The pristine and serene Bombay Gymkhana, one of Mumbai's most prestigious clubs with a historic and glorious past, kicked off the Platinum Jubilee celebrations of the historic first cricket Test match played in India, by launching the Bombay Gymkhana Cricket Academy on Saturday.
15th December is a significant date to remember especially when you rewind to the winter of 1933 when Douglas Jardine led a star-studded England team at the manicured and picturesque Bombay Gymkhana ground against an equally star-studded India squad led by the legendary Col. C K Nayudu.
Even though India lost that four-day match by nine wickets and debutant Lala Amarnath had scored a century in the second innings, the rest, they say, was history.
The Bombay Gymkhana ground was packed to capacity, with a mammoth 50,000 spectators cramming every nook and corner in specially erected shamianas. Thousands more were turned away. Cricket had come alive in India and it was here to stay.
Though England went on to win the series 2-0, India's performance was enough for Jardine to predict their imminent rise.
And so it will be, another eventful year ahead at the Bombay Gymkhana as the Cricket Committee, headed by cricket secretary Camille Sheth, plans to organise a series of significant events.
Immediately after the launch of the Bombay Gymkhana Cricket Academy on December 15, is the eagerly awaited 45-overs match between Somerset County from England and Bombay Gymkhana XI on December 16 at the Bombay Gymkhana.
Also on the anvil is a Twenty20 Inter-Club tournament, followed by the RFS Taleyarkhan and Birla Sun Life Under-13 tournaments and an Inter-School Cricket Quiz.
The celebrations will culminate in a grand finale on December 15, 2008, as the Bombay Gymkhana hopes to have an England vs India Test match when England tour the country next year.
The Bombay Gymkhana Cricket Academy is being headed by former Mumbai Ranji cricketer Zubin Bharucha, who will be assisted by Monty Desai and former India cricketers Narendra Hirwani and Sameer Dighe.
The academy will train both junior and senior professionals and aspirational amateurs. It is split between coaching and matches, which will be the main focus, with yoga and fitness. The programme is structured to suit all types of teams and individuals, both professional and amateur.
The academy will provide quality coaching and cricketing facilities to enable individuals and teams to play the game better.