Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team are leading 1-0 in the five-match series against West Indies and are all set to extend their advantage in the second ODI at Vizag. However, this game assumes massive importance statistically as India will become the first team to play 950 ODIs, the most by any nation.
The journey of Indian cricket’s rise from laggards in ODIs to being the superpower is remarkable and the current dominance of Kohli’s side is proof of the success.
ODI laggards to World beaters
India’s first ODI series was against England in 1974 but they lost 0-2. In fact, from 1974 till 1979, India managed only one ODI win, which was against Pakistan in 1978 at Quetta which they won by four runs. However, the team had to face humiliation in the 1979 World Cup as they were knocked out in the first round, which included a loss to then-minnows Sri Lanka.
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However, the emergence of a talismanic all-rounder in Kapil Dev changed Indian cricket’s fortunes forever. Kapil took charge of the team and they went on to win the 1983 World Cup, increasing the popularity of ODIs in India. Two years later, they clinched the World Series Championship in 1985 which was held in Australia by beating Pakistan
In 1989, a 16-year-old Sachin Tendulkar made his debut against Pakistan and Indian cricket reached great heights. Tendulkar carried the burden of the Indian team on his shoulders for 24 years and his brilliance was such that he amassed 18426 runs at an average of close to 45 with 51 centuries.
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The exploits of Tendulkar ensured India could challenge any opponent in any conditions and this laid the foundation for the team to become a superpower.
Captain Super Cool
In 2007, following India’s exit in the first round of the World Cup, the team was led by MS Dhoni and he changed Indian cricket forever. After winning the T20 World Cup in South Africa, Dhoni’s captaincy helped India become the second team after the West Indies to win the T20 World Cup, Champions Trophy and the 50-over World Cup.
It has been a roller-coaster 44-year journey for Indian cricket in ODIs. With Kohli at the helm, India will be aiming to ensure that the good times remain.