In 1998, Inder and a few friends started the club started playing "pickup" style games on weekends with tennis balls on grass at Johnson Park in New Brunswik, NJ, situated in a scenic setting on the bank of the Raritan River. Membership grew rapidly over the first few months, partly due to the fact that drivers passing by on River Rd could see us play. Soon we started to get upto 20 players on a weekend.
Even this early on, a feature of these games was that they were as much smoking parties as they were cricket games. Since then, it has been an unofficial rule that everyone's cigarettes are team property. Though dropped catches are never truly forgotten or forgiven, Fielding lapses caused by a cigarette in one hand are likely to be tolerated.
Being the first player has grandfathered in Inder as the lifetime President, captain and member of playing XI of the team. This has led to rumors that MCC XI stands for MCC 'X' + 'I'nder. The only active members from this Tennis ball era are Inder and Murali(s?); there are a few sleepers though, like Rahul, Dinesh. For being one of the first and also because he comes from the same state and speaks the same language and belongs to the same caste as Inder, Murali enjoys privileges such as batting at #1 and shooting off his mouth as much as he pleases.
By the end of the end of the first season, we had graduated to cricket balls, still on grass. By 1999 we had bought a mat but still played on uneven grass. At the end of the season, we played some friendly matches on real wickets with real teams and had surprising success, winning more than half the games. We decided to join a league, and the rest, (not quite as they say) is history.