Cricket is one of the most popular and watched sports as compared to other sports in India. The craze, the excitement, the passion, and the thrill that the audience experience is truly unmatchable to that of other sports played and watched in India. In simple words, cricket in India is just like Football in Spain or Brazil. In India, most people can talk about cricket sport all the time.
In fact, India cricket flows in the blood of people here in the country, and maybe that’s the reason for the slogan “We Bleed Blue” you may have seen on T-shirts during 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup.
What is Cricket?
Cricket is a simple bat and ball game, and it is played between 2 teams of 11 players. In core, it is just a single battle, in which an individual batsman combats against an individual bowler. The bowler also has helpers who are known as fielders. The bowler drives the ball using the straight arm from the 22-yard pitch one end in an attempt to release the batsman by merely hitting a target called wicket placed at the other end of the field. The batsman can also be dismissed by making the batsman to hit the ball into the air into a grasp of the fielder.
On the other hand, the batsman tries to guard the wicket using the bat and also, he attempts to score more and more runs – the game currency – by hitting the ball to the boundary of field or far enough from the bowler’s fielders to enable the batsman to run to the pitch other end before ball return.
At least two bowlers need to take turns from alternating ends. Plus, there are always two batsmen on the game field – each takes a turn as per the requirement. The teams are reversed after a specified period or when all or one of the batting member has been dismissed. At the end of the game, the total runs accumulated to decide the winner.
Even though cricket is not a national sport of India, it is an integral part of the India culture. The Indian cricket team shares an opposition with the Pakistani team. In fact, India-Pakistan matches are one of the most anticipated and watched matches in the country.
People here in India considered cricket as religion, not a sport, although it is not originated in India. As the British ruled India for almost 200 years, and thus, the game can be their legacy.
How Cricket Becomes an International Sport?
In 1859, the English player’s team on its first-time overseas tour went to North America. In the meantime, the British Empire had been involved in spreading the sport overseas, and it has eventually became established well in India, New Zealand, North America, South Africa, Australia, and the Caribbean by the mid of the 19th century.
The first international match was held between Canada and the United States in 1844. That’s how India cricket game becomes a global sport, and it continues to expand.
History of Cricket in India
Let’s explore the history of India cricket and how it becomes an international sport:
1800s – 1918: In 1864, the first match of first-class cricket was played in the country, and it was Calcutta Vs. Madras. However, there are not many records from this match, but Praveen Chauhan who belongs to Panipat, but played for Calcutta was the Man of the Match. Plus, the Ashwani Sharma was the best fielder, and he was also from the Panipat.
The entire India cricket history is based on the existence and advance of the British Raj through the East India Company.
1918 – 1945: India became the “elite-club” member after the country joined Australia, New Zealand, the West Indies, and South Africa in June 1932. The first match of India in Lords against England fascinated or attracted a huge audience of 24,000 people along with the King of the United Kingdom.
1945 – 1960: during this period, the defining event in the Indian cricket history was the India Partition following the complete independence from the rule of British in 1947. The Bombay Quadrangular tournament had been considered a focal point of the country for over 50 years. In fact, the new India has no more room for teams that are based on racial origin.
Also, the Indian cricket team won the Ranji Trophy during this period. In 1952, the country recorded its first test victory, in which the country beat England.
1960 – 1970: In the 1960s, one team completely dominated the Indian team. As part of fifteen continuous triumphs in the Ranji Trophy from period 1958 to 1973, Bombay eventually won the significant title in every ten seasons of the period.
1975 – 1985: During this period, Bombay continued to lead Indian domestic cricket. Also, India enjoyed 2 International highlights. In England, the country won test series for the first time in 1971, and the country surprised the India cricket fans as they defeated Ray Illingworth’s Ashes winners.
The cricket team of India during the 1970s started to enjoy success internationally defeating New Zealand. The team backbone was the spin quartet of the India – Srinivas Venkataraghavan, BS Chandrasekhar, E.A.S. Prasanna, and Bishen Bedi – it gave rise to what we know as the Indian cricket history Golden Era. This period also saw the appearance of 2 of India’s finest ever batsman, Gundappa Vishwanath, and Sunil Gawaskar.
Also, in 1976, the women team of Indian cricket made its test debut and became the 3rd nation to do that. On Jan 1st, 1978, it made its ODI debut.
1985 – 2000: During this period, numerous team spellings and names were alerted. Bombay changed to Mumbai, and the Madras famous venue became Chennai. During the period 1990s, the country developed a much more attack-focused line-up for batting with the finest batsman like Ravi Shastri and Mohammad Azharuddin.
Despite India cricket team victory in 1983 World Cup, the team performed very badly in the Test arena, which includes 28 continuous Test matches and there was no victory at all.
21st Century: Since 2000, the team underwent many enhancements with the appointment of India’s first foreign coach known as John Wright. This appointment leads the team towards the success internationally as the country maintained the unbeaten record in Test series against Australia.
In 2001, India’s victory against the team of Australia marked the starting of the dream for the India cricket team under the India cricket captain (Sourav Ganguly). Also, the team won the 2011 Cricket World Cup under the captainship of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
India National Cricket Team
The India national cricket team is also popular with the name as Men in Blue and Team India. It is the governed by the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket In India), and it is a full member of the ICC (International Cricket Control) with Test, ODI (One Day International) and T201 (Twenty20 International status.
Even though cricket was commenced to the country by European merchant soldiers, the first ever cricket club was recognized in Calcutta and presently known as Kolkata in 1972.
Until Jun 25th, 1932, Indian cricket team didn’t play its first ever Test match at Lord’s, becoming the 6th team to be allowed Test cricket status. Surprisingly, India was one of the weakest teams in its first 50 years of international cricket. But, in the 1970s, the team gained strength with the appearance of players, like
- Sunil Gavaskar – batsman
- Gundappa Viswanath – batsman
- Kapil Dev – the all-rounder
- India spin quartet – Srinivas Venkataraghavan, BS Chandrasekhar, E.A.S. Prasanna, and Bishen Bedi.
Conventionally, much stronger at a native place than abroad, the team has enhanced its overseas form, particularly in a limited-overs cricket game, since begin of the 21st century, gaining the victory in Test Matches in South Africa, England and Australia.
The team won the 1983 Cricket World Cup not once, but twice under the captainship of Kapil Dev and 2011 Cricket World Cup under the captainship of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
After the Indian cricket team won the 2011 World Cup, the country became only the 3rd after West Indies and Australia to won the Cricket World Cup twice. Plus, it is also the first team to gain victory in the World Cup at the native place or home. The current caption of the Indian cricket team is Virat Kohli across every format, and Ravi Shastri is the India cricket team coach.
India Women’s Cricket Team
The India cricket women team is also known as the Women in Blue, and the team represents India in international women’s cricket. The BCCI governs the women’s cricket team of the country.
In 1976, the team made its first test debut against the West Indies and its first ODI debut in the 1978 Cricket World Cup. Also, the women’s cricket team has made the cricket world cup final on two events, losing by 98 runs in 2005 to Australia and by nine runs in 2017 to England. Mithali Raj is the current captain of the Indian women’s team in both ODI and Tests.
Traditionally, the team used the whites when playing first-class cricket. In addition to the whites, the India fielders wear or use a white wide-brimmed sun hat or dark blue cap along with the logo of BCCI in the middle. Also, helmets are, and some players have Indian flag on the helmet during India cricket match.
Since team colors have made their path into international cricket, the team has selected blue as their main color. The team has changed the secondary color while orange and yellow have been leading. With the beginning of the 1979 World Series Cup, each team needs to have both primary and secondary color on their uniforms. So, the Indian cricket team chose to wear –
- Light blue color -primary color
- Yellow – secondary color
For the World Cup in 1992, colors were again changed to color “navy-blue” by ISC (the tournament common kit manufacturer). A blue light shade along with yellow (secondary color) and a strip of ten different colors (represent different nations) was applied to the uniform for the Cricket World Cup in 1996. The ICC now no longer assigns common kit manufacture for its own tournaments.
For India cricket team jersey, the various designs were considered, and the most significant has been text “India” written in color “yellow” over an oblique splash of the tricolor. In 2005, Nike assigned the Kit manufacturing rights for the cricket team and then, designed new jerseys for the Cricket World Cup in 2007 with the blue lightest shade by the team, and the secondary color was yellow.
Many designs were adopted, but the blue color of the team uniform has earned the great nickname called “Men in Blue” for the cricket team of India. Because of team love for the blue color, Nike then launched the “Bleed Blue” known as the mega campaign for the India team support in the 2011 Cricket World cup, and that turned out to be a great success.
Just like the first-class kits, the logo of BCCI is placed on the chest (left side), and the Nike (Kit manufacturer) logo is placed on the right chest. Currently, OPPO is the official sponsor team. Its logo is placed on the jersey central part generally above the text “INDIA.”
The Best Games
In 1989, Sachin Tendulkar who started playing for the country as a 16-year-old has become the most productive run-scorer since then in the history of Test as well as ODI cricket. The player holds a very large number of records in the national batting.
Highest Score – 319 is the highest score made by an Indian, and it is scored by the player Virender Sehwag (former India cricketer) in Chennai. Also, it is a 2nd triple century in Test cricket by the country, and the 309 is the first made by the player Sehwag against Pakistan. Also, highest even score by the team was a 759/7 against the team England in 2016 at MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai. The highest score by the team is 418/5 against the team West Indies in 2011 to 12 at Indore.
2007 World Cup – Indian cricket team score 413-5 in the game against Bermuda in 2007 India cricket World Cup and it is the highest score in the history of Cricket world cup. In this match, the country also made the highest winning margin world record in an ODI match with 257 runs.
Strong Bowling Figures – India has spin bowler known as Anil Kumble and also a member of the group called elite of three bowlers who have successfully taken almost 600 Test wickets.
World Records – Most records of the India cricket team are world records. Let’s take an example of Sachin Tendulkar’s run tally (Tests, as well as OD, Is) and century tally (Tests, as well as OD, Is). Plus, the 183 not out by Mahendra Singh Dhoni against Sri Lanka is also the world record in ODIs by a wicketkeeper in 2005.
Sachin Tendulkar was also the first batsman who scored 200 runs in 2010 against South Africa. In 2011, then Virender Sehwag broke the record by scoring 219 runs. In 2014, the record was again broken by another India batsman who is Rohit Sharma, and he scored 264 runs against Sri Lanka.
ICC Trophies – In 2013, Mahendra Singh Dhoni became the first captain, and he won all three primary ICC trophies, which are ICC 2011 Cricket World Cup, 2007 ICC World Twenty20, and 2013 ICC Champions Trophy.
In 2014, there was the emergence of the finest cricketer of India cricket game, Virat Kohli. He won the man of the series title and award back-to-back in the ICC World Twenty20 in 2012, and ICC World Twenty20 in 2014. Ravichandran Ashwin became the finest and fastest cricketer in cricket history in 2017. He reaches almost 250 wickets. He, as well as Ravindra Jadeja, are known as the best bowlers in the cricket, especially Test.
In 2017, the Virat Kohli, known as the finest cricketer, became the first captain in the cricket history for scoring double tons in 3 consecutive series against Bangladesh, New Zealand, and England.
The India cricket team is considered as one of the favorites to gain victory in the 2019 World Cup. Amazingly, their prior record to the tournament and match has been outstanding. The cricket team of India is considered to be a powerful one for the current World Cup. All because of the presence of strong batting line, which includes caption Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma as openers, Mahendra Singh Dhoni as wicketkeeper-batsman and other excellent players.