India’s 500th Test match was marked by a felicitation of former Indian captains before the commencement of the first in a series of three fixtures against New Zealand at the Green Park stadium, Kanpur. The former Indian captains that were felicitated includes Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Sunil Gavaskar, MS Dhoni and Kapil Dev. On the occasion, Uttar Pradesh governor Ram Naik presented mementos and shawl to the cricketing greats.
Besides Tendulkar, Gavaskar, Dhoni and Kapil, the other former players who were honoured were Ajit Wadekar, Ravi Shastri, Dilip Vengsarkar, Sourav Ganguly, Anil Kumble, K Srikkanth and Mohammad Azharuddin. Current captain Virat Kohli too was honoured alongwith New Zealand captain Kane Williamson.
On Thursday India start a long season of 13 Tests, all to be played at home, when they face New Zealand at Kanpur. It is also the occasion when India becomes only the fourth team other than England, Australia and West Indies to have played 500 Test matches.
While they have had varying levels of success over the years, the former captains were unanimous in their praise for the current team under Virat Kohli. Sachin Tendulkar said that the “best part about all these players is that they are young and they will play for a while.” “I see this team playing together for 8-10 years and dominating world cricket,” he said.
Kohli is the 32nd player to lead the team since CK Nayudu first took up the mantle to face England at Lord’s in 1932. While most India’s most prominent former captains were present on the occasion, some notable absentees included Bishan Singh Bedi and Gundappa Vishwanath, who were not invited by the BCCI and Rahul Dravid.
IPL chief Rajeev Shukla and BCCI president Anurag Thakur were part of the function. A dinner was organised on Wednesday night in the honour of captains. It was also attended by the Indian team.