ICC Members

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Cricket's arrival in India came courtesy of English colonialists in the late 1700s. Calcutta Cricket Club was the first club, formed in 1792 for Europeans only. Indians soon began to play, however, with the game taking prominent hold in Bombay. The Parsees beat the Europeans in 1877 and subsequently toured England, though won only one game. By the late 1920s, India was keen to play Test cricket but had to persuade the ICC it was ready - and it needed a national organizing body, so the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) was formed in 1928. India finally made its Test debut in 1932, after which a national competition followed in 1934, named the Ranji Trophy after KS Ranjitsinhji.

International Competition

India's triumph in the 1983 ICC Cricket World Cup is still talked about today. Its next success in a global tournament came in 2002 in the ICC Champions Trophy, when it was joint winners with Sri Lanka. Heavy rain forced the two finalists to abandon the game - the first such instance of a world cricket trophy being shared. India's cricketers were also heavily feted in 2007 when they won the first ICC World Twenty20 in their own right. They faced close rivals Pakistan in the final in a game watched by a global audience of 400 million people. Under Mahendra Singh Dhoni, India repeated the feat achieved in 1983, by winning the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 at home in Mumbai beating co-hosts Sri Lanka in the final, leading to wide celebrations across the country. India faced Sri Lanka again in the final of the ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh in 2014, where it lost by six wickets. Last year, India won the Champions Trophy in 2013 after beating England by five runs in a rain-truncated game.

Domestic Cricket

The premier domestic competition in India is the Ranji Trophy, founded in 1934, which has consisted of two leagues since 2002-03. It is the main first-class tournament, with teams largely from various states contesting the prize. The Duleep Trophy is also first-class, originally conceived to combat the predictability of the Ranji, while the Irani Trophy is held once a year, featuring a match between the Ranji champions and Rest of India. The Vijay Hazare and Deodhar Trophies are both one-day tournaments, while the Challenger Series comprises the top 36 players in India. The Indian Premier League (IPL) quickly established itself as the domestic tournament to play in for all of the world's leading cricketers, and aspiring young Indians. Rajasthan Royals were inaugural winners in 2008.

All-time Great

Sachin Tendulkar is undoubtedly India's great. Tendulkar, aka The Little Master (he stands at 5' 5"), is feted the world over for his exceptional batting, not least in his home country of India where he graces billboards and TV advertisements, as well as owning a restaurant in his own name in his home city of Mumbai. Known as a complete batsman, his highest score in Tests is 248 not out and he has amassed more than 12,000 runs.

Women's Cricket

India has always been Asia's strongest team - indeed, it is the only side from the continent to have reached the World Cup final, in South Africa in 2005 - and it has never lost an Asia Cup. India had the world's first professional female players, in a sense, for its premier players competed for such clubs as Railways, for whom they were also employees. Today, the game is run by the world's richest board - the BCCI - which offers both financial assistance and a high profile to its players.