournament did not represent India but represented different religious communities.The Quadrangular tournament had four teams, viz, the Europeans, the Parsis, the Hindus and the Muslims.
It later became the Pentangular with an extra fifth team, the Rest, which comprised all the communities left over, such as the Indian Christians.
The racial and communal foundation of the Pentangular tournament was severely criticised by the journalists, cricketers and political leaders. A rival first-class tournament on regional lines, the National Cricket Championship (later known as the Ranji Trophy) was introduced initially but, it could not properly replace Pentangular until independence.