VCA Civil Line Stadium
1856!! Yes, the year first ever reported Cricket Matches in Central Provinces (as was then known) was played between two British Army Regiments stationed at "Camp T" (now known as "Kamptee").
In 1906 some British Officers in Nagpur got together and formed the "OFFICERS CRICKET CLUB". The then British Government allotted the Club a piece of 4.5 acres of open Ground with All Saints Cathedral Church on its North Side and the Methodists Church on its South Side on a long term lease basis. Cricket practice and friendly Matches soon became a regular feature on this Ground. Within the next few years Cricket was introduced in schools and colleges at Nagpur, Jabalpur, Akola, Amravati and Raipur. Some private Clubs also came into existence.
In 1918 the Officers Cricket Club formed a Quadrangular Cricket Tournament Committee and from 1919 onwards Hindus, Muslims, Parsis & Christians Cricket Teams participated regularly in this tournament.
In 1923 a small tin shed with two rooms for Players were constructed and for years were referred to as "Players Pavilion". The Ground was popularly known as Officers Ground. A wired protection was erected all around the Ground to protect it from the stray cattle and the passersby.
On 15th August 1934, the Cricket Club Members drafted a constitution and called a meeting of its members, cricket players & clubs and unanimously decided to form the "C.P. & BERAR CRICKET ASSOCIATION" thus on 15th August 1934 the C.P. & Berar Cricket Association came into existence with Justice H.F.Pollock as its President and Mr. Brown as its founder Secretary. In 1947 India became independent. The name of the Association was changed to "MADHYA PRADESH CRICKET ASSOCIATION".
In 1947 through a very generous donation of Rs.30,000/- from Mr.E.J.Billimoria, the Association decided to build a pavilion and name it as "Limji-Phiroz Billimoria Pavilion" and in 1951 the Ground floor of the Billimoria Pavilion was constructed. This was the first permanent concrete structure on our Ground. The same year the Executive Committee decided to lay Turf Wickets on our Ground. The Nagpur weather and the very high temperature experienced during the three months of summer was the greatest stumbling block in our plan. When asked for advice even the greatest Cricketer we have produced - Late Colonel C.K.Naidu ridiculed the idea and said "that only fools can think of having a turf wicked in a place like Nagpur, when a much cooler place like Indore could not think about the Turf wicket". But our Executive Committee firmly decided to go ahead with its plans. Prof. Dadachanji & Marotrao Dhanwate were entrusted with the work, which they completed successfully. Thus Nagpur became the first City with Turf Wicket in the whole of Central India and the Central Zone.
In 1954 the old tin shed cum pavilion on the Western side was demolished and eight rooms were constructed on the ground floor. After the states reorganization in the year 1956, the Association was again renamed as "Vidarbha Cricket Association". In 1964 the Ground floor of the C.M.Pavilion was constructed.
The line of stalwarts who have held office as the Presidents of our esteemed Association starts with Justice H.F.Pollock followed by such distinguished personalities as Rao Bahadur, S.N.Godbole, I.S.Nanjiani, Jamnadas Daga, N.K.P.Salve, D.S.Panditji, V.R.Manohar, P.R.Mundle, Prakash Dixit and Shashank Manohar.
The founder Secretary was Mr. Brown and the personalities following in his footsteps were S.K.Wankhede, Vishvanath Rao, M.W. Mandpe, Suresh Sahu, T.R.Goenka, D.S.Godbole, G.K.Kelkar, R.V.Dhanwate, Ashok Bhagwat, Sanjay Deshpande, Wijay Chitaley & others.
In 1972 additional land was allotted on lease and the Ground expanded on the East Side touching the Bishop Cotton School Ground. In 1973 the Executive Committee decided to level our Cricket Ground. The Ground had a slope from North to South of near about 8.6 feet. With the help of three of our former Cricketers A.K.Shenolikar, the then Executive Engineer, Irrigation Department, Bimal Kumar Mukarjee, the then Executive Engineer, PWD and V.P.Pandit, the then Executive Engineer, Mechanical Division, we could carry out this stupendous task and turn our Ground into one of the Best Grounds in the Country. The Civil Lines ground has hosted many memorable international test matches and one days and continues to host numerous BCCI tournaments.
In the year 1974 the Executive Committee decided to have a complete master plan of the Stadium. As the necessary required funds were not available, work could not proceed but the line of action was approved. Soon the ground floor of the East and West Stands were constructed. Thus an accommodation for about 13 to 14 thousand spectators was created for the Cricket Matches. In subsequent years the ground stands of S.S.Pavilion, Bachat Pavilion, North Screen and South Screen were constructed.
Before the Reliance Cup of 1987, the Commentators Box and the Press Box were constructed. And thus the first phase of the Stadium construction was completed. In the year 1993 under the President-ship and guidance of P.R.Mundle, the Executive Committee decided to construct the complete Stadium and constructed the first and second floors of the Stadium. In 1995 the India Vs West Indies Test Match was played at our VCA Civil Lines Stadium. Subsequently we remodeled and refurnished our Association's Office Blocks.
Till now the Civil lines Stadium has hosted:
- 9 Test Matches
- 14 ODI