Even though researchers say that cricket originated in England, today, cricket is present in many countries worldwide. In India, cricket is the most popular sport — just think of the Indian Premier League (IPL), a championship that’s considered one of the most significant sporting events in the country. Players from all over the world come to play for Indian teams because that’s where the success lies. Some cricket enthusiasts will even say that this sport is a religion in India.
Still, it’s important to note that cricket isn’t only played on a professional level. While we only hear the news about the most successful pro teams, such as Rajasthan Royals, Mumbai Indians, and Chennai Super Kings, university cricket is where some of the best cricket players are born.
Some online gambling platforms will even introduce the university cricket tournaments to their sports selection, allowing you to follow live cricket scores & fixtures. However, if you don’t know much about cricket on a college level, keep reading. We’ll talk more about one of the most popular All-India Inter-University Cricket Championship organised annually for the Rohinton Baria Trophy.
Rohinton Baria Trophy History
Compared to other university cricket tournaments in India and the rest of the world, this one has a long-standing tradition that began back in 1935. That year, Ardeshir Dadabhoy Baria, the president of a cricket club in Bombay, donated the trophy in the memory of his son Rohinton.
The trophy, later named the Rohinton Baria Gold Trophy, was intended as a prize for the tournament played between Indian universities. Initially, this event was organised by the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India). Still, a couple of years later, in 1940, the IUSB (Inter-University Sports Board of India) took over.
Here’s how the tournament works. At the beginning of the competition, all university teams play in zones. Afterwards, winning teams and runner-ups from every zone get to compete in playoff semi-finals and finals. The most successful teams play the finals over three or four days on one of the finalist’s campuses, or at a neutral setting.
However, some matches lasted even longer. For instance, in 1956/1957, the game between Bombay and Delhi universities lasted for eight days straight. In the end, it was the Bombay University that took home the trophy. In 1980, the tournament format was changed, and university teams played a one-day 50-over contest.
In addition to Indian universities, other teams were also allowed to participate. For example, from 1947/48 to 1969/70, the Ceylon University cricket team played in the tournament. Additionally, the only university from the future Pakistan that took part in the Championship was the Punjab University, which won four times.
Most Successful Teams
By far, the most successful team in the All-India Inter-University Cricket Championship is the Bombay University with 24 titles, followed by the Delhi University that boasts 15 victories. These two are also known rivals, especially after their eight-day-long final match.
It’s worth mentioning the importance of the tournament that launched many renowned Test and first-class cricket players. For instance, in the 1940-41 final, the Bombay University team had four future Test players — Hemu Adhikari, Ranga Sohoni, Sadu Shinde, and Chandra Sarwate. Moreover, in 1958-59, that same university had five future Test players — Dilip Sardesai, Arvind Apte, Ajit Wadekar, Farokh Engineer, and Ramakant Desai. No wonder Bombay University holds the title as the most successful team in the Championship.
Unfortunately, with the rise of junior cricket competitions in the last couple of years, the interest in the university cricket Championship has withered.