The Indian cricket team represents India across the three formats of the game and is managed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India which is known to be one of the richest cricket clubs in the world.
During the early 1700s the British started playing cricket in India and in 1721 the first match was played. In 1848 the first cricket Club in Mumbai was formed by the Parsi community which was called as the Oriental Cricket Club and this is the first cricket club formed in India.
In 1721 the first cricket match was played in India which was played by a group of sailors. However it was on June 25, 1932 that the first international match, a Test match was played by the Indian cricket team at Lord’s thereby making India cricket team as the sixth Test playing country. The captain of this Indian team was CK Nayadu.
First Test & Series Win
It took India 30 years to win their first Test. It was in 1952 the first Test triumph of India cricket team was against England at Madras. In the same year India won their first Test series and this was against Pakistan. The Indian cricket team continued to display improvement in their game during the early 1950s and in 1956 they had a series win against New Zealand.
That win over New Zealand was their first ever Test series win, with the hosts clinching the series by winning the fifth and the final Test of the series with an innings victory.
Vinoo Mankad’s fine all-round performances, Vijay Manjrekar’s crucial runs and Subhash Gupte’s 34-wicket haul was behind their success in that series. In fact Gupte was so brilliant that the next best haul in the series was a mere 12 wickets.
Emergence of the Quartet & Win in West Indies
In the 1970s the Indian spin quartet comprising of Srinivas Venkatraghavan, Bhagwat Chandrashekhar, E.A.S. Prasanna and Bishen Singh Bedi was very famous. In the same era Sunil Gavaskar and Gundappa Vishwanath emerged as one of the best Indian batsmen ever. During the series against the West Indies Gavaskar scored 774 runs and that was responsible for India’s first ever Test victory in the Caribbean.
That win came at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain where Sardesai’s 112 helped India take a lead of 138 runs over West Indies. In the second innings the hosts were bowled out 261 thanks to Srinivas Venkataraghvan’s five-wicket haul leaving Team India to score 124 for a win. India completed that target for the loss of three wickets. This was Gavaskar’s debut.
The 1983 World Cup Turnaround
Team India’s first big achievement came in ODI cricket came in 1983 when they lifted the World Cup for the first time. More importantly the tournament victory came against the run of play and when they were rank outsiders to win it.
After having bowed out in the first round at the 1975 and 1979 World Cups, India started off their campaign in 1983 well with a shock win over the West Indies. They were then reduced to 36/6 against Zimbabwe but a dazzling innings of 175* by Kapil Dev helped them through to a score 266 and an easy win in the end and another victory over Australia took them to the semi-finals.
Hosts England were brushed aside with consummate ease but when they took on West Indies on June 25, 1983, the odds were heavily stacked against. After all West Indies was a champion side, having won the title in 1975 and 1979 and easy favourites to win. And when India were bowled out for 183 batting first, the odds changed to 100/1 for their win.
In a stunning turn of events, India’s medium-pacers led by Kapil Dev helped them bowl West Indies out for 140 and clinch the title.
This win in the 1983 World Cup turned things around majorly for India which had been rather slow to get off the blocks in ODI cricket. It also helped bring the next World Cup to the subcontinent as India joined hands with Pakistan to host the tournament in 1987. In the meantime, India, under the leadership of Sunil Gavaskar then went on to lift the World Championship of Cricket in 1985.
The emergence of an aggressive batting line-up and all-rounders like the wristy Azharuddin, all rounder Ravi Shastri and Dilip Vengsarkar helped as they went on to win five matches in a row to win that title in Australia. Shastri won the Champion of Champions award for that tournament.
Arrival of Sachin Tendulkar
While they were knocked out in the semi-final in the 1987 World Cup, the decade also ended with a debut for Sachin Tendulkar in 1989. It was an event that would change the way cricket was perceived in the country and in the eyes of the world. Tendulkar has often been called the best in the world after Don Bradman and his brilliance on the field and longevity helped turn Indian cricket profile.
By 1990, Anil Kumble had joined the set-up as well and would go on to play for nearly a couple of decades as well and become one of the three all-time spinning greats of the world.
The decision to send Tendulkar in as an opener in an ODI at Hamilton in 1995 turned things around for him as a cricketer and for India as a batting-heavy unit. Although the reliance on Tendulkar grew, he took more advantage of the fielding restrictions than any previous Indian cricketer and gave India many a flying starts. It also helped him collect ODI centuries like no other.
Captaincy & Fixing Issues
Between 1996 and 2000, Indian captaincy changed hands multiple times. Mohammad Azharuddin was substituted by Tendulkar as the skipper but at the start of 1998 Tendulkar gave up the captaincy and Azharuddin was assigned the job again. As the onus of captaincy was removed Tendulkar became the world’s leading scorer in both One Day Internationals and Tests. Tendulkar took over the captaincy for the second time before the tour of Australia in 1999 but a series defeat at the hands of the Aussies followed by a 2-0 loss to South Africa at home meant that was the end of Tendulkar’s captaincy career in international cricket.
In the meantime, the ugly head of match-fixing also rose its head in cricket in the country and players and support staff were suspended or banned in the process. It culminated into one of the darkest phases in Indian cricket.
Captains Ganguly & Dravid Take the Team Forward
In 2000 John Wright was appointed as the first ever foreign coach for India. India defeated the Australian team in 2001 which included one of the greatest Test matches of all times.
It came at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata where India, down 0-1 in the series at home, and asked to follow on in the second of the three-match Test series batted the whole of the fourth day to turn things around. Australia were left to chase 384 for a win and crashed to 212 all out to hand India their greatest win ever. India went on to win the third Test in Chennai to win the series.
In the 2003-04 season India drew a Test series 1-1 with the world champions Australia. Further India won a One day International and Test series against Pakistan.
Wright was replaced by Greg Chappell as the coach while Rahul Dravid took over the captaincy following a tumultuous period of power struggle between Ganguly and Chappell. Ganguly was dropped from the team as well, much to the chagrin of some of the fans. Dravid became the full-fledged captain of the side and led them to a Test series win in England.
In what was India’s worst World Cup performance since the 1992 World Cup, India failed to reach the second round of the tournament in 2007. They lost to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and were knocked out of the tournament in the first round itself. A few months later, Dravid resigned as the captain of the side.
Under MS Dhoni, India’s new captain, the team went on to win the first Twenty20 World Cup hosted by South Africa. They defeated Pakistan in a thrilling final, winning by five runs in the final over. It marked another paradigm shift in the way cricket was perceived in the country with the explosion of social media also adding to the fanfare.
ICL & the Emergence of IPL
A rival cricket body by the name of Indian Cricket League was formed in 2007 by the Zee Group and they tried to sign up a plethora of cricketers from India and overseas to try and challenge the BCCI stronghold. The ICL was a T20 league, and the Indian cricket board, looking at the prospect of losing their hold, banned those cricketers associated with the league. In the meantime they also sprung into action by kick-starting their own cricket league, the Indian Premier League in 2008.
The Indian Premier League or the IPL as it’s called has grown on to become this behemoth of a cricket tournament that has survived the test of time and controversies. It’s one of the biggest sports leagues in the world and according to media experts, it’s in the top 25 sports leagues by revenue.
The 2011 World Cup Win
Under Dhoni’s leadership, India also went on to win the 2011 edition of the 50-over World Cup, repeating what they had done in 1983. On their way to the final, they edged out Australia in the quarter-finals, Pakistan in the semi-finals, before crushing Sri Lanka in a power-packed performance in the final at Wankhede in Mumbai. Dhoni hit the winning runs in that tournament by smashing a six off Nuwan Kulasekara to clinch the victory.
After Wright, Chappell’s stint wasn’t the most successful one, marred by controversies. However, he was followed by Gary Kirsten, who was hailed as one of the best to have coached India, also helping India to that 2011 World Cup victory. However, he e did not renew his contract because of family reasons and former England coach Duncan Fletcher took over the responsibility.
The Dhoni-Fletcher combination also saw India win the 2013 Champions Trophy in stunning circumstances. The final was reduced to 20-overs-a-side and chasing 130 for a win, England needed just 20 from the final 16 balls with six wickets standing at one stage. They collapsed to lose by five runs an give India the title.
2014 & 2016 T20 World Cup, 2015 World Cup Runs
Following the 2013 Champions Trophy win, India saw a period of what-ifs as far as their record in the white-ball cricket is concerned. They won all their matches in the group stage of the 2015 World Cup and then beat Bangladesh in a controversial quarterfinal to make it to the last-four stage. In the semi-final, however, hosts Australia pounded them to reach the final.
This had been preceded by heartbreak at the T20 World Cup when India looked the favourites to win the 2014 edition but fell short in the final. Sri Lanka avenged their defeat at the hands of India in the 2011 by winning the title in a low-scoring final. Then in the home World T20, India edged out Australia and Bangladesh and crushed Pakistan in the league stages of the 2016 edition but were swatted away by West Indies in a high-scoring semi-final.
Dhoni resigned from captaincy in Tests during the 2014-15 series in Australia before calling it quits in the shorter format as well, giving Virat Kohli the captaincy reins across all three formats. And Kohli, the captain, announced himself to the world with a comeback from behind 2-1 win over Sri Lanka in the first full Test series he captained his side.
Very soon, India notched up home Test wins against New Zealand (3-0), England (4-0) and Bangladesh and Afghanistan, while they won Tests in South Africa and England. A 4-1 defeat in England in 2018, however, proved to be a disappointing time in Kohli’s captaincy given the number of occasions they looked to be on the top during the series. However, they managed to keep the number one ranking in the Test match arena.
More disappointment was to follow when India looked like they were one of the favourites to win the 2019 World Cup but were stunned by New Zealand in the semi-finals.
Indian Cricket Team Records
Top Test Run-Scorers
- Sachin Tendulkar: 15921
- Rahul Dravid: 13288
- Sunil Gavaskar: 10122
- VVS Laxman: 8781
- Virender Sehwag: 8586
Top ODI Run-Getters
- Sachin Tendulkar: 18426
- Virat Kohli: 11520*
- Sourav Ganguly: 11363
- Rahul Dravid: 10889
- MS Dhoni: 10773*
Top Test Wicket-Takers
- Anil Kumble: 619
- Kapil Dev: 434
- Harbhajan Singh: 417
- R Ashwin: 350*
- Zaheer Khan: 311
Top ODI Wicket-Takers
- Anil Kumble: 337
- Javagal Srinath: 315
- Ajit Agarkar: 288
- Zaheer Khan: 282
- Harbhajan Singh: 269
- India Test Cricket team’s highest ever score was a 705/7 against Australia in Sydney, 2004.
- India One Day cricket team’s highest is 413/5 against Bermuda in the 2007 Cricket World Cup.
- 2 World Cup titles in 1983 and 2011.
- 1 Twenty20 World title in 2007.
- Joint-winners of 2002 Champions Trophy & Winners of 2013 Champions Trophy
- Winner of Hero Cup 1993
- Winner of World Championship of Cricket 1985
- Number One Ranked Test Team in August 2009, January 2016, August 2016, and October 2016