TIME TRAVEL, THE CRICKETING WAY!
Of all the things to do in Pune, there is one that will appeal to those who live, eat, drink and breathe cricket. There is no dearth of such people in India, as we all know. These individuals will be overwhelmed, and that is putting it mildly, with what the Blades of Glory Cricket Museum, situated in Pune, has to offer.
Do you love cricket? Are you game for time travel? Would you like to undertake a roller-coaster ride in which you will cover 400 years in two hours? If the answer to all three questions is ‘Yes,’ then the Blades of Glory Cricket Museum should definitely be your ultimate destination!
The largest cricket museum on the planet, a veritable shrine for cricket fans, is tucked into a corner of Sahakar Nagar, a residential area in the vicinity of Pune’s Parvati shrine. The museum is the brainchild of Rohan Pate. A former cricketer who represented Maharashtra at the under-19 level, Rohan inherited his love for the sport from his grandfather, who named him after Rohan Kanhai, his favourite cricketer. Years later, a gesture by Sachin Tendulkar changed Rohan’s life forever. The ‘God of Cricket’ presented one of his bats to Rohan. An ecstatic Rohan then told himself that this was merely the start. He took up the challenge of collecting cricket memorabilia from the biggest names in the game. His efforts paid off and he created a museum, which Tendulkar himself inaugurated in 2012.
When you walk into the Blades of Glory Cricket Museum after taking your footwear off, your attention is drawn to a frame right in front of the entrance, which showcases the evolution of everybody’s favourite cricketing accessory – the bat. It started off as a curved piece of wood, quite similar to a hockey stick, in the 1700s, and straightened out as the decades and centuries passed. The visual evidence is complemented by additional information that is imparted by the museum guide.
On the left of the entrance is a room that houses bats used and autographed by all the batters who have scored 10,000 runs in either Test cricket or One-Day Internationals. To emphasize the point that cricket is not restricted to the batters, the room also has exhibits used by Muttiah Muralitharan, off-spinner extraordinaire and the highest wicket-taker in Tests and ODIs, and the wicketkeeping gloves used by Mark Boucher, the South African cricketer, in his last Test.
You will then be guided into the main hall of the museum, where you will see exhibits dedicated to cricket’s premier quadrennial event, the thirteenth edition of which is currently being played in India. Pune is one of the host-cities, and this in turn gives cricket-lovers an opportunity to pull off a double whammy. Nothing better than combining a visit to the MCA Stadium at Gahunje, Pune, to watch the World Cup matches, and a trip to Sahakar Nagar, to the Blades of Glory Cricket Museum!
It is not often that you will come across bats signed by ALL the teams that have won the longer and shorter (T20) World Cups so far, from the West Indies in 1975 to England in 2019, under one roof! Well, you will get to see these bats and a lot more at Blades of Glory! A section of the main hall is appropriately dedicated to the Indian cricket teams that have played the World Cups, 1975 onwards. Alongside the signed bats of the Indian teams are images of the two Indian teams to have won the World Cup, in 1983 and 2011 respectively.
These exhibits will dazzle the visitor so much that he / she will find it difficult to believe that they constitute only the tip of the iceberg! The main hall is just the beginning. The museum also comprises chambers dedicated to two of the greatest batters of all time, Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli. The chambers are home to items from their personal collections, like the jersey that Tendulkar wore in the 2011 World Cup final and the bat with which Virat Kohli scored a record 973 runs in the 2016 season of the IPL.
Tendulkar and Kohli have for company, their illustrious seniors, contemporaries and juniors. The jerseys once worn by the likes of Vivian Richards and Malcolm Marshall will make older visitors remember the days when the West Indies were cricket’s undisputed superpower. The younger visitors will visualize speed-merchants like Shoaib Akhtar, Brett Lee and James Anderson running in to bowl in all their glory, when they see the boots used by these legends, displayed in the museum. The youngsters will also identify with the jerseys of Shubman Gill and Glenn Maxwell, two contemporary stalwarts.
No journey back in time will be complete without the ladies, of course. Blades of Glory also showcases women’s cricket in all its glory. On display are jerseys of giants like Jhulan Goswami, Jemimah Rodrigues, Poonam Yadav, Hayley Matthews and Smriti Mandhana.
We have seen in the movies that time travel tends to leave those who undertake it, exhausted and disoriented. However, you can rest assured that the Blades of Glory Cricket Museum is a glorious exception to that rule. Not only does it give you an opportunity to travel through 400 years in less than two hours, but it is also a real-life experience, which leaves you thirsting for more when it ends. You will exit the museum, convinced that your first visit will definitely not be your last.
See you then, at the Blades of Glory Cricket Museum!