India is today the ultimate superpower of world cricket. Wherever it tours, there is palpable fear that sets in the hearts of the opponent teams. India has become an unbeatable force at home. However, even when it is touring, it is a force to reckon with. This development has happened in the past decade. Prior to 2010 and more specifically in the 90s, India did not dominate at the level it does today. For a very long period of time, the team was under development. Sure, they did win a test match here or there but did not evoke the kind of fear they do today.
India traveled to the West Indies, Australia, and England but a series win was never a bare minimum for the fans. Contrastingly, if India managed to draw or win a one-off test, the fans were ecstatic. India played its first test in 1932 in Lord’s. The entire episode of who would captain India in their first match was quite dramatic. It all started with India being invited by the Imperial Cricket Council (Today known as International Cricket Council) in 1926 to become full-time members. Subsequently, India has its first tour to England for a three-match test series in 1932.
The Indian team at that time was still under colonial power so the team selection and captaincy was a royal affair. The rules required a royal family member to head the team. The early captaincy choices were KS Duleepsinhji, nephew of Nawab of Jamnagar, and Iftikhar Ali Khan, Nawab of Pataudi. After pressure from different quarters, the captaincy baton moved between Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala and Maharaja of Vizianagaram. The pair pulled out of the race on account of a lack of experience for the role. Finally, the captaincy settled with Maharaja of Porbander. After a while, when the Maharaja recognized his limitations, he stepped away and nominated CK Naidu.
Nayudu was born on 31 October 1895 in Nagpur. E happened to play senior-level hockey and football but chose cricket. He has past captaincy experience when he captained the Hindu team against the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in December of 1926. He played a splendid knock of 153 and left the MCC team stunned by his performance. He received the title of Colonel when he was invited by the ruler of Holkar to Indore to captain his army team.
On his first match as captain, Nayudu showed enormous grit and courage. He was 37years old but still was enthusiastic on the field. England scored 259 in the first innings while Mohammad Nisar picked a 5fer and Nayudu picked 2 wickets which included their captain, Douglas Jardine. India managed to put up a fight but was all-out meekly with the captain high scoring with a well mad 40. England set a final innings target off 346 and managed to win the match by 158 runs.
Nayudu’s international cricket career spanned for just seven Test matches, his top score of 81 coming in his last Test at Kennington Oval. He was 40 at the time. CK Nayudu led India in the first four matches, losing three and drawing one at Eden Gardens in 1934. India had to wait until 1952 for their maiden victory in international cricket. Nayudu handed over the captaincy to Iftikhar Ali Pataudi in 1946.