Cricket history of Vidarbha dates as far back to the year 1856 when the first ever reported Cricket Match was played in Kamptee between the Two British Army Regiments stationed there.
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.Nayudu ridiculed the idea and said “that only fools can think of having a turf wicket 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 foot steps 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.
As the city expanded and the areas surrounding our stadium witnessed construction activities and as international matches were held regularly at the Civil lines stadium, parking of vehicles was a big issue. Also, there was felt an imminent need for a larger stadium having facilities of international standards. Thus in 2004 Mr.Shashank Manohar, the then President of our Association, taking a very bold & visionary approach decided to construct an international level stadium at Jamtha, 16 kms from our present Civil Lines stadium. Once again this proposal was met with skeptism, yet Mr.Manohar’s decisiveness saw through the construction of the Jamtha stadium, now considered as one of the best international cricket venue and stadium. In 2008, Jamtha stadium hosted its first international Test Match between India and Australia.
To produce good cricketers the need for good infrastructure was also felt. Here again, Mr. Shashank Manohar decided to construct a Residential Cricket Academy, being the first of its kind in India. In its present form this academy has been instrumental in providing to us an assembly line of cricketers who have brought laurels to our Association.
We are the Ranji Trophy & Irani Cup Champions in the year 2017-18 & 2018-19. Our Under-19 team were the champions of the Multiday Cooch Behar Trophy 2017-18. Our VCA U-16 Team won the first ever BCCI tournament for the Association viz.the The U-16 Vijay Merchant Trophy in the year 2016-17.
On the Cricket side our Association has produced number of outstanding Cricketers who have made a mark in our Cricket history. To name the few are the illustratious Colonel C.K.Naidu, J.D.Irani, M.V.Wagh, Kamraj Kesari, W.D.&N.D.Sane, Challa Narsimhan and ChaduT.Sarvate, S.A.Rahim, Vijay Pimprikar, Arun Ogiral, Vijay Telang, Anil Deshpande, Imran Ali, Murthyrajan, Preetam Gandhe, and Prashant Vaidya among many others.
Some outstanding International and National players who have played on our Stadium are Sirs Everton Weekes, Frank Worrel, Clyde Walcot, Lala Amarnath, Subhash Gupte, Polly Umrigar, Nawab Pataudi, Chandu Borde, Saleem Durani, Mohd.Azaruddin, Kapil Dev, Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Javed Miadad, Sachin Tendulkar, Vishvanath, B.S.Bedi, Prasanna, Venkat Raghavan, Dilip Vengsarkar, Vijay Manjrekar, Vinoo Mankad, Ranatunga, Jaisurya, Clive Loyed, Vivian Richards, Kalicharan, Lesely Hall, Gilchrist, Roberts, Ian Botham, Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shashtri, Tom Graveny, Rajsingh Dungarpur, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly.