In the winter of 1933, the MCC came for their first ever official test tour of India. But more than runs & wins, the MCC captain’s prime goal became bagging the most majestic predator of the land. Did he succeed? Let’s find out.

On the morning of 12th Oct, 1933, a ship carrying the first English cricket team to play test cricket in India arrived on Bombay dock. They were led by a man with a deep Indian connection, having been born at Malabar Hills.

Although he had masterminded England to a win over Australia using the infamous Bodyline strategy just the previous winter, in India, he was for most part, a pleasant and charming man.

During the four-month tour, Jardine and his men traversed the subcontinent playing 34 matches, making stops in Karachi, Peshawar, Lahore & Amritsar, before arriving in Patiala. Their host was the cricket lover Maharaja, Sir Bhupinder Singh.

As was his tradition, the Maharaja invited the tourists for a hunt in his private game reserve. The Englishmen had a good time of it, shooting a fair haul of deer and partridges.

However Jardine sought a bigger prize. The English captain was determined to not return without shooting a big cat. After Patiala and Delhi, MCC traveled to Saurashtra. Jardine went up to Junagadh, erected a machan & hired 30 beaters in search of the feline.

After 3 days, an Asiatic male lion finally showed its face and Jardine duly shot it. His next stop was in the Nawanagar State. Here the hunt turned rather vicious as a leopard struck back, mauling two beaters before Jardine managed to shoot it.



Even with an Asiatic lion and a leopard in his kitty Jardine was not satisfied. He yearned for a magnificent Royal Bengal tiger. After leading England to a comfortable win in the 1st test in Bombay, Jardine moved to the jungles of central India.

First, in Datia, he accounted for a nilgai and a sambhar. Next, he arrived in Gwalior State. The ruler of Gwalior arranged beats in forests said to be teeming with tigers. Jardine shot a magnificent sambhar with 28 inch horns.

Despite his persistence his dreams of shooting a tiger remained elusive. To further worsen his mood, leg-spinner CS Mariott shot one.

It may have accounted for Jardine’s notably aggressive demeanor at the Eden Gardens where he instructed his fast bowlers to bowl at the heads of the Indians.

The tour next arrived at Benares to play a team raised by the enfant terrible of Indian cricket, Maharajkumar of Vizianagaram. It was to be MCC’s only defeat on the tour, but for Jardine, a bigger defeat was in store.

Skipping the next match, Jardine ventured into a forest block exclusively reserved for him by the above-mentioned royal. Jardine shot a bear but the majestic predator still eluded his sight.

And that was to be the end of his toil. Although the tourists managed another win at Madras to take the series, the English captain had to accept defeat on the shikaar front. The king of the Indian jungles had managed to frustrate the Englishman.

Note: The events described in this thread are from a time when hunting of wild animals was legal and was a favorite pastime. This story is an attempt to look back at a bygone era, not to endorse killing animals for enjoyment.


A Corner of a Foreign Field, Ramchandra Guha