You know what you do on those hot and lazy summer afternoons. You sit in front of your T.V. while sipping lassi and snacking on veg samosas watching the latest cricket match. Everyone, in India and the British commonwealth, loves cricket – this includes you. But do you really know the history of a cricket match? After all, there was a time in India when cricket was relatively unheard of. Now, it’s a national passion, and it’s to Indians what baseball is to Americans. Well, read this article if you want to know more about cricket!
The history of cricket
The history of cricket matches has its roots in the British Raj! Well, to be honest, and fair, this famous game started in the late 1500s in England. This was then The East India Company was only trading with the Mughal Empire. Cricket didn’t become a national pastime in England until the 1700s.
Cricket was initially played in the 1590s in the parts of England that were controlled by the Saxon and Norman tribes. They lived in dense forests in South-Eastern England. This area was referred to as the Weald at the time period. The Saxons and Normans were German and French tribal people.
Being someone who really loves cricket, you probably wondered to yourself, “when was the first cricket test match played?” Well, the answer will amaze you, and it may even shock you. Believe it or not, the first cricket test match wasn’t played in India. That may be hard to believe because the British loved to play cricket with their Indian servants and workers in the 1800s and the 1900s. The answer to your question, “when was the first cricket test match played?” is, “It was officially played in 1597!” To be more precise, it was played on Monday, January 17, 1597.
The first Cricket ODI match
Now that you know when the first cricket test match was played, it’s time to answer the question, “when was the first cricket ODI match played?” This occurred on January 5, 1971, between the Australian and British cricket teams on the Melbourne Cricket Ground. This match lasted three days. Afterward, cricket officials graduated towards one-day matches, which consisted of 40 different eight-ball overs per side.
Cricket as India’s national past-time
Cricket in India is currently very popular. In India, Cricket as a game was popularized during the British Raj when the British government ruled India through the East India Company. The first formal match was played in India in 1864. The great metros of Madras and Calcutta faced off during this match. The player who won was Praveen Chauhan. However, since India was a British colony, not many official records of cricket matches played during the early phases of British rule in India exist.
Cricket in India got another boost in the years between the end of the first world war and the beginning of the second world war. India became a member of the elite club of cricket playing nations. These included Australia, England, New Zealand, and South Africa. India officially joined the elite club in June 1932. The first match that India played as a member of this club was at Lords against England. Approximately 24,000 rich and upper-class spectators attended, including the then British King!
Cricket in India was completely redefined after Independence and the bloody partition and its aftermath. The new India that was promoted by the newly formed Indian government deemphasized ethnicity and caste/creed as much as possible. It encouraged harmony and integration. Many teams that were based on ethnicity were disbanded. Another interesting development was the abandonment of the Bombay Quadrangular tournament. This was a landmark development since most of India’s most important and popular games had been held at this stadium during British rule.
The last cricket game to be played at the Bombay Quadrangular was in 1946, and it was between Hindu teams. The first test victory that post-independent India played was in 1952, and it was (ironically enough) against England!
Cricket in India evolved after Independence
Indeed, cricket in India evolved dramatically after Independence. It began to have more of the shape and form that you recognize with today’s cricket matches. The first phase of cricket in independent India was from 1960-1970. The Bombay team dominated Indian cricket during these two decades. This team won the Rani Trophy for all matches. Additionally, it won the title in all ten seasons.
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Prominent players of this time period included Farokh Engineer, Dilip Sardesai, Bapu Nadkarni, Ramakant Desai, Baloo Gupta, Ashok Mankad, and Ajit Wadekar. The Duleep Trophy was first introduced in 1961 for zonal competitions. The Bombay team won all of these trophies.
These next fifteen years saw the Bombay team virtually monopolizing Indian cricket. A few regional teams like those in NCR Delhi and Karnataka state were ever able to successfully challenge the Bombay team’s dominance, and defeat for the Bombay team was extremely rare! Indian cricket teams did shine on the international stage, though. The Indian women’s team for cricket was formed in 1976 and started to play formal matches then.
Cricket has come a long way in India.
Cricket is currently played by powerful men like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and K.L. Rahul. It’s transformed itself from an informal game that German children in England played when they were bored to a sophisticated, multi-million dollar game that is played by skilled and educated people in India. Indeed, cricket has come a long way in India!