THE spirit and legacy of Lall Singh Gill, arguably then Malaya’s foremost cricketer, was remembered once again during the annual Lall Singh Trophy match.
Some two dozen Sikh cricketers from as young as 15 up to over 60 years old from around the peninsula, gathered at Kelab Aman in Kuala Lumpur in honour of the influential cricketer who died in 1985.
The players were divided into two teams, North Sikhs and South Sikhs as customary since the inception of the trophy in 1981.
South Sikhs won the toss and elected to have the North Sikhs bat first. Both teams were captained by former national cricketers Avtar Singh and Mervinder Singh.
Playing 35 overs, the North Sikhs managed a final total of 156 runs, but the South Sikhs were able to win it by eight wickets.
The annual match which was first held in 1981 was organised by the Johor Sikh Sports Club, Kelab Aman and the Malaysian Sikh Cricketers at Kelab Aman in Kuala Lumpur.
Current national cricketing brothers Virandeep Singh and Pavandeep Singh as well as national Under-19 Shaunvinder Singh were among those who played the match.
Virandeep was awarded the Man of the Match; Shaunvinder, the Best Batsman; and Amardeep Singh as the Best Bowler during the award ceremony which was attended by Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo, Johor Cricket Association president Datuk Dr Harjit Singh and Kelab Aman vice-president Dr Balbir Singh Gill.
Dr Harjit, who was also the organising chairman, knew the Lall personally and attributed the setting up of the Kelab Aman cricket ground to him.
“He was also a man of many firsts: he was the first to play sports internationally and scored the first century. He played a big part not just in the sports community, but also in the Sikh community,” he said.
Northern skipper Avtar, a national cricketer from 1990 to 1998, remembered meeting with Lall as a young player and saw him as a role model, on and off the field.
“Lall was a not just a good cricketer, he was also a good sportsman with a high level of discipline and always very strict about the manner in which we played the game on the field. At the same time, he was also very down to earth.”
Lall, who was born in Rawang, was hailed as a natural all-rounder by his peers and regarded a legend by those who played the game after him; he remains the only Malayan who holds the honour of having played a test cricket.
Already a rising star by the time he completed his senior Senior Cambridge examinations and picked to represent Malaya in cricket, it wasn’t before long and only at the age of 22, Lall was called up to play for the Indian Test Team for their maiden tour of England in 1932.
Playing at the spiritual home of cricket, Lord’s Cricket Ground in London with King George V in attendance, and being a long way from home on top of the fact that he was playing his first Test match, Lall was able to make his mark in the game.
In the first inning, Lall ran out the legendary Frank Woolley and in the second inning on day three, contributed with his teammate Amar Singh, a counterattack of 74 run in less than 45 minutes.
Even though the atrocities of World War II had taken its toll on Lall and his family, he never strayed far from cricket, finding
work as a groundsman at Selangor Club, and later, Kilat Club and was involved with the development of the sport among the grassroots.