Report No. 275
Legal Framework: BCCI Vis-à-Vis Right to Information Act, 2005
A. A Brief History of Cricket in India
1.1 As per the records, the game of cricket was first played in India as early as in1721. The first club, i.e., the Calcutta Cricket Club, was established in 1792, on the site where Eden Gardens now stands, although its membership was restricted to Europeans only. Five years later, Bombay hosted the first match, wherein Indians commenced playing the game. At the end of the 18th century the Parsees took on the Eton Ramblers Cricket Club, and later in 1848, they formed the Orient Club.1
1.2 In 1889 an amateur English team travelled to India. They played almost exclusively European teams, and their one defeat came against the Parsees. In 1892, they returned and suffered two defeats in twenty games, again at the hands of the Parsees. In January 1893, a touring team led by Lord Hawke played against an All-India team, but the reality was that it was almost entirely made up of Europeans.2
1.3 Maharaja Ranjit Singhji popularly known as Maharaja Jam Saheb ('Ranji') ruled, from 1907 to 1933, an Indian Princely state, the State of Nawanagar in the Halar region (presently Gujarat), located on the southern shores of the Gulf of Kutch. His success in the game in England inspired other fellow princes in India and consequently, they sent for coaches from England and spent huge sums to ensure that they could boast of the best facilities.
In 1907, the Hindus joined the Europeans and Parsees to make it a triangular competition and in 1912, the Mohammedans also started to participate. An All-India side toured England in 1911, under the captaincy of Maharaja of Patiala; and, by the late 1920s, the performance of this side against an MCC XI (Marylebone Cricket Club) led by Arthur Gilligan, led the ICC (International Cricket Council) to believe that the All-India side might be ready to make a Test match debut.3
1.4 One major hurdle in this regard was the absence of a central governing body regulating the game in India. This led to the creation of the BCCI in 1928. Thereafter, India made its first Test match debut in 1932 at Lord's under the captaincy of C.K. Nayudu. Ranji couldn't play for India, as in his time India didn't have a Test team. He had also dissuaded his nephew Duleep from playing for India.
Many Indians had commented acerbically on Duleep's preference for England over India. Nawab Pataudi Senior at that time was playing for England and had scored a century against Australia. He showed his willingness to play for India which received an overwhelming support. On October 29, 1934, Nawab Pataudi was voted Captain of the Indian team to tour England in 1936.4
1.5 India registered its first Test victory against England in 1951-52, in Madras. Subsequently, in 1983, at Lord's Cricket Ground, India won its first Cricket World Cup (limited overs), and repeated the World Cup victory years later, in 2011 at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai. In the Twenty20 format, India won the inaugural Twenty20 Cricket World Championship in 2007, followed by the ICC Champions Trophy in 2013. By the end of twentieth century, India was ranked among the top-most cricket playing nations of the world, and continues to hold its place at the helm.