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  • Category: Miscellanous

    Who are all the famous sports personalities Bengal has produced?

    Hi! Everybody,

    Well,I want to know about who are all the famous sports personalities Bengal has produced so far. Can anyone elucidate me with names and field of sports they represent.

    Thank you.
  • #577
    Hello Mr. Satishkumar!

    Your interest in Bengal is really great; this reminded me that we should have had an article on this topic in the Resources section. Well, I would soon be doing that, thanks for the question once again.

    Bengal has so far produced many jewels of in the sports paradigm. King Shashanka in the 7th century was an athlete himself and promoted athlectics. During the reign of the Buddhist Pala kings, Martial Arts developed in Bengal. The Buddhists were non violent and did not use arms so they had to protect themselves barehanded. It is believed that the origin of martial arts took place in the medieval Tibet and Bengal. Wrestling and athletics have been always encouraged in this part of the country. Swami Vivekananda was used to go to a wrestling club every morning and evening during his college days!

    The choice of sports changed drastically with the advent of the English. Since Bengal was their first stronghold, English culture spreaded here very soon with Football and Cricket.

    Nagendra Prasad Sarbadhikari (late 19th-early 20th century) was the pioneer of English sports in Bengal. He was an excellent footballer (centre forward) cum cricketer (opening batsman and bowler) and set up nearly a dozen clubs in Kolkata. In the 1910s, his Shovabazar Club won the Calcutta Club Championship by outplaying its English competitors! He was the first Indian player to wear a boot in the soccer field, and in the cricket ground, bowl overarm deliveries!

    Do you know about the famous Ray family [Upendrakishore Ray - children's writer cum children magazine 'Sandesh' editor and publisher; Sukumar Ray - children's writer, nonsense poet, Sandesh editor; Satyajit Ray - writer for children and adults alike, filmmaker, Sandesh editor]? Saaradaaranjan Ray, a brother of U. Ray who was the grandfather of the famous film director Satyajit Ray, was called the W. G. Grace of Bengal - for the similarity in long beard and playing technique. He was at the same time a professor of mathematics and a cricketer (batsman and fast bowler).

    Pankaj Ray was a legend of cricket too. He contributed 173 runs in a record opening partnership of 413 runs with V. Mankad (231) against New Zealand in 1955-56. And you know where? In Madras! He has also captained India. His nephew Ambar Ray was a good batsman too and was the best left handed (often had been compated to Garfield Sobers, too!) from Bengal before Ganguly.

    Sharadindu Banerjee, more familiar in the nickname 'Shoote', was an unlcuky fellow. He was a real good lower order batsman and fast bowler, but was not allowed to play in his England tours of 1936 and 1946 even a single test. In 1935 he played an unofficial test against Jack Ryder's Australia. In 1937, he played another against the English team of Lord Tennyson (yes, the poet!). In his only official test, he took 1/73 and 4/54 against West Indies. In his record last wicket partnership of 249 in 190 minutes with Chandu Borde against Surrey, he scored 121 and Borde scored 124. This is the only case ever in First Class cricket where both No. 10 and No. 11 batsmen have scored centuries.

    Chuni Goswami captained Bengal in cricket, but was more known as a skilled footballer. He captained India in the Asian Games victory in 1962 and won Silver in the Merdeka Cup and Asia cup as well.

    Shailen Manna was one of the best defenders Bengal and India had ever had. He played for India in 1948 London Olympics, captained India to victory in Asian Games 1951, and was a part of the best moment of Indian football when India finished fourth in the Melbourne Olympics in 1956.

    No introduction is perhaps necessary for Leander Paes, Sourav Ganguly and Dibyendu Barua; please Google for them if you want information, this thread looks quite long already!

    Kumaraditya Sarkar.

    Kumaraditya Sarkar

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