The Indian cricket team played its first ever international Test match in 1932 and in the last nine decades, they have achieved a lot.
During the early years, Lala Amarnath Bharadwaj was one of the most influential figures in the Indian side and also captained the team multiple times.
Renowned as a man of many talents who could bat, bowl and keep wickets, Amarnath made his debut in the second-ever Test match played by the Indian team in 1933 against England. After scoring a hundred in that match, Lala Amarnath became the first Test centurion in Indian cricket.
Lala Amarnath - First Test centurion in Indian cricket
Batting at No. 3 on his international debut, Lala Amarnath made 118 in the second innings against England in Mumbai. He got a good start in the first innings as well, scoring 38 runs.
The English side led by Doughlas Jardine had a difficult time containing Amarnath. However, it was the visiting side who emerged victorious, picking up a nine-wicket win. It was the only century scored by the cricketer in his 19-year career.
Due to some dressing room spats between him and Maharaja of Vizianagaram, Amarnath was dropped from the team in 1936 and he did not play for the country for 12 years, between 1934 and 1946. However, upon his return, the Punjab-born cricketer was named captain.
Lala Amarnath was the first captain to lead the Indian cricket team post the country’s independence. He led Team India during its maiden tour to Australia in 1947-48. This tour was also his last assignment as an Indian cricketer on foreign soil.
Lala Amarnath played three more Test series’ for India, against West Indies, England and Pakistan.
The Indian cricket icon also holds the distinction of captaining India in their first-ever Test series against arch-rivals Pakistan in 1952-53. India beat Pakistan 2-1 in the series and in the process, finally registered their first-ever Test match win. The historic victory, with Lala Amarnath as captain, came at the Feroz Shah Kotla in the series opener.
Lala Amarnath’s sons Mohinder and Surinder represented India as well, and his other son Rajinder played First-Class cricket. Mohinder Amarnath was a part of India’s 1983 World Cup-winning team, where he won the Player of the Match in the semi-final and the final.
Photo Credit: Alamy