India's journey as a Test-playing nation began in 1932, but it was only in 1952 that the team achieved its maiden victory. For the first three decades after Independence, hockey -- India's national game -- continued to rule the hearts and minds of Indians given the sport's rich history in India.

However, the cricket team's 1983 World Cup victory was a major turning point in elevating the game's status in the country. Today, India rules the cricketing world and has a galaxy of star players at its disposal.

HT’s essays capture India’s 75-year journey through these five distinct phases.

CRICKET IN FIVE ERAS

1.

The Foundational Years 1947-1970

India began its journey as a cricketing nation at Lord’s in 1932, but the after-effects of Partition were felt on the cricket team too as a few players who represented the country before Independence migrated to Pakistan. Lala Amarnath became India’s first captain after Independence as the team embarked on its maiden tour of Australia in November 1947. India’s first Test win arrived only five years later, with the 1950s and 60s being a period of gradual growth.

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2.

The Great Awakening 1971-1988

After the adversities of the early years, the 1971 series wins in the Caribbean and England helped Indian cricket forge a new identity. Players like Sunil Gavaskar and Gundappa Vishwanath were exemplary contributors with the bat while Kapil Dev arrived as a promising fast bowling all-rounder in the late 1970s and turned into a superstar in the 1980s.

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3.

The Sachin Phenomenon 1989-2000

Sachin Tendulkar made his debut for India in November 1989 and swiftly captivated the cricketing world with his precocious talent. Through the 1990s, he went on to become the biggest icon in India even though the team had more lows than highs on the field.

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4.

The Fab Four 2001-2006

Sourav Ganguly was appointed India’s captain in 2000. He had the unenvious task of restoring faith in Indian cricket after the mess of the match-fixing saga. Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, who came to be known as the Fab Four, went about helping the Indian team regain its credibility with the aid of others like Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh and Virender Sehwag.

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5.

Rising To The Top 2007-2022

India have become the biggest draw in the cricketing world over the past decade and a half. They began 2007 with the low of exiting the 50-over World Cup at the group stage, but the victory in the inaugural World T20 that year and the launch of the Indian Premier League in 2008 have helped India take centre stage.

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