It's not a game, but religion.
Cricket in India is like brushing your teeth; you can't escape it. Everyone knows this game, had played this game, and even there was a time when more than 50% of the Indian youth wanted to play this game to become an Indian cricket player, but only some of them were able to reach their destination. Those who failed in reaching their destination loved walking this path. And maybe this is the reason that Indian cricketers are as famous as Hollywood and Bollywood celebrities.
Becoming a professional cricketer is not an easy task, but some of the finest of Indian athletes have not only taken up this responsibility, but they also lead from the front to set an example in front of the team and world. In the game of cricket, we call them 'Captain.'
India has seen more than 32 cricketing captains in its history, and some of them were for the very shorter duration, like one year or less. But, on the contrary, there are some Indian cricket captains, who've worked so hard with their team by inspiring them, motivating them, that they've captained the team for more than 10 years, and won World Champions tag for the nation.
Leading a team is not easy, it sucks every bit of energy that you have, and still asks for more. Keeping the teamwork alive, managing the cricket spirit, self-performance, promoting and demoting players, making everyone feel that they're the main part of this engine, and keeping the team together during a tough time is just an example of what captain does every day. It not only affects them mentally, but it also shows on their skin and physical appearance. We bring to you, some of the most amazingly talented Indian cricket captains, and their transformation over the years.
Nanik Amarnath Bhardwaj, or commonly known as Lala Amarnath was Indian test cricketer. The best thing about his career is, he is the first Indian cricketer to score a Test century. He scored this century in his debut match.
Lala Amarnath is also Independent India's first Test captain, and winner of the highest civilian award, Padma Bhushan in 1991. He died in the year 2000.
Mansoor Ali Khan or Tiger Pataudi was Nawab of Bhopal. He is considered as one of the greatest Indian cricket captains; he leads Indian cricket team for the first time when he was 21 years old. He is the recipient of Arjuna Award, 1964 and Padma Shri, 1967. He died in the year 2011, because of respiratory failure.
Sunil Gavaskar is former Indian cricket player, who used to open innings for India as batsmen. He is regarded as the greatest cricketer ever existed in the world to start innings for his team. Sunil Gavaskar has set many world records by scoring centuries. He is the first cricketer to score 10,000 Test match runs. And the only person to score test centuries in both the innings three times.
Kapil Dev Ramlal Nikhanj, better known as Kapil Dev, is a former Indian cricket captain. He is the first leader who leads Indian team in the 1983 world cup and wins it in West-Indies. Not only winning the world cup, but he is one of the greatest all-rounders of all time. And after retirement, he went on to coach national cricket team from 1999 to 2000.
Dilip Vengsarkar took over the captaincy from Kapil Dev after the 1987 world cup, despite criticism that he missed the semi-final match due to a stomach disorder. His captaincy period was turbulent, and he had to drop captaincy because of failed West-Indies tour in 1989.
Ravishankar Jayadritha Shastri or Ravi Shastri is former Indian cricket team player and former director of Indian cricket team. He is the second batsmen in the world to hit six sixes in an over. Following his poor form, failed performance at crucial times, and injuries, he captained India only in one Test match. He has served cricket all his life in many roles, and still doing the same.
Srikkanth was opening batsmen for Indian cricket team, and an aggressive style player. He captained India in four test match series against Pakistan, and all of them were drawn.
Mohammad Azharuddin, he is the best, and worst side of the Indian cricket team captains fraternity. He is the one responsible for bringing the modern style of ethics in cricket by giving the much-required attention to physical fitness of the players. Azharuddin is also one of the most successful captains in the history of cricket, having captained India for more than nine years. This is his best side.
For the worst one, he is accused of fixing a match in exchange for an enormous amount of money in the year 2000. He is banned from cricket in India for life. On November 8, 2012, Andhra Pradesh high court lifted the ban, calling it 'unsustainable.'
Cricket has transformed many players, but it has given them so much in return that cricket may vanish from the earth, but these players will always be remembered for their performances and the way they entertained the audience. When it comes to cricket, India is the land of God. It has produced players like Sunil Gavaskar and legendary Sachin Tendulkar who are famous around the world.
Sachin captained India in more than 24 matches, but only managed to win four and faced nine losses. His form also diminished under the pressure of captaincy, and very soon he decided to hand over the captaincy to Saurav Ganguly and laser-focused on his batting.
Saurav Chandidas Ganguly, affectionately known as Dada, is yet another example of the most successful cricketing captain for India. Tough he only captained for less than eight years, India only achieved new heights, and glories during his tenure. Cricket transformed him completely, but that never bothered him, and he is still serving this game in many forms.
Rahul Dravid, who is hailed as The Wall, started playing cricket at the age of 12 and went on to represent Karnataka under 15, under 17, and under 19 levels. He is the fourth highest run scorer after Ricky Ponting, Sachin Tendulkar, and Jacques Kallis. Known for his calm temperament, Rahul Dravid was offered to Captain Indian in 2007 world cup, but this turned into a disastrous selection as India failed, and was out of the campaign at the group stage. By this time, India had struggled a lot and faced criticism for not performing up to the mark. Dravid decided to quit his captaincy.
Anil Radha Krishna Kumble (Anil Kumble) is presently the head coach of Indian cricket team, and former Indian cricket player, who also captained the team. He is the winner of Arjuna award, Padma Shri, and ICC Hall of Fame awards. He captained Indian in almost 14 matches, out of which 5 India lost, six were drawn, and in three matched India registered its victory.
Virendra Sehwag is former Indian cricket player, and often referred as one of the most destructive opening batsmen in the world. He had also captained the Indian cricket team but performed averagely. Captaincy transformed him, and it was noticeable that the captaincy affected his physical and mental health which reflects in his performance during that period. India was longing to have a captain that can be trusted with the responsibilities, without affecting his natural game.
And that's when India found Captain cool Mahendra Singh Dhoni. He came in front to take the responsibility and changed the face of the team completely. Indian cricket team was now full of young players, and talent. As Indian captain, he first registered a remarkable victory against Pakistan in the first T20 world cup and earned that world T20 champions tag for India.
He kept his temperament calm, and worked so hard on the strategies, that India very soon became the winner of ICC Champions trophy as well. In the year 2011, Mahendra Singh Dhoni re-wrote the history and won ICC cricket world cup for India by hitting six.
He has captained India in more than 65 matches, out of which India has won 27, lost 18, and 15 were drawn. The pressure of captaincy was never maintained so well before, and while you're reading this, he is still leading the team on the ground. Cricket and captaincy transformed him; it is visible. And no matter what, he'll always remain the best captain in the history of Indian cricket for winning all the ICC titles for his nation.
This man is often compared with Sunil Gavaskar, and Sachin Tendulkar, but he is one of his kind. Virat Kohli is already leading the Indian Test team and would be leading ODI team in the future, but he is the part of the history that is still in the making. Once this man is trained, and ready under the guidance of legendary cricketers of India and captain cool MS Dhoni, then I'm sure India is going to achieve new heights.
Cricket has transformed these players, but they never look back it as a transformation. It's a journey for them, they've lived each and every moment of it.
That's all, folks!
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