Cricket in India could be traced during the pre-independence era when we were under the colonial prowess of the East India Company. It is believed that the sport was brought to the Indian shores by the British sailors in the 18th century.
It was the Parsi community who established an oriental cricket club in 1846. After a gap of 4 decades, the Parsi team toured to England in 1886 where it played 28 matches, having to manage a single victory, 19 losses & remaining 8 results in a draw. By 1912, various communities of India including the Hindus & Muslims of Bombay joined the Parsis to play the quadrangular tournament on a regular basis. Cricket in India was limited to the richest patrons of the colony such as Maharaja of Patiala & Maharaja Kumara of Vizianagaram. The leadership roles in the team such as the captain & the deputy captain (vice-captain) were distributed among these patrons.
In the year 1932, India made its international debut as a Test-playing nation under the leadership of CK Nayudu; the best Indian batsmen considered during the time. The one-off Test between visitors – India & hosts – England took place at the Lord’s cricket stadium situated in the capital city of London. On June 25, 1932 (a memorable day for not only Indian cricket, but also for Indian sports fraternity); CK Nayudu led the national Indian cricket team against a mighty & star-studded English side.
The visitors comparatively had a raw batting line-up. The Bombay born, English captain – Douglas Jardine, elected to bat first & capitalize on the dominant form of its opening pair of Sutcliffe & Holmes, who had struck a record opening partnership of massive 555-runs at the domestic circuit playing for Yorkshire just nine days ago.
However, the duo failed miserably on the day & forced to bow down against excellent pace-duo of Mohammed Nisar & Amar Singh who reduced the Englishmen to 19-3 in the first 20 minutes of the match. Mohammed Nisar bowled India’s first-ever test ball. Ensuring that India makes an impressive memory from its Test Debut, it was the bowling partnership between the duo where- Nisar had the ability to swing & cut the ball at the same time and Amar Singh complimented him with his tandem action. Capitalizing on their strong middle-order batting & lack of accuracy and agility by the Indian bowlers and fielders, England managed to overcome the poor start with the help of an 82-run partnership between Douglas Jardine & Wally Hammond.
The second spell by Nisar produced 3 wickets which completely swept the English middle-order batting line-up. Four wickets shared equally between India’s captain, CK Nayudu & Amar Singh resulted in a collapse of England’s 1st innings score for 259, with one session’s play remaining for the day. India’s smooth start of 30 without any loss of wicket by the end of the day’s play meant the ball was in visitor’s court. However, an inexperienced middle-order failed to capitalize after Nayudu’s knock of 40. From 160/4, India folded for a mere 189.
A painful 70-run lead for England alongside an 85* knock by the captain- Jardine in the 2nd innings added further woes for India as the victory demanded a massive 345 runs. A half-century struck by Amar Singh down the order went in vain as India was dismantled for 187, eventually losing the match by 158 runs.
Despite the defeat in the 1st official Test match for India remain as a woeful incident in India’s cricketing history, June 25 will mark a memorable day in the books of Indian cricket as on the same day in 1983, India made history at the same iconic ground of Lords where it defeated the almighty WestIndies to emerge as the World Champions of cricket.