First Cricket Match – History of Cricket in India By Abhishek Mukherjee India played its first Test match in 1932. The Maharaja of Porbandar led the team while his brother-in-law Kumar Shri Limbdi was the vice-captain. None
India played its first Test match in 1932. The Maharaja of Porbandar captained the team while his brother-in-law Kumar Shri Limbdi was the vice-captain. He was not even a hockey player and chose not to participate in many sports. CK Nayudu led India in all practical feats, including a solo Test match.
First Cricket Match
The Indians have performed well on tour, winning nine, drawing nine and losing eight despite a busy schedule. Unaccustomed to playing consistently, the Indians suffered injuries at the end of the season.
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Even then, this was an interesting performance, especially since there were no great actors. The Hindu Gymkhana had marked the tour after the arrest of Mahatma Gandhi, which meant no LP Jai, Vijay Merchant or Champak Mehta. Duleepsinhji and Iftikhar Ali Khan Pataudi played against India, Sussex and Worcestershire.
Nayudu scored 1,618 runs with 65 wickets, and was named the Wisden Cricketer of the Year. Naoomal Jaoomal and brothers Wazir Ali and Nazir Ali also exceeded 1,000. The three fastest bowlers, Mohammad Nissar, Amar Singh and Jahangir Khan, scored 235 runs between them.
India played one Test, on 25 June, at Lord’s. Interestingly, when they won their first World Cup, in 1983, it was also on June 25 at Lord’s. Psychologists say that perception, whether implicit or not, plays a major role in shaping our thoughts. The truth of this assertion is reinforced by the fact that many cricketers of my generation consider the Kennington Oval to be a venue that favors India over the hosts, even though the facts point the wrong way. Statistics tell us that out of the 13 Tests India have played at this venue before the ongoing fourth Test, we have won just one and lost about five matches, the remaining seven ending in no contests. The only win in history was achieved in 1971 with defeats in Tests played in 1936, 1959, 2011, 2014 and 2018.
This feeling can be rooted in the famous success of 1971, which never fails to warm the hearts of those who were lucky enough to taste it. Another highlight was the 1979 Test, when India came close to making history when they chased down 438 for just nine in a match that ended in a draw. Also, the team can equal the number of games they played here from the 1980s until 2007, after a hiatus that resulted in three defeats at this venue.
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The Test match at The Oval in 1979 will be remembered by fans of the game for Sunil Gavaskar’s brilliant innings of 221, which brought India close to an improbable victory. To understand the importance of this hit and Test in the history of cricket in India, it is important to understand the circumstances in which it happened. A brief overview of the events leading up to this test is therefore necessary to fully understand the importance of this game.
Gavaskar had replaced Bishan Singh Bedi as the national team manager in December 1978, after the defeat in Pakistan. He led India to a 1–0 victory over the West Indies at home in the next match. Predictably, he led the team in the 1979 World Cup and the Tests against England that followed. However, unexpectedly, he was replaced by S Venkataraghavan (Venkat) as captain and the selectors, who also dropped wicketkeeper Syed Kirmani. These decisions were said to be due to the interaction between Gavaskar and Kirmani with representatives of Kerry Packer regarding joining the World Cricket Championship (WSC) which was sponsored by the media.
India started the tour on a bad note losing all matches in the World Cup, including the match against Sri Lanka, who were not a Test nation at the time. Before the team left for England, Indian fans were hoping that we could go to the semi-finals, as the other teams in our group were the West Indies and New Zealand, plus the Lankans. The optimists thought that while it was impossible to beat the mighty West Indians, it was possible to beat the Kiwis, while a win over the Lankans was possible. However, the team surprised everyone by losing all their games.
Worse yet was when the Test series began when England crushed the visitors by 83 runs in the first match at Edgbaston. On a soft track, the Indian batsmen failed to impress the English umpires until Mike Brearley declared the over at 600/5. In reply, the Indian skippers could not get going and could only muster 297 and 253 in their outing. And when the visitors were bowled out for 96 runs in the first game of the next Test at Lord’s, it looked as if the horror of the 1974 tour would be revisited.
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However, India found their saviors in Gundappa Viswanath and Dilip Vengsarkar, who guided them to the safety of a draw after being bowled out for 325 in the first match. While Vengsarkar, whose career was at a crossroads after losing the previous three matches, redeemed himself with a knock of 103, Viswanath scored 113. The next Test at Leeds was marred by rain as the first innings failed. It’s complete. That’s how the teams arrived at the Oval for the final with England leading the series 1-0.
Brearley scored and chose to score first. Double centuries from Graham Gooch (79) and Peter Willey (52) helped England post a total of 305 in the first innings. After this, the top three of Bob Willis, Ian Botham and Mike Hendrick played hard to restrict India to an opening score of 202, with Viswanath (62) at the center of the runs for the visitors. When England won again, Geoff Boycott scored a modest 125 and Brearley declared at tea on the fourth day, with a total of 334/8. This left the visitors with a target of 438 and more importantly gave their sponsors four full courses to take down the Indians. Gavaskar and Chetan Chauhan led the session after tea on the final day and scored 76.
On the last day’s over, India needed 362 runs, a long and unlikely chance with the bookmakers offering 100 to 1 odds for the visitors to win. But Gavaskar had other ideas. He was in good form in the series, scoring four half-centuries in the first three Tests, but was unable to convert any of them into big scores. This was surprising because the man was known to convert hundreds of good startups. On September 4, 1979, he decided to change himself and played an innings that will live on in the memory of all those who were lucky enough to witness it or watch it on the radio.
Gavaskar and Chauhan put on 213 for the first wicket before the latter was dismissed for a brave 80. Vengsarkar joined Gavaskar and the pair brought up a total of 304 at the end of tea. Those were the days after tea on the last day of the test match which consisted of 30 minutes and 20 minutes. India had moved up to 328 by the time the order began and panic could be seen in the English stadium. So the ratio has been reduced to 110 from 20, an easy target today, but not so easy these days when limited-overs football has become so popular.
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Phil Edmonds finally got the breakthrough England were looking for when he dismissed Vengsarkar with a total of 366. At this point, captain Venkat gave a wonderful boost to Kapil Dev’s batting order, before Viswanath, who appeared to have pushed on. increase the score. Kapil was not good at batting in that drive and he tried to clear the boundary before looking which resulted in an easy pocket on the fence. Yashpal Sharma joined Gavaskar and the duo put on a total of 389, making the score 49 in eight minutes.
Then, in a desperate attempt, Brearley brought Ian Botham back into the attack and the latter showed his superiority and gave him a chance. First, he asked Gower to catch Gavaskar in the middle and dismissed Yajuvendra Singh and Yashpal in succession. Viswanath, who had joined in the fall of Gavaskar