India’s First Great Cricketing Year Happened 50 Years This Year

India Pakistan fans World Cup PA

When it comes to power in the cricketing world, the Board of Control for Cricket in India, shortened to BBCI, has an awful lot of power. In fact, the BBCI have so much power that the campaign for the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles to include cricket will only be able to go ahead if there is backing from them.

India are a box office team and millions will have followed their Test series in Australia. In the first Test, Australia bowled India out for 36, their lowest ever total, but they bounced back admirably to win the second Test and level the series. They then somehow drew the third Test to leave a decisive fourth. This is a resilience that India have not always had, especially away from home.

Betting on India to Win

Nowadays, you would have to be pretty foolish to bet against India to win a cricket match, whether they are playing at home or away. They have some of the best players on the planet, which is not at all surprising when you consider the fact that India has a population of over one billion and cricket is basically like a religion to them all.

India are now one of the most exciting teams to watch in the cricketing world and many love to boost the entertainment levels by placing bets. If you want to start to bet on cricket online yourself, then you are obviously going to need to have an account with a sports betting site.

Thankfully, there are many comparison sites out there that you can make use of to find the best cricket betting site for you, especially if you are Indian. The above link will take you to what we consider to be the best bookmaker comparison site for Indians. Their experts provide all the information that you need to help you find the best bookie for your cricket betting needs.

Another thing that is becoming more and more popular is fantasy cricket. There used to be a time where you would just play fantasy cricket for fun, but nowadays there are more and more people playing it for money. When a fantasy league is happening, let us say for the Cricket World Cup, the majority of players will have plenty of Indian cricketers in their team.

It Took India Quite Some Time to Get as Good as They Are

While you would not bet against India nowadays, over five decades ago you have been foolish to bet on India to win a cricket match. You would also have not had any Indians in your fantasy cricket team, if there had been such a thing as the Internet back then.

India became a test playing nation back in 1932 and by 1971 they had won just the one series outside of India. However, this all changed in 1971 when they had two series away from home and ended up winning both of them. These series saw the arrival of a superstar batsman as well as four superb spin bowlers. This was exactly what Indian cricket needed after decades of mediocrity and they have not looked back since.

The Tour of the Caribbean

The first series of 1971 was a tour of the Caribbean. Ajit Wadekar, a 29-year-old from Mumbai, was their captain and been chosen as the man to replace Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, who was known as Tiger. The first Test was due to be played at Sabina Park, Jamaica, but bad weather put an end to day one.

On day 2, the famous Garry Sobers won the coin toss and decided to put India in to bat on a damp wicket. His decision seemed to have paid off when the tourists were reduced to 75/5 by Grayson Shillingford and Vanburn Holder. However, Dilip Sardesai had other ideas and hit a brilliant 212 to spark India’s recovery. From 75/5, India somehow reached 387 all out.

Erapilli Prasanna then showcased his skill with the ball. With support from his fellow spinners Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan and Bishen Bedi, the West Indies lost their last 6 wickets for just 15 runs. To make a psychological point, they were asked to follow on. The match went on to end in a draw, but India showed they could play.

In the second Test, the West Indies batted first and they get off to a bad start when Roy Fredericks was out off the first ball of the game. They were soon all out for 214, thanks to the deadly spinning trio of Prasaana, Bedi, and Venkat. When it was time for India to bat, debutant Sunil Gavaskar showed his talent and his 65, along with Sardesai hitting another hundred, helped India to a first innings score of 352.

Venkat picked up five wickets in the West Indian second innings, leaving India needing just 124 to win the test. Gavaskar went on to score 67 not out to help his side to a comfortable victory. The third test was drawn, but it was noticeable for Gavaskar’s maiden Test century and 64 not out in the second.

In the fourth test, a 178 from Sobers helped the West Indies to 501/5, while India were reduced to 70/6 with Gavaskar tasting his first failure in Test cricket. Sardesai led the fight back with a 150, and quick runs from the West Indies left India needing 335 to win. Gavaskar scored another century to ensure that the match ended in a draw.

In the fifth and final Test of the series, Gavaskar scored 124 in the first innings and 220 in the second, helping to secure a draw and a series win in the Caribbean. In his first series for India, he scored a staggering 774 runs with an average of 154. It was clear that India had found the opening batsman that they had been looking for.

A Tour of England

The next challenge for India was England, who had recently beaten Australia in the Ashes. There were no official rankings at the time, but England had beaten all other Test-playing nations recently.

The first Test was played at Lord’s, the home of cricket, and was a close affair. India needed 38 runs with 2 wickets remaining when rain put an end to proceedings. The second Test was played in Manchester and, like it always does in this part of the world, it rained, and the match ended in a draw. This meant that the last Test would decide who won the series.

Rain Old Trafford India New Zealand World Cup PA

After the first three days of the final Test, India were trailing by 71 runs. England seemed to be in command and were 19/0 in their second innings when the ball was chucked to Bhagwath Chandrasekhar, and this was the turning point of the game. Chandra went on to pick up six wickets for just 38 runs and England were all out for 101, meaning India needed just 173 to win their second away Test ever.

Gavaskar was dismissed early and India reached 76/2 going into the final day. On day five, Wadekar was run out and then it took India three hours to score the 97 runs required for victory. The win was described as India’s finest cricketing hour and the Indians in the crowd ran onto the pitch in jubilation. Cricket fans across India stopped what they were doing in disbelief as the news spread.

How Times Have Changed

Nowadays, India are always expected to win by their fans, so the only time anyone across India is going to stop what they are doing in disbelief is when India lose a match or when they are bowled out for 36 runs. There would also have been a bit of disbelief when India somehow managed to save the third Test from the position they were in.

Disbelief is not something that Indian cricket fans have had to experience a lot in recent years, but if a depleted Indian team somehow manage to pull off a positive result in the final Test against Australia at the Gabba, to ensure that they draw or win the series, there is bound to be plenty of disbelief around India as well as the rest of the world.