Cricket is one of the sports that we as a country feel strongly connected to!
Be it Sachin sixes, Dhoni stumping, kaif fielding or wickets taken by Kapil Dev we all celebrate every marvelous victory of the sport with complete devotion and honesty.
But how did it all start?
Let’s take a look
Obviously, cricket was first played in India by the English, and around the year 1848, Parsees joined the Englishmen. This was because the Parsees were the only ones who had the means to set up a cricketing club at that time other sections were so poor that they can’t even think about it.
Gradually, this led to the establishment of a regular European Vs Parsee’s match series in 1895. These series matches were known as the Presidency matches. In 1907, the Hindus followed suit and formed their own gymkhana, and thereafter the presidency matches became a three-way contest with the European Vs the Parsees Vs the Hindus and were renamed to the triangular series. A few years later, in 1912, the Muslims joined in and the series became known as quadrangular series. And eventually in 1937 other communities of the country formed another team called “The Rest”. The series was now called as Pentangular. However, the pentangular series gained popularity.
Many people in the country were against the idea of cricket being played along with these communal lines especially, in the 1930’s and 1940’s when the demands for Pakistan rose, that was a clear call for the end of forming cricket teams based on religious or community lines.
Opponents favored giving more importance to the Ranji Trophy matches (Ranji Trophy was an inter-provincial match where the teams were mixed and started in 1934). Despite that, the Pentangular remained a key annual event in Mumbai (then Bombay).
Amongst all of these developments, India managed to get Test Cricket status in 1932 which was a huge achievement at that time.
A representative Indian team went to England that year and the team that was selected was a careful pick of players from mixed religious and community lines. In fact, this became a norm is all of the teams that were selected and sent to play internationally thereafter.
However after the bloody partition, India lost their some of the best players, the divide in the country caused a tremendous loss to our beloved sport.
Abdul Kardar, the fearless cricketer, migrated to Pakistan in1947 and became the captain of the Pakistani cricket team. Amir Elahi, the talented bowler, represented India in the 1947-48 series against Australia but then moved to Pakistan, Gul Mohammad, who was a dashing left-handed batsman and an outstanding brilliant fielder, represented Indian in 1953 Indo-Pak series and then went to Pakistan and represent that country in the 1955 Indo-Pak series.
While the partition had taken a toll on both the countries, it was surprising and hopeful to see both the countries unite during these matches.
In the 1950 Indo-Pak series when Pakistan players came to India to play, many Sindhi businessmen took the boat down from Karachi to Mumbai too see the match and in 1955, when India toured Pakistan for the first time, the Wagah Border was left open and over 10,000 Indians crossed over to Lahore to see the match, all this happened just a few years after the painful partition that both countries had suffered from which brought hope amongst the people of both the countries, over the years the formats and the team strategies may have changed a lot, but the kind of entertainment that an India-Pakistan match brings is still the same and unmatched by any other domestic or international matches