Wisdom from the Wickets: Cricket Virtues and Colonial Governance in Lord Harris’ Bombay

Alec S. Hurley, Conor Heffernan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sporting diplomacy has long been a topic of considerable interest to sport historians. This is especially true in discussions of British colonialism in India. Building on such work, this article provides an in-depth examination of George Robert Canning Harris, the Fourth Baron Harris, who was Governor of the Presidency of Bombay from 1890 to 1895. Absent from the historical examination of cricket in the subcontinent is the extent to which the domestic press used the sport to understand the habits of local colonial leaders. Lord Harris’ use of cricket as a personal governing tool will be addressed, but of greater importance will be the framing of his actions vis-à-vis cricket parlance by the local newspapers. This paper seeks to understand how cricket was used as the central framework through which both Lord Harris executed his governorship and as a means for the local press to understand the virtues of their inexperienced leader. In doing so, this work draws from several local and national Indian newspapers which comprised the Anglo-Indian press during Lord Harris’ term. This article presents neither a glorification nor a critique of Lord Harris’ stewardship of Bombay, but rather a critical analysis of how cricket was embraced as a framework through which colonial policies and native reactions were understood.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-288
Number of pages14
JournalThe International Journal of the History of Sport
Issue number4
Early online date21 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished online - 21 Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Support for the research was generously allocated through the Roberta Park Travel Grant by the North American Society for Sport History.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Cricket
  • British Empire
  • imperial sport
  • colonial governance
  • India


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