As we all know, cricket is India’s national obsession, with players being treated as superstar celebrities all around the world on and off the field.
The Indian fans have shown their passion and undying love to the Men in Blue, both at home and abroad in which they filled various grounds around the globe. Apart from that, they are active on social media when cricket is involved, with the reach easily hit tens of millions of impressions.
Cricket has a glorious history in that country that is too much to mention in one sitting.
Which is why on the maiden piece for SportsMania, we take a look at four of their best moments in the 21st Century, ahead of their hosting of the 2023 Cricket World Cup.
Yuvraj Singh’s Full Monty
The lefty from Punjab created history in Durban fifteen years ago, doing so against England in the inaugural edition of the ICC Twenty20 championship.
It happened on the 18th over in the Indian innings, in which he took all six balls by Stuart Broad out of the Kingsmead boundaries, in which it was the second time it has happened in international play, the first between two Test-playing nations.
Yuvi’s six sixes were a game-changer for India as they went on to win the whole thing.
Dravid and Laxman’s follow-on fortress
Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman built a massive wall in Kolkata’s fabled Garden of Eden, as their fourth-day stand in the second test against Australia in 2001 remains one of the country’s best moments in Test Cricket. It’s no wonder that Steve Waugh consider India as the “Final Frontier”.
Having been forced to follow on by the tourists after their atrocious opening innings of 171, the pair combined for a 376-run partnership en route to a declared 657-7 second innings.
Dravid and Laxman’s work was even rewarded by Harbhajan Singh, with the Turbanator took six wickets to foil the Australian run chase, as India went to win the Border-Gavaskar trophy after this test.
Dhoni’s World Cup-winning six
MS Dhoni showed why he is called Captain Cool in pressure-packed situations, especially in the 2011 Cricket World Cup final against Sri Lanka.
Chasing the visitor’s 274 in Mumbai’s Wankhede, the wicket-keeping skipper launched the title-clinching six for the hosts who won by six wickets.
What made it better was the commentary of Ravi Shastri himself, as it was fitting that he finished it off in style.
Ganguly takes his shirt off at Lord’s
The moment that defined Indian cricket in the 21st century did come not just on the field of Lord’s, but also on their balcony in 2002 when Sourav Ganguly took off his long sleeves.
Chasing England’s 325 in the finale of the three-nation NatWest Series, India saw their comeback nearly slipping away when Anil Kumble got the dreaded duck when trailing by 11 with 14 balls remaining.
However, Mohammad Kaif spared his blushes by scoring 10 of the last 12 runs they needed, winning the match by just two wickets in one of the most dramatic One-Day International matches in history prompting his captain to reveal his hairy chest, which was a jibe to Andrew Flintoff’s similar gesture in Mumbai a couple of months prior.