Published: 15th March 2022
What happened on March 15: Meet the first and last President of USSR plus, test cricket takes off
When Gorbachev became the first and only President of the USSR and the thrill of the first-ever cricket test match that was played
At a time when Russia is waging a war on a country that was once a part of its own territories, one can surely learn a lot about history and how its course continues to shape modern-day geopolitical affairs. The Ukraine-Russia relations go back to at least the days of the Soviet Union, towards the end of the 20th century. It was in fact on this day in 1990 that Mikhail Gorbachev was elected as the first and only President of the Soviet Union. He was also the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union till August 1991. The presidency was an executive post in USSR and was based on a mixture of US and French presidencies. Before the creation of the post of president, the de jure head of state of the Soviet Union was the chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, who was often called the "president" by non-Soviet sources.
Gorbachev finally resigned as General Secretary after the 1991 coup d'état attempt which ultimately led to the dissolution and disintegration of the USSR. Did you know that he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990 "for the leading role he played in the radical changes in East-West relations"? What do you think he'd have to say about today's state of affairs?
Tale of the first test
It was also on March 15 that the first-ever official cricket test match was played back in 1877. It was played between Australia and England. The Brits were captained by James Lillywhite, Dave Gregory skippered the Australian side and the match itself was played in the Land Down Under. Starting on that day, the two teams played two test matches, both of them at the famous Melbourne Cricket Ground and shared a win apiece, with Australia winning the first game.
Englishman Alfred Shaw became the first bowler to bowl a ball in international test match cricket and Aussie batter Charles Bannerman faced that ball and also became the first-ever run-scorer in official test match cricket. Bannerman also became the first-ever century-scorer while Allen Hill holds the distinction of claiming the first wicket as well as taking the first-ever catch. Although both test matches were played between perennial rivals, Australia and England, these matches are not considered part of the Ashes series, which began only in 1882.