The British brought cricket to India in the early 1700s, with the first cricket match being played in 1721. In 1848, the Parsi community in Mumbai formed the Oriental Cricket Club, the first cricket club to be established by Indians. After slow beginnings, the Europeans eventually invited the Parsis to play a match in 1877. By 1912, the Parsis, Hindus, and Muslims of Bombay played a quadrangular tournament with the Europeans every year. In the early 1900s, some Indians went on to play for the English cricket team. Some of these, such as Ranjitsinhji and KS Duleepsinhji were greatly appreciated by the British and their names went on to be used for the Ranji Trophy and Duleep Trophy-two of the major domestic tournaments in India. In 1911, an Indian team went on their first official tour of England, but only played English county teams and not the English cricket team. India was invited into The Imperial Cricket Council in 1926 and made its debut as a Test-cricket-playing-nation in 1932 led by CK Nayudu. The match was given Test status despite being only 3 days in length. The team was not strong in its batting at this point and went on to lose by 158 runs. The Indian team continued to improve throughout the 1930s and ''40s but did not achieve an international victory during this period. The team''s first series as an independent country was in 1948 against Sir Donald Bradman''s Invincibles (a name given to the Australian cricket team of that time). Australia won the five-match series, 4-0.
India recorded their first Test victory against England at Madras in 1952. Later in the year, they won their first Test series, which was against Pakistan. They continued their improvement throughout the early 1950s with a series win against New Zealand in 1956. However, they did not win again in the remainder of the decade and lost badly to strong Australian and English sides. The next decade developed India''s reputation as a team considered to be strong at home. Although they only won two series (both against New Zealand), they managed to draw home series against Pakistan, England and Australia.
The key to India''s bowling in the 1970s were the Indian spin quartet - Bishen Bedi, E.A.S. Prasanna, Bhagwat Chandrasekhar and Srinivas Venkataraghavan. This period also saw the emergence of two of India''s best ever batsmen, Sunil Gavaskar and Gundappa Viswanath. Indian pitches have had tendency to support spin and the spin quartet exploited this to create collapses in opposing batting lineups. These players were responsible for the back-to-back series wins in 1971 in the West Indies and in England, under the captaincy of Ajit Wadekar. Gavaskar scored 774 runs in the West Indian series while Dilip Sardesai''s 112 played a big part in their one Test win.
The advent of One-Day International cricket in 1971 created a new dimension in the cricket world. However, India was not considerably strong in ODIs at this point and batsmen such as the captain Gavaskar were known for their defence-based approaches to batting. India began as a weak team in ODIs and did not manage to qualify for the second round in the first two editions of the Cricket World Cup. Gavaskar famously blocked his way to 36 not out off 174 balls against England in the first World Cup in 1975, India scored just 132 for 3 and lost by 202 runs.
In contrast, India fielded a strong team in Test matches and were particularly strong at home where their combination of stylish batsman and beguiling spinners where seen at their best. India set a then test record in the third Test against the West Indies at Port-of-Spain in 1976 when they chased 403 to win thanks to 112 from Vishwanath. This West Indian defeat is considered to be a watershed in the history of their cricket because it led to captain Clive Lloyd dispensing with spin altogether and relying entirely on a four man pace attack. In November 1976 the team established another record by scoring 52ed against New Zealand at Kanpur without an individual scoring a century. There were six fifties, the highest being 70 by Mohinder Amarnath. The innings was the eighth instance in Test cricket where all eleven batsmen reached double figures.
During the 1980s, India developed a more attack minded batting line-up with stroke makers such as the wristy Mohammed Azharuddin, Dilip Vengsarkar and all-rounder Ravi Shastri prominent during this time.
India won the Cricket World Cup in 1983, defeating the then favourites West Indies in the final, owing to a strong bowling performance. In spite of this the team performed poorly in the Test arena, including 28 consecutive Test matches without a victory. In 1984, India won the Asia Cup and in 1985, won the World Championship of Cricket in Australia. Apart from this, India remained a very weak team outside the Indian subcontinent. India''s Test series victory in 1986 against England remained the last Test series win by India outside the subcontinent for the next 19 years. The 1987 Cricket World Cup was held in India. The 1980s saw Gavaskar and Kapil Dev (India''s best all rounder to this date) at the pinnacle of their careers. Gavaskar made a Test record 34 centuries as he became the first man to reach the 10,000 run mark. Kapil Dev later became the highest wicket taker in Test cricket with 434 wickets. The period was also marked by an unstable leadership, with Gavaskar and Kapil exchanging the captaincy several times.
A graph showing India''s Test match results against all Test match teams from 1932 to September 2006
The addition of Sachin Tendulkar and Anil Kumble to the national side in 1989 and 1990 further improved the team. The following year, Javagal Srinath, India''s fastest bowler since Amar Singh made his debut. Despite this, during the 1990s, India did not win any of its 33 Tests outside the subcontinent while it won 17 out of its 30 Tests at home. After being eliminated by neighbours Sri Lanka on home soil at the 1996 Cricket World Cup, the team underwent a year of change as Rahul Dravid, Saurav Ganguly, later to be become captains of the team, made their debut in the same Test at Lord''s. Tendulkar replaced Azharuddin as captain in late 1996, but after a personal and team form slump, Tendulkar relinquished the captaincy and Azharuddin was reinstalled at the beginning of 1998. With the captaincy burden removed, Tendulkar was the world''s leading run-scorer in both Tests and ODIs, as India enjoyed a home Test series win over Australia, the best ranked team in the world. After failing to reach the semifinals at the 1999 Cricket World Cup, Tendulkar was again made captain, and had another poor run, losing 3-0 on a tour of Australia and then 2-0 at home to South Africa. Tendulkar resigned, vowing never to captain the team again, with Sourav Ganguly appointed the new captain. The team was further damaged in 2000 when former captain Azharuddin and fellow batsman Ajay Jadeja were implicated in a match-fixing scandal and given life bans.
The Indian cricket team in action in the Wankhede Stadium
Since 2000, the Indian team underwent major improvements with the appointment of John Wright as India''s first ever foreign coach. India maintained their unbeaten home record against Australia in Test series after defeating them in 2001. The series was famous for the Kolkata Test match, in which India became only the third team in the history of Test cricket to win a Test match after following on. Australian captain Steve Waugh labelled India as the "Final Frontier" as a result of his side''s inability to win a Test series in India. Victory in 2001 against the Australians marked the beginning of a dream run for India under their captain Sourav Ganguly, winning Test matches in Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, West Indies and England. The England series is also known for India''s highest ODI run-chase of 325 runs at Lord''s which came in the Natwest ODI Series final ag