M. J. Gopalan

M. J. Gopalan

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Category: Sports & Games

M. J. Gopalan Profile

  • Name:
  • M. J. Gopalan
  • Other Name:
  • Morappakam Josyam Gopalan
  • Born:
  • June 6, 1909
  • Died:
  • December 21, 2003

M. J. Gopalan Biography

M. J. Gopalan was an Indian sportsman from Tamil Nadu, who played cricket and hockey. He was one of the most respected elder statesmen of Tamil Nadu cricket. He also showed his talents as a selector and administrator of cricket. Even after retirement he used to watch matches regularly at stadiums and appreciating the finer points of the game. When his health declined with his 90s, he tuned to live matches on television and never missed any matches. That’s the dedication of Gopalan to the game of cricket. He was the lone survivor from the Madras team that played the first Ranji Trophy match till 2003 when death took him away on December 2003. He was 94.


He belonged to a family of modest means and it was not an easy journey for him to achieve success in both games – cricket and hockey. He was born on 6 June 1909, Morappakam village, Tamil Nadu. His native place belongs to Chingleput district. At a young age his family shifted to Triplicane in Chennai. His cricketing talent was spotted by C. P. Johnstone, a patron of cricket in Chennai. Johnstone gave him a job in the Burmah Shell and very soon Gopalan became a member of Triplicane Cricket Club through which he earned fame as a cricketer.


He played 78 first class matches and served as an all-rounder for his team. He accumulated around 3000 runs and 194 wickets. He scored one century in his FC cricket career. He also played one test match against England in 1934. He is remembered to be one of the players from Madras team who played the inaugural match of Ranji Trophy against Karnataka. He delivered the first ball of the tournament – which itself is a historic beginning. He was also associated with hockey during this period and has toured New Zealand as a member of Indian team. But when he was left to make choices between the both, he chose cricket over hockey and missed the Berlin Olympics which bagged an Olympics gold medal.

Updated: April 09, 2016

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