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    India: The Crown Jewel Of Cricket World
India: The Crown Jewel Of Cricket World

India: The Crown Jewel Of Cricket World

India's deep-rooted connection with cricket has elevated the sport to a level of cultural significance akin to a religion. Players like Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli have attained legendary status, capturing the imagination of the nation. But how did this seemingly simple sport become an integral part of India's identity? The origins of this plight can be traced back almost three centuries to the peak of the British East India Trading Company in 1721.

The earliest mention of cricket in India can be attributed to Clement Downing, an English seaman of the East India Company, who documented his experiences playing the sport with fellow mariners. This is believed to have taken place in Cambay, approximately 400 kilometres north of present-day Mumbai, and attracted considerable attention from the locals. The next known milestone occurred in 1792 with the formation of the Calcutta Cricket Club by British personnel of the East India Company. A decade later, the club competed against the Old Etonians, and Robert Vansittart of the Etonians scored the first recorded century on Indian soil. In 1848, the Parsis established the Oriental Cricket Club, widely recognized as the first community-based Indian cricket club. This pioneering organisation paved the way for the formation of other ones, such as the Young Zoroastrians Club in 1850 and the Hindu Gymkhana in 1866. By the late 1800s, cricket had gained significant popularity across the subcontinent, fueled by the career of Ranji, officially known as Sir Ranjitsinhji Vibhaji Jadeja, the highly influential figure widely believed to be one of the greatest batsmen of all time.

Image Source: Midjourney

Born in Sadodar, Nawanagar, Ranji‘s cricketing journey began at Rajkumar College, where he first represented the school on field at the tender age of 12. In 1888, he travelled to London to study at Cambridge University, where his cricketing skills flourished. Ranji went on to play first-class cricket for Cambridge University and Sussex County. His Test debut for England in 1896 was met with controversy, but silenced critics as he displayed exceptional skills, scoring an unbeaten 154 in the second innings against Australia. Ranji introduced a unique style of batting, playing off the back foot and popularising the "leg glance" shot. His unorthodox approach and immense success made him a beloved figure throughout the British Empire, contributing significantly to the rise of Indian cricket in the 20th century.

In 1928, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was established, and soon after, India gained official Test match status from the International Cricket Council (ICC). India's inaugural Test match occurred in 1932 at Lord's against England, with the Indian team captained by CK Nayudu. Unfortunately, the newcomers lost by 158 runs in this one-off match. It took two decades for India to secure their first Test match victory, which came in the fifth game of the 1951-52 series against England in Chennai. The following year, India celebrated their first series win, defeating neighbouring Pakistan with a 2-1 lead in November 1952.

Image Source: Midjourney

India's cricketing dominance truly took hold in the late 1990s, largely attributed to the extraordinary talent of Sachin Tendulkar, also known as "The Little Master". Tendulkar played a pivotal role in India's unbeaten home record against Australia and a series of Test match victories against Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, West Indies, and England. This success was secured in the 21st century, with India men’s national cricket team currently holding the position on top of the ICC rankings.

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