Saturday, 12 March 2016

Cricket History

A long time ago some village folks started the rolling of round objects as a game. From this the game of bowling was born. Then some of them made it more interesting by putting a player wielding a stick with the purpose of deflecting the ball from its path to prevent it from reaching its goal. Thus was born the the game of cricket or creckett as it was called at that time. In the absence of definitive records of its origin this is how it is most widely assumed the game of cricket originated in the south-eastern part of England with the oldest record dating back to 1548 in Guildford.

The British colonized several countries in the coming years and were instrumental in spreading the game of cricket to those colonies. In India the earliest known record of cricket is that of matches played by English sailors in 1721. The Calcutta Cricket and Football Club was formed around 1790 for practice and proliferation of the game.

Cricket was considered as ‘the gentleman’s game’ due to the disciplined and orthodox manner in which it was played in keeping with gentlemanly traditions of honesty and fairness.

The popularity of the game spread as Indians started taking up the game from their British rulers with the Parsis being the first civilian community to form cricket clubs in 1848 and 1850; followed by the Hindus who formed Hindu Gymkhana in 1866.
A Madras versus Calcutta match played in 1864 is arguably the start of first class cricket in India. In 1884 a team from Sri Lanka also played a match in Kolkata. However Europeans versus Parsis matches in 1892 were definite beginning of first class cricket in India (the first English team to tour India was captained by George Vernon however the matches it played were not considered first class). Before that the Parsis had visited England twice once in 1886 and once in 1888 wherein they put up a good performance.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India was setup in 1928 replacing the Calcutta Cricket Club as the governing body for cricket in India.
Led by C. K. Nayudu India played its first test cricket match in Lords England in 1932.

The Bombay annual Presidency matches were initially between Europeans and Parsees and were later on joined by the Hindus, Muslims and then the ‘Rest’ which comprised of Christians and Anglo-Indians. These matches were played till 1945.

Named after cricketer Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji the Ranji Trophy is a domestic first class cricket tournament played between regional cricket associations of India. This tournament which began in 1934 now forms the pedestal for regional talent to make it to the national squad.
 Post-independence in 1947 India won its first test series victory against Pakistan in 1952.

In the 60’s and 70’s the Indian team grew stronger and started proving its mettle on foreign pitches as well. Talented spinners like E. Prasanna, B. S. Chandrasekhar, Srinivas Venkataraghavan and Bishan Singh Bedi hogged the limelight with their skills. Legendary batsmen like Sunil Gavaskar and Gundappa Vishwanath became the pulse of the Indian batting line up.

In the mid 70’s the new format of one day cricket was introduced where each side played a single innings with a maximum of 50 overs limiting the game duration to just one day as opposed to 5 days of test cricket. Although the Indian team struggled in this new format initially, it managed to defeat West Indies in the finals and secured the Cricket World Cup in 1983 - spear headed by Kapil Dev as the captain.    
The 90’s era of Indian cricket saw the rise of the cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar. He earned the nicknames of ‘Little Master’ and ‘Master Blaster’ due to his match winning batting performances. We all know his contribution to the game and how we all bank on him whenever he is on the field.

Cricketing greats like Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, Sourav Ganguly and Javagal Srinath also left their mark on the Indian cricket scene.
It is true that the Indian cricket had to see rough patches due to match fixing and betting scandals that were unearthed and which involved star players of that time.
Well, if the game is what is more like a religion, in no time India was back in form with the baton of performance picked up by the youthful bunch headed by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who is touted as the most successful captain to have headed Indian cricket.

A new format of the game, Twenty-20 or T20 as it is most popularly called, was introduced by the England and Wales Cricket Board in 2003 for inter-county competition in which each team has a single innings with a maximum of 20 overs. This resulted in significant shortening of the duration of the one day cricket format. This format spread quickly due to its fast paced nature and spawned the IPL (Indian Premiere League – a tournament contested between franchisee teams representing various Indian cities and allowing the inclusion of foreign players).

India won the Twenty-20 Cricket World Cup in the year 2007 under the captainship of Dhoni.

India went on to win the Cricket World Cup itself on 2nd April 2011 by defeating Sri Lanka at Wankhede stadium in Mumbai and history was created once again in 2011 after the previous victory dated back to 1983.

Be it betting scandals, or any other controversies, the game of cricket in India has had its own share of ups and downs. But this simple game is a passion that every Indian follows like a religion. Though the game of born in England, Indians have made this sport their own and inspite of not being our national sport, the enthusiasm that every Indian has for this sport has given it a status more than any other sport.

Not to mention the game is a favorite because of the hard work and the dedication of our cricket team, who make the game of cricket what it today. Winning and losing is a part of every game, but what matter most is the hard work and the dedication. Kudos to our Indian cricket team!