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Naoomal Jeoomal – One Of The First Test Openers Of India

On April 17, 1904, one of India’s openers from their first ever test match was born. Naoomal Jeoomal Makhija was a leading domestic player.

Last updated: 17.04.2019
Naoomal Jeoomal – One Of The First Test Openers Of India | Sports Social Blog

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On April 17, 1904, one of India’s openers from their first ever test match was born. Naoomal Jeoomal Makhija was a leading domestic player during the 1930s and qualified for India’s first test tour of England through some outstanding performances, especially in the trial matches.

He was an all-rounder with a slight frame. With a height of 5’9”, he was not intimidating but was a good solid batsman who at times could get out of his defensive mode to attack the bowlers. He was also a useful leg-spinner and good, safe fielder in the cover region.

Naoomal was originally from Karachi and played primarily for Sind and Hindus in the Bombay Pentangular, the then primary domestic tournament in India. He made his debut against a touring MCC side in the 1926-27 season and proved his mettle early by top scoring with 83 runs in his second first-class match against test quality bowlers from MCC including the great Maurice Tate.


He also toured Ceylon in 1930-31 as a part of a mixed team where he got chance to play alongside greats like Jack Hobbs and Herbert Sutcliffe. He did no harm to his reputation and scored 91 in one of the matches.

India was supposed to tour England in 1932 which would also include one test match along with a host of first-class matches. Two trial matches were organized to identify the right players. Naoomal was in the reckoning as he played both the matches. He performed brightly with both bat and ball to secure his spot in the ship to England. In the first match, he scored a hundred and a half-century and took three wickets. In the second match, he went on for a five-wicket haul along with strong contribution with the bat.

In the 1932 tour, he was in good form. He started the tour by top-scoring against Sussex. He had a successful tour with both bat and ball and finished with two hundred and one five-wicket haul in first-class matches. He was part of the playing eleven in India’s first test on 25th June 1932 at Lords. And once England were bowled out for 259 Naoomal strode out with the wicketkeeper Janardan Navle to open the innings. Naoomal did not face the first ball for India in test cricket but delivered solid knocks in both innings. His scores of 33 and 25 raised hopes and ensured that India did not surrender meekly in their first test.

Naoomal was not part of the first test match on Indian soil at Bombay Gymkhana but went back to the team in the second test at Eden Gardens. His aggressive 43 runs in the second innings ensured that India put enough score on the board and bat long enough. England could not chase the required run in the short period in the 4th innings and the test match was drawn. His international career got over in the next test as he got injured in the first innings while trying to hook a ball and did not bat in the second innings.

He continued to play in domestic cricket till he is 40 and played in the early years of Ranji Trophy with distinction.

Cricbuzz Profile: Naoomal Jeoomal

Cricinfo Profile: Naoomal Jeoomal

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