Thursday, February 3, 2011

Team: India National Cricket Team

The Indian cricket team is the national cricket team of India. Governed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), it is a full member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) with Test and One Day International (ODI) status.

The Indian cricket team is currently ranked first (as of 5 December 2010) by the ICC in Tests and second (as of 5 December 2010) in ODIs. As of October 2010, the Indian team has played 445 Test matches, winning 108, losing 138 and drawing 198 of its games, with 1 match ending in a tie.[4] India has a relatively better record in One Day Internationals, winning 52% of matches played. Currently, Gary Kirsten is the head coach while Mahendra Singh Dhoni is the captain in all forms of the game. Under the leadership of Dhoni, the Indian team has set a national record for most back-to-back ODI wins (9 straight wins) and has emerged as one of the most formidable teams in international cricket.

Although cricket was introduced to India by European merchant sailors in the 18th-century and the first cricket club in India was established in Calcutta in 1792, India's national cricket team did not play their first Test match until 25 June 1932 at Lord's. They became the sixth team to be granted Test cricket status. In their first fifty years of international cricket, India proved weaker than Australia and England, winning only 35 of the 196 test matches. The team, however, gained strength near the end of the 1970s with the emergence of players such as Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev and the Indian spin quartet—Erapalli Prasanna and Srinivas Venkataraghavan (both off spinners), Bhagwat Chandrasekhar (a leg spinner), and Bishen Singh Bedi (a left-arm spinner). Traditionally much stronger at home than abroad, the Indian team has improved its overseas form since the start of the 21st century. It won the Cricket World Cup in 1983 and was runners-up in 2003 under Sourav Ganguly. India have also been the Runners in 2000 ICC KnockOut Trophy, and the Joint Champions along with Sri Lanka in 2002 ICC Champions Trophy led by Sourav Ganguly in both the instances. India also won the inaugural World Twenty20 under Mahendra Singh Dhoni in 2007. The current team contains many of the world's leading players, including Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag, and Zaheer Khan who hold numerous cricketing world records.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is the governing body for the Indian cricket team and first class cricket in India. The Board has been operating since 1929 and represents India at the International Cricket Council. It is amongst the richest sporting organizations in the world, and it sold media rights for India's matches from 2006-2010 for USD 612,000,000. It manages the Indian team's sponsorships, its future tours and team selection.

The International Cricket Council determines India's upcoming matches through its future tours program. However, the BCCI, with its influential financial position in the cricketing world, has often challenged the ICC's program and called for more tours between India, Australia, Pakistan and England which are more likely to earn more revenue as opposed to tours with Bangladesh or Zimbabwe. In the past, the BCCI has also come into conflict with the ICC regarding sponsorships and the legitimacy of the ICC Champions Trophy.

Selection for the Indian cricket team occurs through the BCCI's zonal selection policy, where each of the five zones is represented with one selector and one of the members nominated by BCCI as the Chairman of the Selection Committee. This has sometimes led to controversy as to whether these selectors are biased towards their zones.

The current chairman of Selection Committee is Krishnamachari Srikkanth. Yashpal Sharma, Narendra Hirwani, Surendra Bhave and Raja Venkat are the other members of the selection committee whose terms started in September 2008 with BCCI holding the rights for a one-year extension.

Sachin Tendulkar, who began playing for India as a 16-year-old in 1989 and has since become the most prolific run-scorer in the history of both Test and ODI cricket, is easily the batsman with the most national achievements. He holds the record of most appearances in both Tests and ODIs, most runs in both Tests and ODIs and most centuries in Tests and ODIs. The highest score by an Indian is the 319 scored by Virender Sehwag in Chennai. It is the second triple century in Test cricket by an Indian, the first being a 309 also made by Sehwag although against Pakistan. The team's highest ever score was a 726/9 against Sri Lanka at Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai in 2009, while its lowest was 42 against England in 1974. In ODIs, the team's highest is 413/5 against Bermuda in the 2007 Cricket World Cup. In the same match, India set a world record of the highest winning margin of 257 runs in an ODI match.

India also has had some very strong bowling figures, with spin bowler Anil Kumble being a member of the elite group of 3 bowlers who have taken 600 Test wickets. In 1999, Anil Kumble emulated Jim Laker to become the second bowler to take all ten wickets in a Test match innings when he took 10 wickets for 74 runs against Pakistan at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi.

Many of the Indian cricket team's records are also world records, for example Sachin Tendulkar's century tally (in Tests and ODIs) and run tally (also in both Tests and ODIs). Mahendra Singh Dhoni's 183 not out against Sri Lanka in 2005 is the world record score by a wicketkeeper in ODIs. The Indian cricket team also holds the record sequence of 17 successful run-chases in ODIs, which ended in a dramatic match against the West Indies in May 2006, which India lost by just 1 run when Yuvraj Singh was bowled by Dwayne Bravo's full toss.

A new and a darker colored jersey of the one-day cricket team was released on 12 February 2009, for the New Zealand tour by Nike. Previously, the Indian cricket team wore a sky blue shirt and pants. The shirt contained a vertical band on the right side with a orange and white colors and the name of their main sponsor, Sahara. The one-day cap was also sky blue with the BCCI logo on the front. The name of the player is printed in orange at the back.

With the advent of the World Series Cup in the 1970s, each team was to don a primary and secondary colour on their uniforms. The Indian team elected to wear light-blue as their primary colour and yellow as their secondary colour. Even during the 1999 Cricket World Cup the secondary colour on the Indian cricket team's clothing has been yellow. However, this has since been removed and replaced with the tricolour. However, in the past the Indian ODI outfits were changed to different shades of blue, mostly darker than the current, and the team donned purple during 1992, and then the sky blue colour for the next decade. Indian team has got a new kit from 2009 which is feroza blue with India written on it in Orange. Currently, from October 2010, the team is once again using a loght blue shade though not as ligh as the previous sky blue one, with India written in orange, and shades of the tri-colour at the sides. The kit sponsor for the Indian Cricket Team is Nike, which in 2005 bought the kit rights in a $27.2 million contract with BCCI.

When playing first-class cricket, in addition to their cricket whites, Indian fielders sometimes wear a sunhat, which is dark blue and has a wide brim, with the BCCI logo in the middle of the front of the hat. Helmets are coloured similarly. Some players sport the Indian flag on their helmet. The current kit sponsor for the Indian team is Nike, Inc.

Cricket is the de facto national sport of India and has a very wide following among the population of India. As a result, stadiums are generally filled to capacity at ODI and 20/20 matches on home soil, however, Tests are poorly attended in some cities. Due to large Indian diaspora in nations like Australia, South Africa, and England, a large Indian fan turnout is expected whenever India plays in each of these nations.

There have been a number of official fan groups that have been formed over the years, including the Swami Army or Bharat Army, the Indian equivalent of the Barmy Army, that were very active in their support when India toured Australia in 2003/2004. They are known to attribute a number of popular Indian songs to the cricket team.

Fan rivalry and cross-border tension has created a strong rivalry between the Indian cricket team and the Pakistani cricket team. . In tours between these two nations, cricket visas are often employed to accommodate for the tens of thousands of fans wishing to cross the border to watch cricket. This intense fan dedication is one of the major causes of the Indian Cricket Board's (BCCI) financial success.

However, there are downsides to having such a cricket-loving population. Many Indians hold cricket very close to their hearts and losses are not received well by the Indian population. In some cases, particularly after losses to Pakistan or after a long string of weak performances, there have been reports of player effigies being burnt in the streets and vandalism of player homes. In many cases, players have come under intense attention from the media for negative reasons, this has been considered as one of the reasons for Sourav Ganguly being left out of the Indian team. At times, when a match is surrounded by controversy, it has resulted in a debacle. For example, when India slid to defeat against Australia at Brabourne Stadium in 1969, fans began throwing stones and bottles onto the field as well as setting fire to the stands, before laying siege to the Australian dressing rooms. During the same tour, a stampede occurred at Eden Gardens when tickets were oversold and India fell to another loss; the Australian team bus was later stoned with bricks. A similar event occurred during the 1996 Cricket World Cup, where India were losing the semi-final to Sri Lanka at Eden Gardens. In this case, the fan behaviour was directed at the Indian team in disappointment at their lacklustre performance. An armed guard had to be placed at the home of captain Mohammad Azharuddin to ensure his safety. Indian fans have also been passionate in their following of Sachin Tendulkar, who has been commonly thought of as one of the best batsmen in the world. Glorified for the bulk of his career, a riot occurred in early 1999 in a Test against Pakistan at Eden Gardens after a collision with Pakistani paceman Shoaib Akhtar saw him run out, forcing police to eject spectators and the game to be played in an empty stadium. Although in 2006, a string of low scores resulted in Tendulkar being booed by the Mumbai crowd when he got out against England.

Often, fans engage in protests regarding players if they believe that regionalism has affected selection, or because of regional partisan support for local players. In 2005, when Sourav Ganguly was dropped due to lack of form, Ganguly's home state of West Bengal erupted in protests. India later played a match against South Africa in Kolkata, West Bengal. The Indian team was booed by the Bengali crowd who supported South Africa instead of India in response to Ganguly's dropping. Similar regional divisions in India regarding selection have also caused protests against the team, with political activists from the regional Kalinga Kamgar Sena party in Orissa disrupting the arrival of the team in Cuttack for an ODI over the lack of a local player in the team, with one activist manhandling coach Greg Chappell. Similar treatment was handed to India's Marathi captain Sunil Gavaskar in the 1980s by Bengali crowds, with consecutive Tests in Calcutta requiring police intervention due to crowd rioting.

However, it should be noted that a successful string of results, victories against arch-rivals Pakistan or victory in major tournaments such as the World Cup are greeted with particular ecstasy from the Indian fans.

The Indian women's cricket team has a much lower profile than the men's team. For all national women's cricket teams, the female players are paid much less their male counterparts, and the women's teams do not receive as much popular support or recognition as the men's team. The women's teams also have a less packed schedule compared to men's teams and play fewer matches. The Indian women's cricket team played its first Test match in 1976/7, when they drew with the West Indies in a six-match series.

The Women's Cricket World Cup was held in India in 1978 and featured 4 teams. Despite this, India failed to win either of their two matches. Their next appearance in the Test and ODI circuit was against Australia in 1984, in which the Test series was tied but the ODI series was lost in a humiliating whitewash.

The Indian women's cricket team has since picked up some form, reaching the finals in the last World Cup, but then losing to Australia. The Women's Asia Cup of 2005-06 was won by India, who beat Sri Lanka in the final. They also beat the West Indies in the 2004-05 season, winning the 5 ODI series 5-0. This year the Indian women's team lost to English women's team 4-0 in an ODI Series but beat them in the Twenty20 International and 1-0 in the Test series.


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