Cricket & India : How The Sport Became India’s Favourite

Indian Test Cricket Team of 1931 | Photo: livemint.com

What is the most popular Indian pastime- no, not street food, not Bollywood, not bargaining…definitely not spitting! I’m referring to the most thrilling pastime of it all- Indian Cricket!

It runs through our veins and knows what, the rich and colourful history of this game is almost as fascinating as the game itself. But how many of us know how it came to India? Or how it grew? Let’s explore it together.

Little-known important facts about ‘Indian Cricket’ :

Although we like to think that it began with Gilli-danda, cricket, as we know it, its evolution in India is right from the time the British set foot in our country. They played the game at all the important English spots- Calcutta, Madras and Bombay – these spots became cricketing centres.

Cricket clubs started getting formed across the country, but only all-white clubs playing against each other. Many Indians imitated whatever the English did was cool back then, so if they played cricket, why not we?

The first to play with the Britishers were the Parsis and they were also the first Indians to tour England. The Parsis and Britishers were having regular tournaments in Bombay.

Hindu, Muslim and other cricketers sorted themselves along the lines of caste and region of origin. The Hindus, Muslims, and others formed various cricketing clubs viz. ‘Bombay Union’, ‘Muslim Union’ and ‘The Rest’ respectively. Thus we had the Bombay Pentangular series! Cricket had a lot of drama even before IPL!

Photo: The first Indian cricket team boarding a train after the first tour | Photo: ESPN

Gradually some Europeans started touring India, raised the popularity of the game. In 1932,  led by C.K. Nayudu, India made its test debut in England. But from there till around 1950s, we were still considered a ‘weak’ team. Although domestically, we were gearing up for better days- BCCI was formed, Ranji trophy was started.

India was eventually becoming good at the game. 1952 saw two landmark victories for us- the first series victory against Pakistan and the first test victory against England. In the coming years, we were considered a force to be reckoned with on home territory.

In 1983, West Indies was the thought to be the best team. We were nowhere close. So just imagine the thrill when Captain Kapil Dev and team lifted the World Cup defeating the mighty West Indies!

The first cricket match of India in 1932 | Photo: livemint.com

It was the most spectacular, most memorable event ever. The whole nation went bonkers! Cricket in India had finally arrived.

And the rest, as they say, is an oft-repeated and cherished history

Now, you can understand why right from the children in your colony to the International Matches, the game played and liked the most is ‘cricket’.

Preview Photo: wikipedia.org

Rishabh Kumar
Rishabh Kumar

A soon to be tech graduate who has a knack of writing and a sack full of dreams.

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