He captained India in 14 matches between 1951 and 1953. In India’s 25th Test match, nearly 20 years after India achieved Test status, he led India to its first ever Test cricket win (and the only victory under his captaincy) in 1951–52 against England at Madras.
In the post-independence era of India, where a young nation sought its identity on the international stage, emerged a cricketer whose leadership and skill would etch his name into the annals of the country’s cricketing history. Vijay Hazare, a name synonymous with determination and cricketing prowess, captained India during a pivotal period, leading the team to its first-ever Test cricket victory.
Born on March 11, 1915, in Sangli, Maharashtra, Vijay Samuel Hazare exhibited a natural flair for cricket from a young age. His talent did not go unnoticed, and soon he found himself representing Bombay in the Ranji Trophy, where his performances caught the attention of selectors at the national level.
Vijay Hazare made his debut for the Indian cricket team in 1946, during the country’s formative years as an independent nation. A formidable batsman with a solid technique and a gritty resolve, Hazare quickly became a mainstay in the Indian lineup.
In 1951, the cricketing world witnessed a historic moment when Vijay Hazare took charge as the captain of the Indian cricket team. His leadership skills were put to the test as he steered the team through a challenging period. The pinnacle of his captaincy came in India’s 25th Test match, nearly two decades after the nation achieved Test status.
The setting was Madras (now Chennai), and the opponent was England, a team that had historically been a formidable force. On February 10, 1952, Hazare led India to its first-ever Test cricket win, a momentous occasion in the country’s cricketing journey. The victory was a testament to Hazare’s leadership, determination, and the collective spirit of the Indian team.
Under Hazare’s captaincy, India’s cricket team demonstrated resilience and the ability to compete at the highest level. His calm demeanor and strategic acumen endeared him to his teammates, fostering a sense of unity and purpose within the squad.
Despite the challenges faced by the Indian team during Hazare’s captaincy, including limited resources and experience, he instilled a belief that success was attainable. The victory against England in 1951–52 remains the only Test win under Hazare’s leadership, but its significance resonates in the hearts of cricket enthusiasts as a watershed moment in Indian cricket history.
Vijay Hazare’s impact extended beyond his playing days. After retiring from cricket, he continued to contribute to the sport, serving as a coach and selector. In 2004, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) instituted the Vijay Hazare Trophy, a limited-overs domestic cricket competition, as a tribute to the legendary cricketer.
Vijay Hazare’s legacy lives on, not only in the records he set and the victories he led but also in the inspiration he provided to subsequent generations of cricketers. His journey from the fields of Sangli to the helm of Indian cricket reflects the indomitable spirit of a leader who left an indelible mark on the nation’s cricketing landscape.