India in England – An Inspiring Tale

Breaking News: 11th Sept 2018, India captained by ViratKohli has whitewashed the Britishers 5-0 in an epic test series.  A million dollar question. Will it happen???

It was 1911, more than 100 years ago when for the first time an “All Indian” team under the leadership of Maharaja of Patiala, Bhupinder Singh toured England.

But it wasn’t until 25th June 1932 at lords when the Indian cricket team played their first official test match after being granted the full member status by the ICC, and the great C.K Nayudu became our first test captain.

After the 2nd World war, India toured England as an independent nation four times between 1946-1967 without a single victory.

Public memory is proverbially short, but for cricket fans some events and dates will always stay in mind. 24th August 1971, a maiden overseas series win (1-0) against the English in England at the Oval, under the astute leadership of AjitWadekar can never be forgotten.

Even today I hear the folklore about our quartet of world-class spinners of 70’s in Chandra, Prasanna, Venkat and Bedi backed up by the mesmerizing batting of Gavaskar and Vishwanath.

India would again triumph over the Britishers in 1986 under the captaincy of KapilDev winning the test series 2-0. Perhaps for the older generation, these teams and victories will hold a special place. But for me and those of my generation – by which I mean born in the 90’s (the millennials) – The tour of 1996 will always be evergreen in memory.

After a dismissal start to the tour in the 1st test, in which Venkatesh Prasad made his test debut and took 6 wickets, captain Azhar handed test debuts to two young Turks in the 2nd test at lords. And the rest they say, is history as Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid scripted their way into the record books.

A brilliant 131 on debut from Sourav Ganguly coming in to bat at no.3 was a sight to behold, his 94 runs 6th wicket partnership with Rahul Dravid who got out on 95, agonizingly close to a debut hundred was heartbreaking, to say the least.

The day marked the beginning of a glorious era in the history of the game, resulting in a shirtless victory dance by the same Ganguly six years later at the mecca of cricket. July 13 2002, it is 16 years ago today, but I can remember the extraordinary match as vividly as though it took place yesterday. It was a day when India not only learned to chase but also dreamt of becoming the best team in the world.

India would have to wait 21 years for another test series win which came in 2007, under the captaincy of Rahul Dravid, winning 1-0. The series saw the magical Kevin Petersen in full throttle but with experience and youth, the boys pulled out probably the strongest performance ever by an Indian side in England.

Ever since the departure of our legendary foursome in Dravid, Ganguly, Tendulkar, and Laxman, last two test series in 2011 and 2014 have been embarrassing, losing 4-0 and 3-1 respectively under MSD. But today the new crop of players are now experienced and performing consistently, which is a good sign for Virat Kohli who will be captaining India for the first time in England.

Although we have lost the ODI series, a five-Test match Pataudi trophy will be a mouth-watering affair and a historical occasion for the young Indian team.

Also watch video below to listen to expert view of Test Cricketer Yajurvindra Singh

 

 

By Kunal M.

A Sportsnasha Exclusive

 

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