Indian cricket team

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Test status granted 1932
First Test match v England at Lord's, June 1932
Captain Rahul Dravid
Coach Greg Chappell
Official ICC Test and ODI ranking 4th (Test), 4th (ODI) ,
Test matches
- this year
Last Test match v West Indies at Sabina Park, 30 June to 4 July 2006
- this year
As of 22 September 2006

The Indian cricket team is an international cricket team representing India. It is governed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India, the cricket governing body in India. The Indian Cricket Team is currently the highest paid sports team in the world based on sponsorships.

Debuting as test cricket team at Lord's, England on 25 June 1932, the Indian cricket team became the sixth Test playing team. For nearly fifty years, India was weaker than most of the other Test cricket teams, such as Australia and England, winning only 35 of the 196 matches it played during this period. The team gained strength near the end of the 50-year period with the emergence of players such as Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev and the Indian spin quartet. The Indian team has continued to be highly ranked since then in both Test cricket and One-day Internationals. The team won the Cricket World Cup in 1983 and was runners-up in 2003. The current team contains many of the world's leading players, including Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble, who hold numerous cricketing world records.. As of October 2006, the team is ranked fourth in the ICC Test Championship and in a tie for fourth place in the ICC ODI Championship


Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji was an Indian who played for the English cricket team
Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji was an Indian who played for the English cricket team

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 Parsis were eventually invited by the Europeans 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 England 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. Indian team continued to improve throughout the 30s and 40s but did not achieve significant 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 and later in the year won their first Test series (against Pakistan). India were strengthened by the likes of batsmen Polly Umrigar, Vijay Manjrekar and bowler SM Gupte. They continued their good form throughout the early 1950s with a series win against New Zealand in 1956, however they did not win again in the remainder of the 1950s and lost badly to strong Australian and English sides. The next decade developed India's reputation as a team that is considered unbeatable at home. Although they only won two series (both against New Zealand), they managed to draw home series against Pakistan, England and Australia. The decade starred the batting performances of Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, Dilip Sardesai, Hanumant Singh and Chandu Borde as well as bowling performances from off-spinner EAS Prasanna.

Most of the 1970s was dominated by India's bowling spin quartet. 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 this was exploited by the spin quartet 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.

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 like captain Sunil Gavaskar were known for their defence-based approaches to batting. India could not manage to qualify for the second round in the first two editions of the Cricket World Cup.

During the 1980s, India developed a long list of competent batsmen. Batsmen like Mohammed Azharuddin, Mohinder Amarnath and Dilip Vengsarkar were prominent during this time. India won the Cricket World Cup in 1983, defeating West Indies in the final. In 1984, India won the Asia Cup and in 1985, won the World Championship of Cricket in Australia. India's Test series victory in 1986 against England remained the last Test series win by India outside subcontinent for the next 19 years. The 1987 Cricket World Cup was held in India. The 1980s saw star batsman Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev (India's best all rounder to this date) at the pinnacle of their careers. Gavaskar made 34 centuries as he became the first man to reach the 10,000 run mark and Kapil Dev became the highest wicket taker in Test cricket with 434 wickets, a record that has been surpassed since and is now held by Shane Warne.

A graph showing India's test match results against all test match teams from 1932 to September 2006
A graph showing India's test match results against all test match teams from 1932 to September 2006

The addition of 16-year-old Sachin Tendulkar and Anil Kumble to the national side in 1989 and 1990 further improved the team. Most of its successes in the 1990s were at home grounds. 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. Batsmen Rahul Dravid, Saurav Ganguly and fast bowler Javagal Srinath made their debut in international cricket during this decade. In 1999, Anil Kumble emulated Jim Laker to become the second bowler to take all ten wickets in a Test match innings when he took 10 wickets for 74 runs against Pakistan at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi. The team was further damaged in 2000 when captain Mohammad Azharuddin and fellow batsman Ajay Jadeja were implicated in a match-fixing scandal and given life bans.

India's performance in the remaining World Cups has been considerably consistent. In the 1987 Cricket World Cup, the team advanced to the semi-finals as favourites, they did the same in 1996, both times they suffered defeats in the semi-finals. India was weaker in the 1999 Cricket World Cup, and did not make it past the Super Six round. In the 2003 Cup, India lost only two games (both against reigning champions Australia) and advancing to the finals, where they were defeated by Australia.

India's traditional strengths have always been its line-up of spin bowlers and batsmen. Currently, it has a very strong batting lineup with Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag all being selected to play for the ICC World XI in the 2005 " SuperTest" against Australia. In previous times, India was unique in that it was the only country to regularly field three spinners in one team, whereas one is the norm, and of the fifteen players to have taken more than 100 wickets, only four were pace bowlers from the last 20 years .However in recent years, Indian pace bowling has improved, with the emerging talents of Irfan Pathan, Munaf Patel and Sreesanth and many more playing in the national team.

Recent performances

The Indian cricket team in action in the Wankhede Stadium
The Indian cricket team in action in the Wankhede Stadium

Historically, the Indian team has not performed as well overseas as it has in India. Since the year 2000, the Indian team underwent major improvements under the guidance of coach John Wright and captain Saurav Ganguly. The team drew a Test series with Australia in Australia, which is usually considered a tough tour. It was followed by a historic Test and ODI series win against arch-rivals Pakistan while playing in Pakistan.

India has had a very good record against Australia and, before the 2004/05 tour, never being defeated by Australia in a Test Series in India since 1969. This was the reason for Australian captain Steve Waugh labelling India as the "Final Frontier". The famous 2001 Australian tour of India saw Harbhajan Singh become the first Indian to take a Test hat-trick and started a good run for the team, as India beat Australia 2-1. India also came runners up to Australia in the final of the 2003 Cricket World Cup.

Since 2004, India had not been doing as well in One-day Internationals. The players who took India to great heights over the past ten years such as Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Anil Kumble grew older and did not maintain their form and fitness. Following the series loss to Australia, India collapsed on the final day in the Third Test in Bangalore in early 2005 against Pakistan to squander a series victory, and then lost four consecutive ODIs against Pakistan. This was exacerbated by the suspension handed to captain Ganguly for slow over-rates. Greg Chappell took over from John Wright as the new coach of the Indian cricket team following the series, and replaced Kumble and V. V. S. Laxman from the ODI team with younger players. India's unconvincing ODI form continued, scraping past a West Indian team depleted by industrial action in the 2005 Indian Oil Cup and a similarly depleted Zimbabwean team only to be defeated twice in the finals by New Zealand, continuing a poor ODI finals record.

The tension resulted in a fallout between Chappell and Ganguly lead to a confidential email sent by Chappell to the BCCI being leaked, in which he condemned the leadership and performance of Ganguly. After a series of high profile board meetings and public jousting including some players, Rahul Dravid was installed as the captain, triggering a revival in the team's fortunes. The Indians subsequently defeated Sri Lanka 6-1 in a home series. An important part about this series was the discovery of the young talent of the team, including Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Gautam Gambhir and Irfan Pathan. The team also beat the Sri Lankans in the test series 2-0 to displace England from its position in second place in the ICC Test rankings, but India slipped back by losing the high-profile series to Pakistan. Indian team continued its good form in ODIs, beating Pakistan 4-1 in Pakistan. India achieved the world-record of winning 17 successive matches chasing the total. India convincingly won England's tour of India winning the series 5-1. After leveling the DLF Cup series 1-1 in Abu Dhabi, India travelled to West Indies where they lost the ODI series 1-4 to a weak West Indies team which was ranked 8th in the ICC ODI Ranking. The series loss again questioned the Indian team's ability to play away from the Sub-continent and the chances of the Indian team to win the 2007 Cricket World Cup. The Indian team later clinched the test series against West Indies 1-0, the first Indian series win in the Carribean since Ajit Wadekar in 1971.

Tournament History

World Cup ICC Champions Trophy Commonwealth Games Asia Cup
  • 1975: Round 1
  • 1979: Round 1
  • 1983: Champions
  • 1987: Semi Finals
  • 1992: Round 1
  • 1996: Semi Finals
  • 1999: Super 6 (6th Place)
  • 2003: Runners Up
  • 2007: Qualified
  • 1998: Semi Finals
  • 2000: Runners Up
  • 2002: Joint Winner with Sri Lanka
  • 2004: Round 1
  • 2006: Qualified Main Group A; knocked out before reaching Semi-final
  • 1998: Round 1
  • 1984: Champions
  • 1986: Boycott
  • 1988: Champions
  • 1990/1991: Champions
  • 1995: Champions
  • 1997: Runners Up
  • 2000: 3rd Place
  • 2004: Runners Up

Team colours

When playing one-day cricket, the Indian cricket team has in recent years worn a sky blue shirt and pants. At present, the shirt also contains a diagonal tricolour design which reflects the Flag of India and the name of their main sponsor, Sahara. The one-day cap is also sky blue with the BCCI logo on the front, with a similar tricolour design on the brim of the cap.

With the advent of the World Series Cup in the 1970s, each team was to don a primary and secondary colour on their uniforms. The Indian team elected to wear light-blue as their primary colour and yellow as their secondary colour. Even during the 1999 Cricket World Cup the secondary colour on the Indian cricket team's clothing has been yellow. However this has since been removed and replaced with the tricolour. However, in the past the Indian ODI outfits were changed to different shades of blue, mostly darker than the current, and the team donned dark blue during 1992, the current sky blue colour is more similar to that worn in the World Series Cup.

When playing first-class cricket, in addition to their cricket whites, Indian fielders sometimes wear a sunhat, which is dark blue and has a wide brim, with the BCCI logo in the middle of the front of the hat. Helmets are coloured similarly. Some players sport the Indian flag on their helmet. The current kit sponsor for the Indian team is Nike, Inc..

Test cricket grounds

Brabourne/ Gymkhana
Eden Gardens
Green Park
KDSB/ University
LB Shastri
Vidarbha CA
Locations of all stadiums which have hosted a test match within India

There are a number of world-renowned cricket stadiums located in India. Most grounds are under the administration of various State Cricket Boards as opposed to being under the control of the BCCI. The Bombay Gymkhana was the first ground in India to host a full-scale cricket match featuring an Indian cricket team. This was between the Parsis and the Europeans in 1877. Suitably therefore, the first stadium to host a Test match in India was the Gymkhana Ground in Mumbai in 1933, the only test it ever hosted. The second and third Tests in the 1933 series were hosted at Eden Gardens and Chepauk. The Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi was the first stadium to host a Test match after independence, being a draw against the West Indies in 1948, the first of a 5-Test series. Nineteen stadiums in India have hosted official Test matches. In recent times the building of world-class cricket grounds has increased in India, with multiple Test grounds occurring in the cities of Lucknow, Chandigarh, Chennai and Mumbai.

Eden Gardens in Kolkata has hosted the most Tests (34), and also has the largest capacity of any cricket stadium in the world, being capable of holding more than 100,000 spectators. Founded in 1864, it is one of the most historical stadiums in India, having hosted numerous controversial and historical matches. Other major stadiums in India include the Feroz Shah Kotla, which was established in 1883 and hosted memorable matches including Anil Kumbles ten wickets in an innings haul against Pakistan. For the last two years, the ground has undergoing renovation.

The Wankhede Stadium is one of the newest world-class Indian cricket stadiums. Established in 1974 with a capacity of near 50,000. It has hosted 21 Test matches in its relatively short 32-year history. It was the unofficial successor of the Brabourne Stadium, which is also located in Mumbai. Mumbai is often considered the cricketing capital of India because of its fans and the talent it produces (see Mumbai cricket team) and thus the stadium regularly hosts major test matches. The M. A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chepauk is also considered to be an important historical Indian cricket ground, established in the early 1900s it was the site of India's first Test victory. It was also the site of Saeed Anwar's record breaking 194.

The remainder of the test stadiums are considered lesser compared to these major stadiums. The Gymkhana and Brabourne Stadiums are not used any more and have been replaced by the Wankhede. Similarly, the Barabati Stadium, Gandhi Stadium, K. D. Singh Babu Stadium, Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium, Nehru Stadium, Sector 16 Stadium and University Ground have not hosted a Test match in the last 10 years.

Stadium City Test matches
Barabati Stadium Cuttack 3
Bombay Gymkhana Mumbai 1
Brabourne Stadium Mumbai 17
Eden Gardens Kolkata 34
Feroz Shah Kotla Delhi 28
Gandhi Stadium Jalandhar 1
Green Park (now Modi Stadium) Kanpur 19
K. D. Singh Babu Stadium Lucknow 1
Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium Hyderabad 3
M. Chinnaswamy Stadium Bangalore 16
M. A. Chidambaram Stadium Chepauk, Chennai 28
Nehru Stadium Chennai 9
Punjab Cricket Association Stadium Mohali, Chandigarh 7
Sardar Patel Stadium (Gujarat) Motera, Ahmedabad 8
Sawai Mansingh Stadium Jaipur 1
Sector 16 Stadium Chandigarh 1
University Ground Lucknow 1
Vidarbha C.A. Ground Nagpur 9
Wankhede Stadium Mumbai 21

Fan following

Cricket is the de facto national sport of India and has a very wide following among the population of India. As a result, stadiums are generally packed at matches played in India; due to large Indian diaspora in nations like Australia and England, a large Indian fan turnout is expected whenever India plays in each of these nations as well.

There have been a number of official fan groups that have been formed over the years, including the Swami Army or Bharat Army, the Indian equivalent of the Barmy Army, that were very active in their support when India toured Australia in 2003/2004. They are known to attribute a number of popular Indian songs to the cricket team.

Fan rivalry and cross-border tension has created a strong rivalry between the Indian cricket team and the Pakistani cricket team. This has made matches between these two nations the subcontinental equivalent of the Ashes. In tours between these two nations, cricket visas are often employed to accommodate for the tens of thousands of fans wishing to cross the border to watch cricket. This intense fan dedication is one of the major causes of the Indian Cricket Board's (BCCI) financial success.

However, there are downsides to having such a cricket-loving population. Many Indians hold cricket very close to their hearts and losses are not received well with the Indian population. In some cases, particularly after losses to Pakistan or after a long string of weak performances, there have been reports of player effigies being burnt in the streets and vandalism of player homes. In many cases, players have come under unbearable attention from the media for all the wrong reasons, this has been considered as one of the reasons for Saurav Ganguly being left out of the Indian team. At times, when a match is surrounded by controversy, it has resulted in a debacle. For example, when India slid to defeat against Australia at Brabourne Stadium in 1969, fans began throwing stones and bottles onto the field as well as setting fire to the stands. A similar event occurred during the Cricket World Cup in 1996, where India were losing the semi-final to Sri Lanka. In this case, the fan behaviour was directed at the Indian team in disappointment at their lacklustre performance. An armed guard had to be placed at the home of captain Mohammad Azharuddin to ensure his safety.

Often, fans quickly come to the defense of players who have been accused of wrongdoings or dropped from teams. In 2005, when Sourav Ganguly was dropped for a lack of form, Ganguly's home state of West Bengal erupted in protests.

However, it should be noted that a successful string of results, victories against arch-rivals Pakistan or victory in major tournaments such as the World Cup are greeted with particular ecstasy from the Indian fans.

Indian women's cricket team

The Indian women's cricket team has a much lower profile that the men's team. For all national women's cricket teams, the female players are paid much less their male counterparts, and the women's teams do not receive as much popular support or recognition as the men's team. The women's teams also have a less packed schedule compared to men's teams and play fewer matches. The Indian women's cricket team played its first Test match in 1976/7, when they drew with the West Indies in a six-match series.

The Women's Cricket World Cup was held in India in 1978 and featured 4 teams. Despite this, India failed to win either of their two matches. Their next appearance in the Test and ODI circuit was against Australia in 1984, in which the Test series was tied but the ODI series was lost in a humiliating whitewash.

The Indian women's cricket team has since picked up some form, reaching the finals in the last World Cup, but then losing to Australia. The Women's Asia Cup of 2005-06 was won by India, who beat Sri Lanka in the final. They also beat the West Indies in the 2004-05 season, winning the 5 ODI series 5-0.

National records

Sachin Tendulkar is easily the batsman with the most national achievements. He holds the record of most appearances in both Tests and ODIs, most runs in both Tests and ODIs and most centuries in tests and ODIs. The highest score by an Indian is 309, scored by Virender Sehwag, India's only triple century in Test cricket. The team's highest score ever was a memorable 705 against Australia in Sydney, 2004, while it's lowest was an embarrassing 42 against England in 1974. In ODIs, the team's highest was 376 against New Zealand in 1999.

India also has very strong bowling figures, with spin bowler Anil Kumble being a member of the elite group of 4 bowlers who have taken 500 wickets. Kumble is also one of the few bowlers who have taken all 10-wickets in an innings. Many Indian bowling records are held by Irfan Pathan, a paceman who is relatively new to the Indian line-up. Irfan Pathan is currently ranked within the top five all-rounders in both Test matches and One-day Internationals in the LG ICC Player Rankings and is rising as a much needed all rounder in the Indian team. India's strength has traditionally been with its spin bowlers, which explains the records achieved by Anil Kumble and Bishen Singh Bedi.

Many of the Indian cricket team's records are also world records, for example Sachin Tendulkar's century tally and run tally. Newcomes Mahendra Singh Dhoni's record for highest score by a wicketkeeper (183 not out) is also a World Record for any wicketkeeper. Roy and Mankad's first wicket partnership of 413 is a world record for the first wicket, although it was close to being broken by Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid in 2006. The Indian cricket team also has the record of being the team with the largest number of consecutive, successful run-chases in ODIs (17), a streak which ended recently in the second ODI of the series against the West Indies in May.

Current squad

Name Batting Style Bowling Style Domestic team Zone Contract grade
Rahul Dravid RHB OB Karnataka South A
Mahendra Singh Dhoni RHB - Jharkand East B
Dinesh Karthik RHB - Tamil Nadu South -
Opening batsmen
Sachin Tendulkar RHB LB, LBG, OB Mumbai West A
Virender Sehwag RHB OB Delhi North A
Robin Uthappa RHB RMF Karnataka South -
Wasim Jaffer RHB OB Mumbai West -
Specialist middle-order batsmen
V. V. S. Laxman RHB OB Hyderabad South A
Yuvraj Singh LHB SLA Punjab North B
Mohammed Kaif RHB OB Uttar Pradesh Central B
Suresh Raina LHB OB Uttar Pradesh Central C
Venugopal Rao RHB OB Andhra Pradesh South -
Irfan Pathan LHB LMF Baroda West A
Dinesh Mongia LHB SLA Punjab North -
Vikram Singh RHB RFM Punjab North -
Ajit Agarkar RHB RFM Mumbai West B
Rudra Pratap Singh RHB LMF Uttar Pradesh Central -
Shanthakumaran Sreesanth RHB RFM Kerala South C
Munaf Patel RHB RMF Gujarat West -
Zaheer Khan RHB LMF Baroda West C
Spin Bowlers
Anil Kumble RHB LBG Karnataka South A
Harbhajan Singh RHB OB Punjab North A
Ramesh Powar RHB OB Mumbai West -
Piyush Chawla RHB LB Uttar Pradesh Central -

The current coach of the Indian cricket team is Australian Greg Chappell who succeeded John Wright in 2004. India has recently developed a strategy of using foreign expertise in order to build the team. In the recent series against the West Indies, the touring squad included Ian Frazer as bio-mechanical expert, John Gloster as team physiotherapist and the manager of the team Ranjib Biswal.


Twenty-eight men have captained the Indian cricket team in at least 1 Test match, although only 6 men have led the team in more than 25 or more matches, and 5 men have captained the team in ODIs but not Tests. India's first captain was CK Nayudu, who led the team in four matches against England, one in England in 1932 and a series of 3 matches at home in 1933/4. Lala Amarnath, India's fourth captain, led the team in its first Test match after Indian independence. He also captained the side to its first Test victory and first series win, both in a 3-match series at home against Pakistan in 1952/3.

The Nawab of Pataudi was captain for 36 matches from 1961/2 to 1969/70, returning for a final 4 matches against West Indies in 1974/5. India played its first ODI in 1974, under the captaincy of Ajit Wadekar. India won its first ODI under the captaincy of Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan in the 1975 Cricket World Cup, against East Africa.

Sunil Gavaskar took over as Test and ODI captain in the late 1979s and early 1980s, leading India in 47 Test matches and 38 ODIs, winning 9 Tests and 14 ODIs. He was succeeded by Kapil Dev in the 1980s, who continued for 34 Test matches, including 4 victories. Kapil Dev led India to victory in 40 of his 74 ODIs in charge, including the 1983 Cricket World Cup.

India has had only four regular Test captains since Mohammad Azharuddin took charge in 1989. Azharuddin led the team in 47 Test matches from 1989/90 to 1998/9, winning 14, and in 173 ODIs, winning 89. He was followed by Sachin Tendulkar, who captained India in 25 Test matches and 73 ODIs in the late 1990s; Tendulkar was relatively uncuccessful as a captain, winning only 4 Test matches and 23 ODIs. He was replaced as ODI captain by Ajay Jadeja and then Sourav Ganguly; Ganguly became the regular captain in both forms of cricket in 2000. Ganguly remained captain for the first 5 years of the 2000s and was much more successful, winning 21 of his 49 Test matches in charge and 73 of his 141 ODIs. The current captain, Rahul Dravid, took over as Test captain in 2005. In his fourth full series in charge, he led India to victory in the West Indies, the first instance of India winning in the Carribean in over 30 years.

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