India will celebrate turning 70 as an independent country On Tuesday, August 15. It is a special moment for in the last seven decades, Indians have registered feats in several fields, including cricket. In fact, cricket is one discipline where India's pride has only headed north and the game has established the country's identity, on a global scale.
Looking back at the country's journey in cricket (in all three forms), we list some of India's most memorable moments from the 22 yards:
India defeated England in Chennai Test in 1952:
Led by Vijay Hazare, India tasted their first win in Tests when they defeated England, their former colonial masters, by an innings and 8 runs in Chennai (then Madras) in February 1952. A couple of hundreds from Pankaj Roy and Polly Umrigar and a fascinating bowling performance from Vinoo Mankad saw India drawing the five-game series 1-1 by winning the final match. It was the first time in seven series that India had remained undefeated.
India defeated Pakistan in their den in 2004:
This is perhaps the most historic moment in India's cricketing history. Led by Sourav Ganguly (and Rahul Dravid in two Tests after he got injured), India won the one-day series 3-2 and the Test series 2-1 to conquer a difficult front. This series also had a political significance as the then Atal Behari Vajpayee government had used cricket for bettering ties with the neighbouring country.
India defeated New Zealand in an away series in 1968:
This was a special series for it was the first time that India bagged a series overseas. Led by Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, the visitors won the four-game series 3-1. This victory had seen India winning Test series in the West Indies and England inside a few years, giving a boost to its cricketing prowess.
India defeated Australia in 2001:
This is one of the most memorable victories for India in the recent times. Led by Ganguly, India faced the invincible Australian team led by Steve Waugh and also lost the first Test of the series. The Aussies were on a winning streak of 16 Tests. They were also looking set to win the 17th as they forced India to follow-on in the second Test played in Kolkata, the home ground of the skipper. What happened thereafter will make even a fairy tale look ordinary.
A once-in-a-lifetime 281 by VVS Laxman and his mammoth 376-run partnership with Dravid (180) saw India turning the tables and humbling the mighty Australians in the same Test despite following on. India then won the third and final game as well to bag a historic 2-1 win.
India defeated Sri Lanka in its den in 2017:
This happened just a day before India turned 70. Virat Kohli's side led a young Indian side to annihilate Sri Lanka 3-0 in a three-game series on its soil to earn its maiden whitewash abroad in a series that featured a minimum of three Tests.
Winning the 50-over World Cups in 1983 and 2011:
India's biggest achievement in cricket since independence has been its twin World Cup wins – under the captaincies of Kapil Dev in 1983 and Mahendra Singh Dhoni in 2011, respectively.
The feat by Kapil's Devils was special for India were then a faceless side in world cricket and had changed the course of its sporting history by winning the trophy, beating the strongest side in the world in those days – the West Indies. The lifting of the trophy by Dhoni's men 28 years later was also significant for it had ended the winning streak of Australia, who had won the title for three consecutive times between 1999 and 2007.
Winning the T20 World Cup in 2007:
This was another shot in the arm for Indian cricket, just like the 1983 WC victory. After the senior players refused to show interest in the inaugural T20 World Cup (they already had a terrible outing in the 50-over WC played in the West Indies earlier that year) and a young outfit was sent to the competition which was held in South Africa under the captaincy of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
The Indians returned with the trophy after beating Pakistan in the final (they also beat Pak in a group match) and it was the mark of a new dawn in India's cricket as well as in the career of Dhoni who went to become the country's most successful captain later.
Winning the World Championship of Cricket in 1985:
Two years after the first World Cup win, India needed another major triumph to wipe out the fluke theory and Sunil Gavaskar's men did it with style, winning a mini World Cup in the form of the World Championship of Cricket, defeating Pakistan (twice including in final), England, Australia and New Zealand, Down Under.
The iconic pictures of Champion of Champions Ravi Shastri winning an Audi and the entire Indian team taking a ride on it have remained immortal in the annals of India's cricketing history.