Written by: Prithvi (@Puneite_)
Australia were supposed to host England for the 3rd Test at Melbourne Cricket Ground on 2nd January, 1971. First 3 days were washed out and then the match officials decided to abandon the match and play a one-off 40 overs game consisting of 8 balls per over and thus ODI cricket was born.
India played their 1st ever ODI against England under Ajit Wadekar on July 13th, 1974 at Headingly, almost 3 years after its inception. Since then, it has been one amazing journey for the team who played their 1000th game at Ahmedabad on Sunday, becoming the first team to record this feat.
Winning 519 and losing 431 India have a win percentage of 54.38.
This is a format which has seen the most change over the course of this game’s evolution. From playing with a red ball in whites to playing with coloured jerseys under floodlights, from playing with a 40, 55, 60-over each side game to a 50-over each side game, it has come a long way.
Powerplays, two new balls- the whole dynamics of ODI cricket has changed drastically since it was first played and it does reflect in India’s approach and success that followed over the decades.
It can be concluded that India never took ODI cricket seriously in its initial years and to be fair to them, not many ODIs were played either. India managed to win just 2 games in 1970s and one was against East Africa in 1975 Prudential cup.
Game changing decade for Indian cricket and it’s a no brainer that it was because of the stupendous 1983 World Cup win. It changed the face of the Indian cricket.
BCCI took its first step to become a powerhouse by hosting the first World cup outside England in 1987. Another significant win came in the 1985 Benson and Hedges Cup. The images of Indian team spilling champagne and driving around the MCG in an Audi which was awarded to Ravi Shastri captured minds of plenty.
ODI cricket changed furthermore in no time. The advent of new satellite television channels and liberalisation policies in 1991 played a significant role in changing the course of the game. White ball, 2 new balls, coloured clothing, more and more day/night games were a regular affair by now. India was playing a multinational tournament every other day, even in countries like Singapore, Malaysia and Canada. They had a star, Sachin Tendulkar, and his aura was such that the Television sets used to be switched off as soon as he used to get out. The public was no longer interested if India won or lost, their only concern was “Sachin kitna khela”. He was later joined by Ganguly, Dravid, Kumble & Srinath who shared the onus of winning games for India.
India played 257 ODIs in this decade with a Win-Loss ratio > 1 for the first time. This decade also saw the biggest heartbreak in 1996 World Cup semi-final at home and witnessed a few amazing moments too like Coca Cola Cup final, Sahara Cup and Independence Cup.
India started the century with a new captain after the fixing fall-out and made it to the finals of an ICC event even in that year. In fact, they made it to 3 consecutive finals thereafter. The period saw the emergence of new faces like Yuvraj, Sehwag, Harbhajan, Kaif, Zaheer, Irfan, Gambhir. Though they had no success with any major trophy but two series wins in Pakistan and Sri Lanka, NatWest win in England, CB series win, series win in NZ and Asia cup were notable achievements of that side.
India played 307 Odis and had a W/L ratio of 1.2
The thing that eluded a billion fans for 28 years was finally achieved on the night of 2nd April 2011. This was followed by another ICC final win in 2013. A lot of things changed in this period as 2 new balls were introduced and only 4 fielders were allowed in end overs. T20 mindset was fast catching up with other teams and Indian team was lagging behind because of their approach. From 2013 Champions trophy win till the 2017 CT loss, India had one of its worst ever periods in the format since the 90s. A series loss in each of SENA countries, the 2015 World Cup Semi-final exit and home series loss against South Africa were major setbacks.
Things started to change after the Champions Trophy loss. India again bounced back by winning 5-1 in South Africa, 4-1 in New Zealand, 2-1 in Australia while losing only one series at home since then. This period has also witnessed arguably one of the greatest top-order with Shikhar, Rohit and Virat racking up a total of 69 ODI centuries since they started playing together since 2013. It’s only fitting they go out with a World Cup win next year.