During that time, the leading English cricketer John Glennie would arrive at that the Poona club an hour before and command Baloo to bowl to him. Greig was master of the square-cut, one the great white batsman in India. There is an undocumented version, that Greig paid Baloo 8 annas (twice his monthly salary)for every time he got him out. The statistics of matches played at that time are lost to history, but one may safely assume that Palwankar took plenty of wickets. He was regarded as the bulwark of the PJ Hindu Gymkhana. Dr. M.E.Pavri of the Baronet CC described him as ‘one of the best native bowlers. A left-handed medium pace bowler with an
easy action. It has both breaks and a curling of the air and has a lot of spin on the ball. The most deadly bowler on a sticky wicket. It may be called “Rhodes ” of India. A sound bat and an active field. He enjoyed success against all top county sides. He claimed 7 for 83 against Lancashire,4 for 127 against Yorkshire,4 for 74 against Warwickshire, and $ for 100 against Surrey. Baloo’s outstanding bowling figure of 5 for 92 and 6 for 93 was center stage of India’s victory against Leicestershire.

At that time caste system ruled over Indian society; there is one such incident that Oriental Club honored all members of the Indian team except Baloo and his younger brother Shivram. Nevertheless, there was a function organized by the Depressed Classes of Bombay to felicitate Baloo. The community’s pride was justified as his performances exceeded that of Brahmins, Muslims, Princes, and Parsis. The welcome address, for Baloo, was written and presented by a promising student (future Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee) Bhimrao Ambedkar. The incident was also described by the doyenne of historians of Untouchability, Eleanor Zelliot, as the first public appearance of Ambedkar. By his deeds, Baloo had become a hero and inspiration to countless Untouchables, and young Ambedkar was one of them.

By Staff

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