Not 1932, it was in 1911 when an official 'All Indian' team toured England for the first time. The side was led by Bhupendra Singh, the Maharaja of Patiala. That Indian team played 14 first-class games in England, won two, drew two and lost 10.
However, in June 1932, India marked their footprint in international cricket by contesting in their first-ever Test. The CK Nayudu-led India may have lost the Lord’s Test but made enough of an impression to be considered a serious contender.
In a history spanning nine decades, the 2021 tour is India’s 19th Test tour of England. The five-Test tour also marks the start of the 2021-23 World Test Championship cycle.
India tour of England – History
- 1932: England 1-0 (1)
- 1936: England 2-0 (3)
- 1946: England 1-0 (3)
- 1952: England 3-0 (4)
- 1959: England 5-0 (5)
- 1967: England 3-0 (3)
- 1971: India 1-0 (3)
- 1974: England 3-0 (3)
- 1979: England 1-0 (4)
- 1982: England 1-0 (3)
- 1986: India 2-0 (3)
- 1990: England 1-0 (3)
- 1996: England 1-0 (3)
- 2002: Draw 1-1 (4)
- 2007: India 1-0 (3)
- 2011: England 4-0 (4)
- 2014: England 3-1 (5)
- 2018: England 4-1 (5)
After six consecutive defeats in England since 1932, Ajit Wadekar’s India created history on the country's seventh tour. In 1971, India not only won their first-ever Test in England but also won their first series in that country. It was a landmark moment in Indian history. Why not? As a colony, England had introduced the sport to India. It was India beating the masters in their game and their land.
Trivia: In 1952, India won their first-ever Test, and the opposition were England, the venue being Chennai. Later in the 1961-62 season, India beat England 2-0 at home to register their first-ever series win against their opponents.
India’s next glory moment in England came during the 1986 tour, courtesy of some magnificent batting from Dilip Vengsarkar. India clinched the series by winning the first two Tests. Although India lost the next two tours, there were positives aplenty.
In 1990, a 17-year-old Sachin Tendulkar slammed his first international hundred in the Manchester Test. Over the next 22 years, he registered 99 more, pocketing most batting records along the way. The 1996 tour marked the emergence of Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly, two men who went on to craft their legacy in contrasting yet distinguished ways.
Ganguly's India drew 1-1 in 2002, winning the Leeds Test splendidly. In 2007, Dravid led India to a 1-0 win. Although the remaining three tours resulted in heavy defeats, India managed to win a Test each in 2014 and 2018.
The 2018 series was much closer than the 4-1 result, with both sides contesting closely in four of the five Tests.
India vs England | Head-to-head
Although the absence of Ben Stokes alters the balance slightly in favor of India for the upcoming series, England have enough firepower in the armory, especially in home conditions. Another factor that works against India is the weakness of their batters against swing bowling.
The current side’s batting handicaps in English conditions are further illustrated in the tables below.
Most runs in India vs England Tests in England
Most runs in India vs England Tests in England from current squad
Highest scores in India vs England Tests in England
- Graham Gooch (England): 333 (485) | Lord’s, 1990
- Alastair Cook (England): 294 (545) | Birmingham, 2011
- Geoffrey Boycott (England): 246 (555)* | Leeds, 1967
- Ian Bell (England): 235 (364) | The Oval, 2011
- Sunil Gavaskar (India): 221 (443) | The Oval, 1979
Trivia: Graham Gooch followed his 333 in the 1990 Lord’s Test with a 123 in the second innings. The aggregate of 456 runs is the highest for most runs in a Test.
Most wickets in India vs England Tests in England
Most wickets in India vs England Tests in England from the current squad
Best bowling figures in India vs England Tests in England
- Fred Trueman (England): 8.4-2-31-8 | Manchester, 1952
- Alec Bedser (England): 29.1-11-49-7 | Lord’s 1946
- Ishant Sharma (India): 23-6-74-7 | Lord’s 2014
- Gubby Allen (England): 20-3-80-7 | The Oval, 1936
- Stuart Broad (England): 13.4-6-25-6 | Manchester, 2014
Trivia: Ishant Sharma’s 7 for 49 helped India to a Test win at Lord’s after 28 years. The figures remain the best by an Indian pacer against England in Test cricket. Amar Singh is the only other Indian pacer with a seven-wicket haul against England.
England have named their squad for the first two Tests. Knowing Moeen Ali's success against India, they might be tempted to bring the off-spinning all-rounder into the equation at some stage. Jack Leach hasn’t played a Test in England for two years.
The presence of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja boosts India’s spin artillery – the only department where India hold a significant edge. Not to forget there’s Axar Patel in the reserves, the man who ran through the English line-up in India earlier this year.
The series may end up being a good contest among the bowlers. Despite the absence of Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer, England have enough in their pace tank with James Anderson and Stuart Broad. Ollie Robinson’s impressive form against New Zealand also helps their cause. Sam Curran remains a threat, much like the 2018 tour.
India’s strength in recent times has been its pace battery. In Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur and Umesh Yadav, India have good pace attack. While Bumrah’s form has been a matter of concern, Thakur and Siraj may emerge as the dark horses for this series.
Mohammed Shami’s numbers do not reflect how well he has bowled in England. If he continues his form of 2018 (a glimpse of which we witnessed during the WTC final in June) aided by more luck for the same, there’s the recipe for success.
ICC Test Rankings (India and England)
Test Rankings: England 4; India 2
Test Batting Ranking:
- Virat Kohli (IND) – 4
- Joe Root (ENG) – 5
- Rohit Sharma (IND) – 6
- Rishabh Pant (IND) – 7
- Ajinkya Rahane (IND) – 13
Test Bowling Ranking:
- Ravichandran Ashwin (IND) – 2
- Stuart Broad (ENG) – 7
- James Anderson (ENG) – 8
- Ishant Sharma (IND) – 16
- Ravindra Jadeja (IND) – 17
Test All-Rounder Ranking:
- Ben Stokes (ENG) – 2
- Ravindra Jadeja (IND) – 2
- Ravichandran Ashwin (IND) – 4
The ICC Test rankings are a clear indicator of England lacking enough quality in their batting department. Over the years, Stokes has emerged as one of the main batters in the English middle order. One of the finest all-rounders to play for England, the host will miss Stokes’ experience with the bat the most.
India squad: Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane (vc), Rishabh Pant (wk), Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Mayank Agarwal, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Axar Patel, Cheteshwar Pujara, KL Rahul, Ishant Sharma, Rohit Sharma, Prithvi Shaw, Shardul Thakur, Hanuma Vihari, Umesh Yadav, Suryakumar Yadav
England squad (first two Tests): Joe Root (c), Jos Buttler (wk), Jonny Bairstow (wk), James Anderson, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Dom Sibley, Mark Wood
India vs England 2021: Schedule:
- First Test at Nottingham: August 4-8
- Second Test at Lord’s: August 12-16
- Third Test at Leeds: August 25-29
- Fourth Test at The Oval: September 2-6
- Fifth Test at Manchester: September 10-14