The inaugural World Cup – sponsored by Prudential – was held in England in 1975 and was contested by eight participating countries. East Africa – along with Sri Lanka – had been invited to join the six member countries of the ICC. Consisting of players from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia, they found themselves drawn in a group alongside England, India and New Zealand. Prior to the tournament East Africa played warm-up matches against amongst others, the National Cricket Association and Somerset – where they lost by 168 runs – with their final two warm-up games being against a Welsh Cricket Association XI at St. Helen’s in Swansea on June 4th and then Glamorgan, at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff, on June 5th. Two days later they would face New Zealand in their first Group game at Edgbaston on June 7th.
When the East African squad was announced, three players plying their trade in the United Kingdom were disappointed and baffled why they were not included. Those being Basharat Hassan of Nottinghamshire, Dudley-Owen Thomas of Surrey and Glamorgan’s John Solanky. Born in Tanzania, all-rounder Solanky had in fact made his first-class debut for East Africa against the MCC in 1963/64 before emigrating to the UK. The selectors seemed insistent on picking a squad that was currently living and playing in East Africa.
Wales versus East Africa – St. Helen’s Swansea 4th June 1975
The tourists decided that their penultimate warm-up match against Wales would not be a limited overs contest, preferring instead to give their batsman a chance of much needed practice time in the middle. This plan soon back fired as they loss the toss at St. Helen’s, with the hosts deciding to bat first. Wales were led by ex-Glamorgan player, Jim Pressdee, who had left the county ten years previously. Wickets fell at regular intervals after Wood had contributed 35 and opener Alan Geoghegan for 32 with future Glamorgan batsman, Peter Crowther, run out for four. When Ricky Needham was bowled by slow left-arm spinner, Parbhu Nana, Wales found themselves on 110 for six. Needham would play one first-class match for Glamorgan in July 1975, against Cambridge University at St. Helen’s. The fall of Needham brought Albert Wright to the crease to join Pressdee.
After a lunch-break which had lasted nearly two hours, the afternoon session became tough going for those in attendance. However, after tea, both Pressdee and Wright began shifting gear. Pressdee was to finish on 52 not out – an innings that included 10 fours – and Wright on 24 as Wales declared the innings closed on 171 for six. Nana’s 19 overs before tea had cost just 22 runs, but after the interval finished with figures of one for 45 from 25 overs.
East Africa had been set a target in just under two hours and at stumps had reached 81 for five from 34 overs. The first four wickets had fallen for sixteen runs in which ex-Glamorgan and England left-arm quick, Jeff Jones, removed both opener Younus Badat and number three, Praful Mehta cheaply. Jones hostile out-swingers had seen the batsman groping with uncertainty.
It needed a partnership between the East Africans most exciting batsman, Jawahir Shah, and his captain, Harilal Shah, to double the score after the disastrous start. Pressdee brought Jones back on for a second spell but he could not get another breakthrough and when time was called, Jawahir was unbeaten on 30 whilst his partner, Ramesh Sethi – who had battled staunchly – finished on 20 not out. The East Africans finished 90 runs behind with five wickets remaining.
Glamorgan versus East Africa – Sophia Gardens, Cardiff 5th June 1975
It was a different East Africa that turned up the day after to play Glamorgan in a sixty over match at Sophia Gardens, under Prudential Cup rules. Glamorgan won the toss and decided to bat and soon found themselves in trouble with Alan Jones, Len Hill and Geoff Ellis all back in the pavilion and the score only on 23 for three, a wicket each being secured by pacemen Frasat Ali and Don Pringle – father of Derek – as well as one for the off-break bowler, Ramesh Sethi. Opener Tyrone Powell and number five, Mike Llewellyn, then began re-building the innings before Llewellyn was needlessly run out for 21, with the score on 53. Llewellyn had played a shot down to deep mid-wicket and set off for an easy single only to find that Powell had remained in his crease. With the wicket broken at the other end confusion arose – with both batsmen at the same end – to who was out. Powell decided to head for the Pavilion but he was quickly called back to then see Llewellyn trudge off instead.
With the score on 79, Powell was dismissed by Sethi for 20. Slow left-armer Parbhu Nana bowled the Tanzanian born John Solanky for four with Glamorgan – three runs later – going in at lunch on 99 for six from 39 overs. After the interval Arthur Francis struck 37 – which included five fours – but fell with the score on 108 as did Eifion Jones for four, both victims of Sethi, the spinner finishing with four for 19. It needed a lively ninth-wicket partnership of thirty-two between Malcolm Nash and Tony Cordle to give the Glamorgan total of 153 – from 56.4 overs – some respectability.
In reply East Africa fared little better than the hosts as Malcolm Nash picked up two wickets with successive deliveries in his first over, removing both Samawiri Walusimbi and Mehmood Quaraishy. With the score on 15 for three it needed a vital patient partnership between Frasat Ali and Jawahir Shah who batted until tea. Eventually in the 33rd over, all-rounder Solanky removed Frasat Ali for 30 with the tourists having now progressed to 71 for four. The pair put on 56 in a stubborn fourth-wicket stand. Jawahir continued soundly – despite frequent bowling changes – soon to bring up his well-deserved half-century.
With 56 runs still required from fifteen overs, Harilal Shah went about getting them with some attractive lofted drives which included two massive sixes off Nash and Cordle. The Kenyan put on a fifth-wicket stand of 70 in as many minutes with Jawahir. Harilal was finally dismissed for 41 – bowled by Cordle – an innings that included two sixes and three fours. Jawahir, meanwhile, stayed almost to the end for his 60 in just over three hours but was caught behind by Eifion Jones off Cordle, as the East Africans reached their target two runs later, seven wickets down and with eleven balls still remaining. Cordle finishing with three for 34.
This would be East Africa’s only victory of their World Cup tour. Two days later they would be soundly defeated by New Zealand by 181 runs soon followed by defeats to India – by 10 wickets – and England, by 196 runs.
Written by Dave Battersby (Museum Volunteer)