English sailors and traders from the English East India Company brought the game of cricket to India during the 17th and 18th centuries. The first recorded instance of cricket in India dates back to 1721 and 1792. It was when the country had its first cricket club. In the late 1800s, the Parsees cricket team from India even toured England, while English players reciprocated with a visit to India in 1889–90. It was during this period that the competitive history of cricket in India began to take shape. In fact, with a notable victory by the Parsees against an English team in 1892–93. By 1918, first-class cricket had firmly established itself in India.
History of Cricket in India: The Role of the British East India Company
In the early times, the history of cricket in India subcontinent. It includes countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. The East India Company supported these countries that were closely tied to the British rulers.
In 1600, Queen Elizabeth I issued a charter to the East India Company. Granting it a monopoly on trade in India and the East Indies. Over time, the East India Company expanded beyond trade and effectively governed India until 1858. This company played a pivotal role in introducing history of cricket in India.
The Pioneering Cities of Cricket
Establishing Key Centers (17th to 18th Centuries)
The East India Company was instrumental in founding key cities. Such as Madras (now Chennai) in 1639 and acquiring Bombay (now Mumbai) in 1661. In 1690, English merchants received permission to establish a trading settlement in Calcutta (now Kolkata). These cities became focal points for cricket as the sport gained popularity among the local population.
Spreading the Cricket Fever: Early Adoption and Cultural Integration
The British brought cricket to India in the early 1700s, and English sailors played the first documented game near Baroda in 1737. The Kolis of Gujarat, who once engaged in piracy against British ships, also adopted this sport. East India Company introduced to them as a means of fostering friendly relations.
The Emergence of Cricket Clubs: Cricket Clubs Take Root (Late 18th Century)
By 1792, the Calcutta Cricket and Football Club had already established itself. Then, another club formed in Seringapatam in 1799. The pivotal moment in the history of Cricket in India came in 1864. This is when cricket historians regard a match between Madras and Calcutta. Marking the beginning of first-class cricket in India. Indian elites embraced the sport, playing both with British teams and amongst themselves.
Formalizing the Game: The Birth of First-Class Cricket (Late 19th Century)
The 19th century witnessed the prominence of the Bombay Presidency Match. It initially evolved into the Bombay Triangular and ultimately achieved first-class status in 1892–93. Although an English team led by George Vernon toured India in 1889–90, their matches were not considered first-class.
Communities Joining the Game: Parsees Lead the Way (Mid-19th Century)
The Parsees community in India started playing cricket as early as 1848. They became proficient enough to compete against European teams by 1892. The official commencement of first-class cricket in India occurred in the 1892–93 season. With matches between Europeans and Parsees.
Expansion of Participation (Early 20th Century)
Gradually, other communities, such as the Hindus and Muslims, also embraced history of cricket in india. The Hindus entered first-class cricket in 1907, leading to the formation of the Triangular tournament. In 1912, the Muslims joined the cricketing arena. Resulting in the Quadrangular Tournament featuring four teams: Europeans, Parsees, Hindus, and Muslims.
History of Cricket in India: A Detailed Timeline
1721 to 1848
- In 1721, sailors from the East India Company played cricket in Cambay.
- By 1792, the Calcutta Cricket Club was already around and played against teams like Barrackpore and Dum Dum.
- In 1797, cricket was being played in Bombay.
- In 1804, Robert Vansittart scored the first recorded century in India with 102 runs for Old Etonians against the Rest of Calcutta.
- By 1840, Indians were actively participating in cricket matches.
- Cricket enthusiasts formed the Madras Cricket Club in 1846, and they were playing cricket in Karachi by 1847.
- In 1848, Parsis in Bombay formed the Orient C.C.
1850 – 1896
Around 1850, cricket became a regular activity in Lahore.
In 1854, they released the first known publication about cricket in India. It covered Calcutta Cricket Club matches from 1844 to 1854.
In 1864, the first known match occurred between Madras and Calcutta.
Hindus in Bombay formed the Union C.C. in 1866.
In 1867, someone published the first instructional book on cricket in Hindi, and later, in 1868, they translated it into Urdu.
Private Sheiring scored the first recorded double-century in India with 228 runs in Shahjehanpur in 1872.
In 1880, a team called Bolan Pass XI scored the first total of over 600 runs in India, reaching 678 against Subordinates in Peshwar.
The Muslims in Bombay formed the Mohammedan C.C. in 1883.
The first match between Bombay Gymkhana (Europeans) and Parsi Gymkhana took place in 1884.
In 1886, the first Indian team toured overseas, known as the Parsi Gentlemen to the U.K.
In 1888, there was another tour by Parsi Gentlemen to the U.K., and the first tour by an English team, G.F. Vernon’s XI.
They published the first instructional book on cricket in Marathi in Baroda in 1889.
Cricket enthusiasts formed the Parsi Cricket Club in Shanghai in 1890, Likely establishing it as the first Indian cricket club outside India.
In 1891, H.H. Maharao Umedsinghji of Kotah became the first Indian to take all ten wickets in an innings.
The first Presidency match in Bombay between Europeans and Parsis happened in 1892.
In 1896, Badeshi Ram became the first Indian to score a double century (219) in India.
K.S. Ranjitsinhji and Colonel K.M. Mistri became the first Indians to make a partnership of over 300 (376) for Patiala against Ambala in 1898.
1902 – 1947
The third tour by an English team to India occurred in 1902-3, with Oxford University Authentics setting a new Indian record by scoring 696 against Peshawar.
In 1904, financial reasons led to the cancellation of a proposed All-India tour to England.
In 1905, G.H.S. Fowke scored the first score of over 300 in India with 309 runs in Peshawar.
The first representative match between Hindus and Parsis took place in Bombay in 1906.
In 1907, the Bombay Tournament became triangular with the inclusion of Hindus.
The first Presidency match in Madras between Europeans and Indians occurred in 1908.
India’s first All-India team toured England in 1911.
The Bombay Tournament became Quadrangular with the admission of Muslims in 1912.
P.N. Polishwalla published the first of many cricket publications in 1914.
They started the Sind Tournament in 1916 and then brought it back in 1919.
The first visit to India by a South African Indian team happened in 1922.
The first All India Cricket tournament was held in New Delhi in 1922.
The Lahore Quadrangular Tournament began in 1922-3.
India was admitted to the Imperial Cricket Conference in 1926.
The first visit by an M.C.C. team to India occurred in 1926-7.
The Indian Cricket Board of Control was formed in April 1927.
The first score of over 700 in India was made in 1929.
The Moin-ud-Dowlah Tournament began in 1930-1.
The first Indian cricket magazine commenced in April 1931.
History of Cricket in India: Cricket Tour
The second tour by All India to England took place in 1932.
The first tour by All Ceylon to India occurred in 1932-3.
The D.R. Havewalla scored 515, a record for all grades of Indian cricket, in 1933-4.
The Ranji Trophy was instituted in 1934-5.
The Rohinton Baria Tournament for inter-university cricket began in 1935-6.
The first unofficial tour by Australians to India took place, winning two and drawing two unofficial Tests in 1935-6.
The third tour by All India to England happened in 1936.
The proposed tour to New Zealand by Nawanagar led by Jam Sahib fell through in 1936-7.
The Bombay Tournament became Pentangular in 1937-8.
The sixth tour by an English team, Lord Tennyson’s, occurred in 1937-8.
The Crickinia Indian Cricketers Annual debuted in 1939-40.
Maharashtra made 798 runs against Northern India in 1940, setting a new Indian record.
The second tour by All Ceylon to India took place in 1940-1.
The first tour by All India to Ceylon happened in 1944-5.
Australian Services toured India in 1945-6, winning one and drawing two unofficial tests.
Holkar made 212 runs for eight wickets against Mysore, setting a new record for the highest innings total for India in any grade of cricket in 1945-6.
The fourth tour by All India to England took place in 1946, with remarkable performances by C.T. Sarwate and S.N. Bannerjee.
The world record partnership for the fourth wicket was established by V.S. Hazare and Gul Mohammed with 557 unbroken runs for Baroda against Holkar in 1946-7.
The annual Indian Cricket was instituted, now in its 20th edition in 1946-7.
- The first tour to Australia by a team representing undivided India happened in 1947-8.
- In 1948-9, the first tour to India by West Indies occurred
- The first Commonwealth tour to India took place in 1949-50.
- The second Commonwealth tour to India happened in 1950-1.
- The third M.C.C. tour to India occurred in 1951-2.
- India achieved its first official Test victory in Madras in 1952.
- The first tour to England by post-partition India took place in 1952.
- In 1952-3, the first tour to India by Pakistan happened in
- The first tour to the West Indies by India occurred in 1953.
- The third Commonwealth tour to India happened in 1953-4.
- The first tour to Pakistan by India took place in 1954-5.
- In 1955-6, the first tour by New Zealand to India occurred i
- The first tour to India by an official Australian team happened in 1956.
- The second tour by All India to Ceylon occurred in 1956-7.
- The Sunder C.C. of Bombay toured East Africa in 1957.
- The Indian Cricket-Field Annual first appeared in 1957-8.
- The second tour by West Indies to India happened in 1958-9.
- The first tour by India to East Africa occurred in 1959.
- The seventh tour to the U.K. by India took place in 1959.