It's not a million-dollar question to answer who introduced cricket to India or the vice-versa. Being under the colonial rule for almost 300 years, India got cricket in legacy from the British. Though for a long time India was represented by Englishmen.
The two teams started playing Tests only in 1932, but their cricketing relations date back to 1877. Pre-Independence, the cricketing tours were mostly obligatory. Politics and diplomacy dictated those tours. Serious cricket was played only after India became a free nation. But even then we saw some genuine Indian talents who became legends, like Vinoo Mankad, Vijay Merchant, CK Nayudu, Lala Amarnath.
NDTV.com takes brief look at the history between the two nations post India's independence. It's worth mentioning that till 1976, England team were known as MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club).
England's tour of India in 1951-52
In 1951-52, England toured India for a five-Test match series. India levelled the series at Madras by winning the final Test. The first three Tests of the series ended in draw. The fourth Test at Kanpur swung in England's favour, as they won by 8 wickets. The first series between the two teams, despite being a draw, had generated enough interest and a new rivalry was born.
India's tour of England in 1952 (England)
India returned the visit in the same year. The Indian team went without their top guns like Vijay Merchant, Mushtaq Ali and Lala Amarnath. England whitewashed the three-Test series. Though Vinoo Mankad joined the team later, but Fred Trueman and Alec Bedser romped over the defensive Indians.
India's tour of England in 1959 (England)
After a sabbatical of seven years, India toured England once again in 1959 but the result was not much different, only the figures were worse. The hosts won the series 5-0. Trueman continued to torment the visitors. Indian batsmen Nari Contractor and Abbas Ali Baig showed some fight but their efforts were not enough.
England's tour of India in 1961-62
Two years later when England toured India, the hosts salvaged some pride and recorded their first series win over their one-time rulers. As India were a weakened side during their 1959 tour, England this time were without the likes of Trueman, Cowdrey. India won the five-Test series 2-0. Their two victories came at Calcutta (by 187 runs) and Madras (by 10 wickets). Salim Durani and Nawab Pataudi beleaguered the tourists with their bowling and batting respectively.
England's tour of India in 1963-64
This was one of the series that held no meaning and went straight into the record books. The five-Test match series ended in a draw without producing any result. Though batsmen relished the conditions and scored heavily, it was punishing for the bowlers who were asked to bowl on flat pitches in hot conditions. England were on the verge of a win in Kanpur as they had asked the locals to follow-on. Bapu Nandkarni rose up to the challenge and slammed a hundred to see the match ending in a draw.
India's tour of England in 1967
In 1967, India had two teams playing against two teams. One was playing against Pakistan and the other toured England. India fielded a young side and were trounced 3-0 in the series. An interesting incident took place during that tour. Geoffrey Boycott was dropped for Lords Test as he scored an unbeaten 246 at an extremely slow scoring rate.
India's tour of England in 1971
This was a historical tour for India as they won their first series on the English soil. In the three-match series, two Tests were drawn but India won the last Test at The Oval. Spin-trio of Bishen Singh Bedi, Chandrasekhar and Venkataragahavan troubled the hosts throughout the series. India were close to victory at Lord's as were England at Old Trafford. In the last Test, Chandrasekhar picked six wickets to guide his side home.
England's tour of India in 1972-73
Spin was India's main weapon and they knew it well. Spinners like Bedi, Chandrasekhar, and Prasanna were at their peak and they continued to haunt the England when they visited India in 1972-73. India won the five-match series 2-1. England won their first Test but from thereon the tour became a spinning ordeal. India won the next two Tests, while the last two ended as draws.
India's tour of England in 1974
India were at the peak of their cricket as they had recorded some historical wins at home and abroad. They, however, were grounded by the English team in 1974. India toured for three Tests and two ODIs. This was the first time India were playing One-Day Internationals. They were completely outdone in both formats of the game.
England's tour of India in 1976-77
After two consecutive series defeats against India, England under made a successful tour under Tony Greig. Skipper Greig led from the front and finished the 5-Test series 3-1. They recorded thumping wins in the first three Tests with huge margins - an innings and 25 runs, ten wickets and 200 runs. The fourth Test was drawn. India finally saved some blushes as they won the last Test at Bangalore. Karsan Ghavri was the architect of that win.