1. India’s first Test victory in England in 1971 ended England’s record run of 26 Tests without defeat
2. India’s successful chase of 406 runs in the Port of Spain Test in 1976 was only the second time a score of over 400 had been chased successfully in Test cricket
3. The same Test was the only instance where Gavaskar and Vishwanath scored a century in the same innings
4. Maninder Singh was the last batsman dismissed in the tied Test between India and Australia in 1986 at the Chepauk in Chennai
5. Ravi Shastri has a 100% record as Test skipper, leading India to victory in the only Test he ever captained, versus the West Indies in 1988
6. Narendra Hirwani has the best ever figures by any bowler on Test debut— 16 for 136 against the West Indies at Chepauk in January, 1988
7. M. Azharuddin began his career with centuries in his first three Tests—110 in Calcutta, 48 and 105 in Chennai and 122 and 54* in Kanpur, all against England
8. In 1996, Sourav Ganguly became the third player in Test history to score tons in his first two Test innings—131 at Lord’s and 136 at Nottingham
9. Lala Amarnath is the only Indian Test cricketer to have two sons who played for India—Mohinder and Surinder
10. Jehangir Khan played four Tests for India. His son Majid Khan played 63 Tests for Pakistan, scoring eight tons
11. Jehangir Khan was supposed to captain India for a tour of Sri Lanka, which was cancelled because of WWII
12. Sourav Ganguly is the only cricketer to have won four successive Man of the Match awards in ODIs—against Pakistan in the 1997 Sahara ODI series in Canada
13. Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli set a world record partnership of 664 runs in the Harris Shield, an inter-school tournament in Mumbai.
14. In a World Cup match against England in 1975, Gavaskar batted 60 overs and scored only 36 runs
15. India was once all out twice in a single day of a Test—against England in 1952 when they were dismissed for 58 and 82
16. In Durban, in ’92, Sachin Tendulkar became the first batsman to be given out by the 3rd umpire when he was run out by a throw from Jonty Rhodes.
17. In the last Test of the ’59-60 series against Australia, M.L. Jaisimha became the first cricketer to bat on all five days of a Test match.
18. Vivek Razdan got 5 wickets in his second Test in the 1989-90 series against Pakistan but never played another Test. He made his Test debut before playing a single first class match.
19. Ganguly and Rahul Dravid shared a record 318-run stand in the ’99 World Cup match against Lanka at Taunton
20. Ganguly replaced his elder brother, Snehashish, in the Bengal team for the 1989-90 Ranji trophy final against Delhi
21. Nilesh Kulkarni is the only Indian to take a wicket with his first ball in Test cricket, dismissing Marvan Attapattu in Colombo in the 1996-97 test series
22. Tinnu Yohannan is technically the first player from Kerala to play a Test
23. G.R. Vishwanath, the other little master, is married to Sunil Gavaskar’s sister Kavita. Sunil’s uncle, Madhav Mantri, and son, Rohan, have played for India.
24. Wazir Ali and Nazir Ali were the first brothers to play Tests for India, making their debut in India’s first ever Test against England at Lord’s. Wazir’s son, Khalid Wazir, played for Pakistan.
25. Dilip Vengsarkar is the only Indian batsman to thrice score a century at Lord’s—in the 1979, ’82 and ’86 series
26. Ajit Agarkar has a Test century at Lord’s. He got 109* in 160 balls in the 2002 series, his only Test ton.
27. Ashish Kapoor played for 5 states in Ranji Trophy: Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Tripura
28. Yuvraj Singh’s father, Yograj Singh, played a single Test and six ODIs. He later became a Punjabi film-star and acted in over twenty films.
29. Murali Vijay is the only Indian batsman to score 2 tons in the IPL: 127 vs Rajasthan in 2010 and 113 vs Delhi in 2012, both at the Chepauk
30. The Sahara Pune Warriors became the first team to lose nine games in a row, between April 24 and May 19, 2012
31. In the inaugural 2008 IPL auction, V.V.S Laxman was the only player to refuse icon status, as he wanted his team, the Deccan Chargers, to pick the best possible team for the tournament
32. In the 2001 series against Australia, V.V.S. Laxman and Rahul Dravid batted the entire 4th day of the Calcutta Test. India won the Test after following on from the first innings.
33. In the 21 Tests India won under Ganguly’s leadership, Rahul Dravid scored at an average of 102.84 with 9 hundreds and 10 fifties in 32 innings
Be Brylcreemed, Be Mankaded...or Just Be Sunny
34. Apart from being successful cricketers, Anil Kumble, Javagal Srinath, K. Srikkanth, R. Ashwin and E.A.S. Prasanna are qualified engineers
35. Playing his first Test against England in the 1976-77 series, Yajurvindra Singh took 5 catches in the first innings and another two in the second at forward short leg, equalling the world record held by Greg Chappell
36. K.S. Ranjitsinhji was India’s first Wisden cricketer of the year in 1897. The first to win it while representing India was C.K. Nayudu, in 1933.
37. In the 1964 Chennai Test vs England, Bapu Nadkarni bowled 27 consecutuve maidens, giving away 5 runs in 32 overs
38. In 1974 against England, Madan Lal was dismissed by a ball from Mike Hendrick that uprooted the off and leg stump, but left the middle intact!
39. On February 3, 1962, Indian captain Nari Contractor suffered a career-ending head injury from a bouncer bowled by Windies speedster Charlie Griffith. Sir Frank Worrell was the first player to donate blood to Contractor, which saved his life. In remembrance, the Cricket Association of Bengal organises a blood donation drive on this day every year.
40. Mankaded! The running out of a non-striker by removing the bails at the bowler’s end is named after Vinoo Mankad, who twice ran out Bill Brown thus in the 1947-48 tour of Australia.
41. Sunil Gavaskar’s son is named after three greats of cricket. Rohan Jaivishva is a tribute to West Indian great Rohan Kanhai and Indian legends M.L. Jaisimha and G.R. Vishwanath.
42. In the 1980 Bombay Golden Jubilee Test against England, Indian captain Vishwanath recalled Bob Taylor after the umpire had declared him out. Taylor and Botham went on assemble a
171-run stand, which won the game.
43. Rajinder Goel, a left arm spinner, represented Patiala, South Punjab, Delhi and Haryana in an exceptional domestic career. His 640 wickets in the Ranji Trophy is a record—the next player on the list, S. Venkataraghavan, has 530. Rajinder never got picked for India and retired after the 1984-85 season.
44. Former England captain Nasser Hussain’s father Jainad has played for Madras in the Ranji trophy
45. In the 1984-85 season, Ravi Shastri scored 36 runs off a single over delivered by Baroda spinner Tilak Raj
46. Dilip Vengsarkar and Ashok Mankad have both been dismissed when their cap fell on the stumps and dislodged the bails: Dilip against Australia at Brisbane in the 1977-78 series; Ashok against England at Edgbaston in 1974
47. Indian wicketkeeper Farokh Engineer was the first Indian cricketer to model for Brylcreem, a product also endorsed by the likes of Australian star Keith Miller, and England’s Dennis Compton
48. Engineer won the first ever man of the match award for India in a World Cup match. He scored an unbeaten 54 as India cruised to a 10-wicket victory
49. Off-spinner Erapalli Prasanna took 189 wickets in just 49 Test matches for India. He could have taken far more. After playing just two Tests, he left competitive cricket for five years to complete his degree in engineering.
50. Orissa batsman Ranjib Biswal is the only Indian first class cricketer to be elected MP while still playing competitive cricket. In 1996, he won the Jagatsinghpur constituency while he was still representing Orissa in the Ranji trophy tournament.
51. Sunil Gavaskar never wore a helmet for his entire cricket career against some of the most fearsome fast bowlers. In the 1983-84 series against Pakistan, he started wearing a modified skull cap under his floppy hat.
52. At 21 years and 28 days, Kapil Dev was the youngest cricketer to complete the 1,000-run-100-wicket double. Taslim Arif was his 100th Test wicket, and in the same Test against Pakistan, his 25th, Kapil went past 1,000 runs.
53. Chetan Sharma took India’s maiden ODI hat-trick in the 1987 World Cup against New Zealand. However, he had to share the Man Of The Match award with Sunil Gavaskar, who scored his only ODI century in the same match.
54. Spin maestro Bishen Singh Bedi has taken the most first class wickets by an Indian bowler. His 1,560 first class wickets include 266 Test wickets. He was extremely successful for the English county Northamptonshire, and had a first class career extending 20 years.
55. Well-known journalist Rajdeep Sardesai has also played first class cricket, representing Oxford University in the 1987 season. His father, Dilip Sardesai, got five Test hundreds for India and was one of the stars of India’s win in the West Indies in 1971.
56. Mansur Ali Khan ‘Tiger’ Pataudi and his father, The Nawab of Pataudi (sr), who played for England and India, both represented Oxford university. Other well-known Oxford University
cricketers include Imran Khan, Douglas Jardine, Colin Cowdrey and C.B. Fry.
57. Chandu Borde has actually played Test cricket with two generations of Mankads. He played with Vinoo Mankad in the 1959 Chennai Test against the West Indies. Ten years later, he played alongside Vinoo’s son Ashok Mankad in the Bomby Test against the visiting Australian team.
The Soaring, Sinking ’70s, the Devil and the Azure Sea
58. Mohammed Azharuddin retired hurt on 6 with an injury to his left hand against the South Africans at the Eden Gardens, Calcutta, in 1996. He resumed the next day to score a scintillating 109 off just 78 balls, the eighth fastest Test century of all time.
59. Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi became India’s youngest ever Test skipper when he was asked to captain India against the West Indies at Bridgetown in the 1961-62 series. He was 21 years and 77 days at the time.
60. In his 50th Test match against the West Indies in 1983, Kapil Dev scored a hundred, took his 200th Test wicket and became the youngest cricketer (24 years and 68 days) to do the 2,000 run-200 wicket double
61. The first game at the Eden Gardens under floodlights was a Hero Cup ODI game against South Africa in 1993. Sachin Tendulkar famously bowled the last over of the match with South Africa needing 6 runs, and managed to win the match for India.
62. Former Indian Test batsman Sanjay Manjrekar is an accomplished singer who released an album titled Rest Day, featuring him singing the favourite songs of all his India teammates. Vinod Kambli also sang a track on the same album.
63. Wicketkeeper Ralph Legall of the West Indies and Cota Ramaswami of India share an interesting record. They are so far the only Test cricketers to have represented their country in the Davis Cup tennis tournament.
64. Kapil Dev is the first ever Test player to take part in 50 consecutive Tests more than once. He played 66 straight Tests between 1978-84 before being dropped for an ‘irresponsible’ shot in the Delhi Test against England. He then played 65 more consecutive Tests between 1985 and 1994.
65. Mohammed Nissar was possibly one of the fastest Indian bowlers ever. He took 25 wickets in six Test matches between 1932 and 1936. In India’s inaugural Test against England, he became the first Indian to take 5 wickets in a Test innings.
66. Off-spinner S. Venkataraghavan was the Indian captain for the first two World Cups in 1975 and 1979. He later became a respected international umpire, officiating in 73 Tests and 52 ODIs before retiring in 2004.
67. In the 1968 Test series against New Zealand, Indian fast bowler Ramakant ‘Tiny’ Desai once scored 32 not out despite having his jaw broken by a bouncer.
68. India refused to continue a one-day international match against Pakistan at Sahiwal during the 1978-79 series when Sarfraz Nawaz bowled four consecutive bouncers and the umpire refused to take action. At the time, India was in a comfortably placed position to win.
69. The only Indian bowler to be no-balled for throwing in a Test match was Abid Ali in 1968. He threw the ball deliberately, protesting the suspect action of New Zealander Gary Bartlett.
70. G. Kishenchand made a duck in each of the five Test matches that he played. He also bowled the delivery that Don Bradman despatched to complete his 100th first class century.
71. Kapil Dev did not take a single wicket against the Australians in the 1986-87 home series. However, he led the batting averages with 60.00.
72. Only once have the great Indian spin quartet of Bishen Singh Bedi, Bhagwath Chandrashekhar, Srinivasa Venkataraghavan and Erapalli Prasanna played in the same Test. It was against England at Edgbaston in 1967. India lost the match by 132 runs.
73. India’s Test win at the Oval in 1971 was their first victory in England in 22 attempts. They continued the good work from their tour of the West Indies earlier in the year, which
they won 1-0.
74. The first five Indian batsmen to score a Test century on debut never made another. The jinx was broken by G.R. Vishwanath, who went on to get a total of 13 Test centuries.
75. In 1993, by scoring 227 against Zimbabwe, Vinod Kambli became the first Indian batsman to score double centuries in consecutive Test matches. His previous knock was 224 against England at the Wankhede stadium.
76. C.K. Nayudu was India’s first captain at the age of 36. He played in seven Tests, all against England. He had a brother, C.S. Nayudu, who also represented the country.
77. Gavaskar scored a brilliant 96 on a minefield of a pitch, against Pakistan in a losing cause, his last Test for India in 1987. The next highest scorer for India was ‘extras’, with 27.
78. The Maharaja of Banswara, Hanumant Singh, was an able Test cricketer, and, later, administrator. He once fielded for both sides as a substitute in the 2nd Test of the England-India series in 1961-62.
79. Against England in 1963-64, Budhi Kunderan became the first wicketkeeper to score 500 or more runs in a Test series.
80. India’s lowest Test score was 42 against England at Lord’s in 1974. Eknath Solkar was the top scorer with 18 runs.
The author is director, Kolkata Knight Riders