LAHORE,Aug 26 (APP)-Country’s first ever cricket museum has been setup at historic Bagh-e-Jinnah ground which depicts cricket culture before partition and also modern cricket. Known as “ Lahore Gymkhana Cricket Museum “ it is open to public and a number of dignitaries and foreign guests have visited it,said Honourary Curator of the museum,Najam Latif while talking to APP on Thursday. The work on this facility at centuries old ground where six unofficial tests were played,three before partition and three after existence of Pakistan,was started in 2003 and due to presence of valuable cricket monuments belonging to respected former masters of the game made it an exclusive cricket museum which has a lot to offer for the lovers of the game.
Bagh-e-Jinnah ground established in 1880 is the second oldest cricket arena in sub continent after Eden Garden at Kolkata and presence of a modern cricket museum inside its pavilion gives a pleasant surprise to its visitors as it highlights the rich culture of cricket through the precious cricket gears and belonging of various former captains and test cricketers.
“We started establishing a museum as there was no such facility in the country where people could know the journey of cricket before and after partition and we are quite contended that we have been able to have a place under one roof where cricket history is available”, said Najam whose day and night efforts and personal hard work helped in setting up this museum.
On display are the 1932 Indian test cap of former great Jahangir Khan and his 1933 Trinty college Cambridge blazer,test cap of former captain Salim Malik and his blazer,autographed cricket balls by Sir Donlad Bradman, Fazal Mahmood, A.H.Kardar,Imtiaz Ahmed and Abdul Qadir,autographed cricket bats by the past and present cricket heros and many more cricket related souvenirs including pitch soil of various test playing grounds.
“Photographs of former greats and teams from 1930 to the present adorn the walls of the museum”,he said.
Recalling the past, Najam said the first ever office of the Pakistan Cricket Board formally known as BCCP was also established at the same place of museum where it worked for almost three years before moving to Karachi.
“This place has its own value in terms of cricket and we are adding cricket related souvenirs after receiving them from former and present test cricketers and their families”,said the curator.
Najam Latif said cover pages of centuries old historic sports magazines displaying the pictures of former Pak captains and notable performers,score books of early 1960’s,flags of all cricket playing countries,speak volume of our cricket heritage and achievements of Pakistani cricketers at world level.
“Even President of Marylebone Cricket club (MCC) Robin Marlar visited it in 2005 and praised the way cricket heritage was preserved”,said Najam,adding,”One of the main attraction of 100 year wooden made “slip fielding cradle” in iron structure on which players used to sharpen their skills for catches and fielding in slip area” – APP