Hanif Mohammad was a Pakistani cricketer. He played for the Pakistani cricket team in 55 Test matches between the 1952–53 season and the 1969–70 season, he averaged 43.98 scoring twelve centuries. At his peak, he was considered one of the best batsmen in the world despite playing at a time when Pakistan played little Test cricket. In his obituary by ESPNcricinfo, he was honoured as the original Little Master, a title assumed by Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar, he was the first Pakistani to score a triple hundred in a Test match. Hanif was trained by Abdul Aziz, an Afghan cricket player, who had earlier played in Ranji Trophy for Jamnagar and father of Indian cricketer, Salim Durani, he made his first-class debut playing for Pakistan against the MCC in November 1951. He made 26 in 165 minutes; the highest of Hanif's Test centuries was a famous 337 made against West Indies in a six-day test at Bridgetown in 1957/58. After Pakistan found itself following on from a first-innings deficit of 473 runs on the afternoon of the third day, Hanif spent more than sixteen hours at the crease compiling his runs, allowing Pakistan to draw the game.
It remains the longest innings in Test history. It was the only Test match instance of a triple century in a team's second innings until it was equaled by New Zealand cricketer Brendon McCullum against India in 2014. Displays such as this earned him the nickname "Little Master". Hanif Mohammad has the world record for scoring the slowest test triple century in terms of minutes and the only player in test history to have spent over 800 minutes to score a test triple ton. In 1958–59, he surpassed Don Bradman's record for the highest individual first-class innings. Hanif made 499 for Karachi in a match against Bahawalpur before being run out attempting his five hundredth run. In all he made 55 first-class centuries and finished with a strong first-class career average of 52.32. He could bowl with either arm, kept wicket on a number of occasions, he is known to have played the slowest test innings when he scored 20 off 223 balls at a strike rate of 8.97. Hanif's career lasted until 1975–76, but he never played in the English County Championship, although he did have an outing for the Northamptonshire Second XI in August 1965 whilst preparing for his appearance for a Rest of the World XI against England at the Scarborough Festival a few days later.
Hanif was named as a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1968 and in January 2009 he was named along with two other Pakistani players, Imran Khan and Javed Miandad, among the inaugural batch of 55 inductees into the ICC's Hall of Fame. In one Test match against Australia, Hanif scored a century in the first innings. In the second he was given out stumped by Barry Jarman off the bowling of Tom Veivers for 93. Hanif respected the umpire's decision. In a press conference Jarman admitted that Hanif was not out. Many other members of Hanif's family were cricketers: his brothers Mushtaq and Wazir all played Tests for Pakistan, as did his son Shoaib. Another brother Raees was once twelfth man for Pakistan, four nephews had first-class careers, his mother Ameer Bee was a national badminton champion in pre-independence British India. In 2018, a Google Doodle was created to celebrate his 84th Birthday. Hanif Mohammad at ESPNcricinfo Ramachandra Guha: The original little master
Mohammad Ashraful is a Bangladeshi cricketer, who has represented the Bangladesh national cricket team in all formats of the game and a former captain of all formats. A top-order batsman with a penchant for flashy strokeplay, he was selected to represent the ACC Asia XI ODI side. Between 2007 and 2009, Ashraful captained his country in 13 Tests, 38 One Day Internationals of which Bangladesh won eight. Ashraful has scored the fastest fifty in Test, ODI and Twenty20 international amongst all Bangladeshi cricketers. Ashraful is Bangladesh's second-highest run-scorer in both ODIs; when not playing for the national team, Ashraful plays domestic cricket for the Dhaka Division cricket team in Bangladesh's domestic one-day and first-class competitions, captaining both sides on occasion. In 2014 the Bangladesh Cricket Board banned him for eight years after he was found guilty of match-fixing; the ban was reduced to 5 years with 2 years suspended. He played for Epping in the Epping cup and hit 94 runs; the highlight of his innings was hitting 3 consecutive sixes off the bowling of Mike Crocombe Ashraful made his first-class debut on 22 November 2000, playing for Dhaka Metropolis cricket team.
He opened the batting, scoring 41 and 6. Three days Ashraful made his list A debut, again playing for Dhaka Metropolis and opening the batting he scored 22 and took two wickets as his team won the match. Ashraful scored his maiden first-class century in his second match, making 101 against [; the seven wickets Ashraful took for 99 runs in a match against Chittagong Division in January 2001 remain his best bowling figures. Over the course of the season he played ten first-class matches – scoring 585 runs at an average of 30.78, including two centuries, taking 39 wickets at an average of 25.48, including three five-wicket hauls. He played nine list A matches, scoring 85 runs and taking four wickets. In November 2006, he set a league record score of 263, against Chittagong Division for Bangladeshi first-class cricket – although this record has since been bettered by Raqibul Hasan. Sonargaon Cricketers, a new team in the Dhaka Premier League for the 2005/06 season, signed Ashraful and Mohammad Rafique.
The team lost four of its first five games and sought a change of leadership in an attempt to improve its results. He played for Rainhill CC in a local cricket league in England. On 6 February 2009, Ashraful took part in a player auction for the 2009 Indian Premier League; the Mumbai Indians bought him for his base price of US$75,000, but he only played one game and scored just 2 runs. He returned to domestic cricket in 2011, scoring a century for Dhaka Division in the opening match of the National Cricket League. Dhaka won the one-day competition, Ashraful, the second-highest run-getter with 331 runs and claimed 7 wickets from 7 matches, was named player of the tournament. For the 2011/12 season, the National Cricket League of Bangladesh was expanded from six first-class teams to eight. Dhaka Metropolis and Rangpur Division were the new teams, with Ashraful captaining the former. Though he scored his first first-class century in over a year in the competition, Ashraful was dropped from the ODI squad to face Pakistan in December.
During a match in the Dhaka Premier Division Cricket League in January 2012, Ashraful was involved in an incident with Tamim Iqbal that led to the latter being banned for one match and fined. The Bangladesh Cricket Board founded the six-team Bangladesh Premier League in 2012, a twenty20 tournament to be held in February that year; the BCB made Ashraful the'icon player' for Dhaka Gladiators. Dhaka won the tournament, in twelve matches Ashraful scored 258 runs, making him the BPL's second highest run-scorer amongst Bangladesh batsmen, he was the leading run-scorer for Kala Bagan Krira Chakra in the 2017–18 Dhaka Premier Division Cricket League, with 665 runs in 13 matches. Ashraful made his ODI debut against Zimbabwe on 11 April 2001, where he made 9 runs and Bangladesh lost the match by 36 runs, he took his first international wicket in that of Andy Flower. Ashraful made his Test debut on 6 September 2001 against Sri Lanka, he top-scored in each innings, although Bangladesh slumped to an innings defeat, Ashraful scored 114, becoming the youngest player to score a Test century, beating Mushtaq Mohammad's record, was named man of the match.
He was the second Bangladesh player to score a Test century on debut, after Aminul Islam Bulbul in 2000 during Bangladesh's first Test. Trevor Chappell, a former coach of Bangladesh's national side, commented that "His determination and attention to detail would put a mature and an established person to shame; the manner he concentrates on his batting made me believe that the lad is destined to have a long cricketing journey." Following Ashraful's debut century, however, a prolonged string of poor performances resulted in him being dropped from the national team. He had a poor first World Cup – the 2003 Cricket World Cup – making 71 runs at an average of 14.20, with Bangladesh being eliminated in the Group Stage. In February and March 2004, Bangladesh toured Zimbabwe. At the time, Zimbabwe were without many of their senior players, but still won the Test series 1–0 and the ODI series 2–1; the solitary ODI victory was Bangladesh's first international win since defeating Pakistan in the 1999 World Cup.
Ashraful returned to the team in December 2004 against the Indian cricket team and scored his second century, 158 not out, claiming the record for the highest individual Test score by a Bangladeshi. India's captain, Sourav
United States national cricket team
The United States national cricket team is the team that represents the United States in international cricket. The team was organised by the United States of America Cricket Association, which became an associate member of the International Cricket Council in 1965. However, the organization was expelled in 2017 following the ICC's concerns about the USACA's governance and finances. In September 2017, ICC Americas announced that a newly formed governing body, known as USA Cricket would take over the team and governance of the sport in the US, starting in 2018; until the board is established, the team will be run by ICC Americas administrators. On December 18, 2017 a new constitution was approved for the USA Cricket and elections will take place in 2018. A U. S. representative team participated in the first international cricket match, played against Canada in 1844. However, until the late 20th century the U. S. national team made only infrequent appearances against other international teams only playing against Canada or against touring teams.
The U. S. made its international tournament debut at the 1979 ICC Trophy in England, since has missed only two editions of the tournament. After winning the 2004 ICC Six Nations Challenge, the team qualified for the 2004 ICC Champions Trophy, playing its only One Day International matches to date. In the World Cricket League, the U. S. has qualified for the 2019 Division Two tournament. The team's current head coach is Pubudu Dassanayake. In April 2018, the ICC decided to grant full Twenty20 International status to all its members. Therefore, all Twenty20 matches played between the United States and other ICC members after 1 January 2019 will be a full T20I; the first T20I to be played by the United States are scheduled to be against the United Arab Emirates in March 2019. The British brought cricket to the Thirteen Colonies in the early 18th century. Cricket further grew in the 18th century, it is understood from anecdotal evidence that George Washington was a strong supporter of cricket, participating on at least one occasion in a game of cricket with his troops at Valley Forge during the American Revolution.
John Adams was recorded as saying in Congress that if leaders of cricket clubs could be called "presidents", there was no reason why the leader of the new nation could not be called the same. In 1844, the United States participated in the first international cricket match; this was played against Canada at Bloomingdale Park, New York. This first international sporting event was attended by 20,000 people and established the longest international sporting rivalry in the modern era. Wagers of around $120,000 were placed on the outcome of the match; this is equivalent to around $1.5 million in 2007. Sides from England toured North America following the English cricket seasons of 1859, 1868 and 1872; these were organized as purely commercial ventures. Most of the matches of these early touring teams were played "against odds", to say the home team was permitted to have more than eleven players in order to make a more contest. In spite of cricket's popularity in the 18th and early 19th centuries, the game was supplanted by baseball in the 1850s and 1860s.
As interest in baseball rose, the rules of that game were changed to increase its popularity. For example manufactured round bats were introduced to contrast the flat bats of cricket. Another reason for cricket's decline in popularity may be that in the late 19th century American cricket remained an amateur sport reserved for the wealthy while England and Australia were developing a professional version of the game; as cricket standards improved with professionalism elsewhere in the world many North American cricket clubs stayed stubbornly elitist. Clubs such as Philadelphia and Merion abandoned cricket and converted their facilities to other sports; some city cricket clubs unknowingly contributed to their own demise by sponsoring auxiliary baseball teams. By 1900 baseball had created its independent mythology; the formation of the Imperial Cricket Conference in 1909 helped to keep the popularity of the game down. It undercut any momentum to professionalize cricket in the USA, although whether the momentum would have developed in the presence of a more open ICC remains a question.
Regardless of its cause, the game did not flourish in the United States the way it did in the British Empire. From the 1880s until the outbreak of World War I, the American game was dominated not by the national side, but by an amateur team from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A tour of North America by the Australians in 1913 saw two first-class games against a combined Canada–USA team; the Philadelphian cricket team was a team that represented Philadelphia in first-class cricket between 1878 and 1913. Though the United States had played the first international cricket match against Canada in 1844, the sport began a slow decline in the country; this decline was furthered by the rise in popularity of baseball. In Philadelphia, the sport remained popular and from the end of the 19th century until the outbreak of World War I, the city produced a first class team that rivaled many others in the world; the team was composed of players from the four chief cricket clubs in Philadelphia–Germantown, Merion and Philadelphia.
Players from smaller clubs, such as Tioga and Moorestown, local colleges, such as Haverford and Penn played for the Philadelphians. Over its 35 years, the team played in 89 first-class cricket matches. Of those, 29 were won, 46 were lost, 13 were drawn
Test cricket is the form of the sport of cricket with the longest duration, is considered the game's highest standard. Test matches are played between national representative teams with "Test status", as determined and conferred by the International Cricket Council; the term Test stems from the fact of the form's long, gruelling matches being both mentally and physically testing. Two teams of 11 players each play a four-innings match, it is considered the most complete examination of a team's endurance and ability. The first recognised Test match took place between 15 and 19 March 1877 and was played between England and Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, where Australia won by 45 runs. A Test match to celebrate 100 years of Test cricket was held in Melbourne between 12 and 17 March 1977, in which Australia beat England by 45 runs—the same margin as that first Test. In October 2012, the ICC recast the playing conditions for Test matches, permitting day/night Test matches; the first day/night game took place between Australia and New Zealand at the Adelaide Oval, Adelaide, on 27 November – 1 December 2015.
Women's Test cricket is played over four days, with slight differences in format from men's Tests. Test matches are the highest level of cricket, statistically, their data form part of first-class cricket. Matches are played between national representative teams with "Test status", as determined by the International Cricket Council; as of June 2017, twelve national teams have Test status, the most promoted being Afghanistan and Ireland on 22 June 2017. Zimbabwe's Test status was voluntarily suspended, because of poor performances between 2006 and 2011. In January 2014, during an ICC meeting in Dubai, the pathway for new potential Test nations was laid out with the winners of the next round of the ICC Intercontinental Cup playing a 5-day match against the bottom ranked Test nation. If the Associate team defeats the Test nation they could be added as the new Test country and granted full membership. A list of matches, defined as "Tests", was first drawn up by Australian Clarence Moody in the mid-1890s.
Representative matches played by simultaneous England touring sides of 1891–92 and 1929–30 are deemed to have "Test status". In 1970, a series of five "Test matches" was played in England between England and a Rest of the World XI; these matches scheduled between England and South Africa, were amended after South Africa was suspended from international cricket because of their government's policy of apartheid. Although given Test status, this was withdrawn and a principle was established that official Test matches can only be between nations. Despite this, in 2005, the ICC ruled that the six-day Super Series match that took place in October 2005, between Australia and a World XI, was an official Test match; some cricket writers and statisticians, including Bill Frindall, ignored the ICC's ruling and excluded the 2005 match from their records. The series of "Test matches" played in Australia between Australia and a World XI in 1971–72 do not have Test status; the commercial "Supertests" organised by Kerry Packer as part of his World Series Cricket enterprise and played between "WSC Australia", "WSC World XI" and "WSC West Indies" from 1977 to 1979 have never been regarded as official Test matches.
There are twelve Test-playing men's teams. The teams all represent individual, independent nations, except for England, the West Indies and Ireland. Test status is conferred upon a group of countries by the International Cricket Council. Teams that do not have Test status can play in the ICC Intercontinental Cup designed to allow non-Test teams to play under conditions similar to Tests; the teams are listed below with the date of each team's Test debut: England Australia South Africa West Indies New Zealand India Pakistan Sri Lanka Zimbabwe Bangladesh Ireland Afghanistan In the mid 2010s, the ICC evaluated proposals for dividing Test cricket into two tiers, with promotion and relegation between Tier-1 and Tier-2. These proposals were opposed by others; these proposals were not implemented. A standard day of Test cricket consists of three sessions of two hours each, the breaks between sessions being 40 minutes for lunch and 20 minutes for tea; however the times of sessions and intervals may be altered in certain circumstances: if bad weather or a change of innings occurs close to a scheduled break, the break may be taken immediately.
Today, Test matches are scheduled to be played across five consecutive days
Queen's Park Oval
The Queen's Park Oval is a sports stadium in Port of Spain and Tobago, used for cricket matches. It opened in 1896. Owned by the Queen's Park Cricket Club, it is the largest capacity cricket ground in the West Indies with seating for about 20,000, it has hosted more Test matches than any other ground in the Caribbean with 60 as of January 2018, hosted a number of One-Day International matches, including many World Series Cricket games in 1979 and matches of the 2007 Cricket World Cup. The Trinidad and Tobago cricket team play most of their home matches at the ground, it is the home ground of the Caribbean Premier League team Trinbago Knight Riders. Considered by many players and critics as one of the most picturesque cricket venues, the ground first hosted a Test match in February 1930 when England toured the Caribbean, though it had hosted many first class tours as early as the 1897 tour under Lord Hawke; the pavilion dates back to 1896, though there were extensive renovations in the 1950s and in 2007 prior to the World Cup and following an earthquake.
The "Concrete Stand" was renamed the "Learie Constantine Stand" in recognition of that former West Indies cricketer. The first ODI match at the ground was played in March 1983, the first Twenty20 International in 2009; as well as the main cricket stadium, the facility includes a gym and outdoor cricket practice nets, two squash courts and two outdoor tennis courts. The cricket field has been used to host several domestic and international football matches, several music events; the Queen's Park Oval Cricket Club leased the Queen's Park Oval in 1896, moving there from its first home at the Queen's Park Savannah, where it had existed since its founding in 1891. The natural soil at the ground prevented turf wickets from being laid down, due to the damage caused by the mole crickets that inhabited it, so when the club moved to its new ground the groundsmen laid a pitch of clay with a wicket made of matting prepared on top. A popular venue due to its capacity the ground was profitable for the owning cricket club.
The first match recorded by CricketArchive, CricInfo and Wisden took place on 29 January 1897, between Lord Hawke's touring party and a team put out by the Queen's Park Oval Club. The match, a draw but saw the ground's first century—119 by Plum Warner—was not counted as first-class. Only a few days on February 1 the ground's maiden first-class fixture took place between Trinidad and the same Lord Hawke's XI; the home team won by 137 runs. The two teams met at the Oval again on 5 February. Arthur Priestley's touring eleven played a Queen's Park XI on February 12, with the game drawn. During the first decades of the 20th century, the private Queen's Park Oval was a exclusive cricket ground and club. C. L. R. James records that "they were for the most part white and wealthy" and that "a black man in the Queen's Park was rare and anonymous." The Queens Park club was "the big shot" of the local cricket on the island, touring matches were the mainstay of cricket at the ground for the first few years.
They contributed to the growth of cricket on the island, for trial matches were held on weekends while a tour was in progress, local talent was invited to play. In April 1899, Trinidad played a Barbados-based XI led by Arthur St. Hill, an early domestic West Indian fixture. By 1900, Inter-Colonial Tournament matches were taking place, with the final between Barbados and British Guiana taking place at the Queen's Park Oval; these became more and more frequent in the first decade of the 20th century, along with more tour games against the invitational XIs of Richard Bennett and Lord Brackley. The ground hosted the finals of the 1910 Inter-Colonial Tournaments. In 1911 and in 1913 the Marylebone Cricket Club toured the West Indies, with four matches played in total between the MCC and Trinidad at the Queen's Park Oval across both tours. On 20 February 1913, the MCC played a combined West Indies cricket team, playing one of its earliest matches as a representative eleven, only its fourth against an MCC side.
Harry Ince scored 167 in the West Indian first innings, Richard Ollivierre took a five-wicket haul and Joseph Rogers took a six-for as the MCC slid to a heavy defeat. The match was the first between the West Indies and the MCC to have taken place at the Queen's Park Oval. Though cricket was interrupted by World War I, normal practice resumed with the ground hosting the Inter-Colonial Tournament finals in 1921, 1925 and 1929. On 1 February 1930, the Queen's Park Oval hosted its first Test match; the second Test of the MCC 1929–30 tour of the West Indies saw England under Les Ames defeat the West Indies under Errol Hunte thanks to a century by the England captain and a double-century by Patsy Hendren. The ground hosted the Second Test of the 1935 tour, which started on 24 January; this time the West Indies recorded its first Test match victory at the ground, defeating Bob Wyatt's England by 217 runs. Between the Tests, the ground had hosted several of the first-class matches of the tour, as well as continuing to host matches of the Inter-Colonial Tournament, including the 1935 and 1937 finals.
The outbreak of World War II halted Test cricket at the ground after this 1935 tour, however domestic cricket continued. 1939 represented the last year of the Inter-Colonial Tournament, throughout the war years the Queen's Park Oval hosted several first-class games between Trinidad and either Barbados or British Guiana. International cricket would not return to the ground until 1947 when the MCC returned and played Trinidad twice at the groun
Australia national cricket team
The Australia national cricket team is the joint oldest team in Test cricket history, having played in the first Test match in 1877. The team plays One-Day International and Twenty20 International cricket, participating in both the first ODI, against England in the 1970–71 season and the first T20I, against New Zealand in the 2004–05 season, winning both games; the team draws its players from teams playing in the Australian domestic competitions – the Sheffield Shield, the Australian domestic limited-overs cricket tournament and the Big Bash League. The national team has played 820 Test matches, winning 386, losing 222, drawing 210 and tying 2; as of March 2019, Australia is ranked fourth in the ICC Test Championship on 104 rating points. Australia is the most successful team in Test cricket history, in terms of overall wins, win-loss ratio and wins percentage; the Australian cricket team has played 932 ODI matches, winning 566, losing 323, tying 9 and with 34 ending in a no-result. As of March 2019, Australia is ranked fifth in the ICC ODI Championship on 102 rating points, though have been ranked first for 141 of 185 months since its introduction in 2002.
Australia have made a record seven World Cup final appearances and have won the World Cup a record five times in total. Australia is the first team to appear in four consecutive World Cup finals, surpassing the old record of three consecutive World Cup appearances by the West Indies and the first team to win 3 consecutive World Cups; the team was undefeated in 34 consecutive World Cup matches until 19 March at the 2011 Cricket World Cup where Pakistan beat them by 4 wickets. It is the second team to win a World Cup on home soil, after India. Australia have won the ICC Champions Trophy twice making them the first and the only team to become back to back winners in the Champions Trophy tournaments; the national team has played 116 Twenty20 International matches, winning 60, losing 52, tying 2 and with 2 ending in a no-result. As of March 2019, Australia is ranked third in the ICC T20I Championship on 120 rating points. Additionally, the team made the final of the 2010 ICC World Twenty20. On 12 January 2019, Australia won the first ODI against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground by 34 runs, to record their 1,000th win in international cricket.
The Australian cricket team participated in the first Test match at the MCG in 1877, defeating an English team by 45 runs, with Charles Bannerman making the first Test century, a score of 165 retired hurt. Test cricket, which only occurred between Australia and England at the time, was limited by the long distance between the two countries, which would take several months by sea. Despite Australia's much smaller population, the team was competitive in early games, producing stars such as Jack Blackham, Billy Murdoch, Fred "The Demon" Spofforth, George Bonnor, Percy McDonnell, George Giffen and Charles "The Terror" Turner. Most cricketers at the time were either from New South Wales or Victoria, with the notable exception of George Giffen, the star South Australian all-rounder. A highlight of Australia's early history was the 1882 Test match against England at The Oval. In this match, Fred Spofforth took 7/44 in the game's fourth innings to save the match by preventing England from making their 85-run target.
After this match The Sporting Times, a major newspaper in London at the time, printed a mock obituary in which the death of English cricket was proclaimed and the announcement made that "the body was cremated and the ashes taken to Australia." This was the start of the famous Ashes series in which Australia and England play a series of Test matches to decide the holder of the Ashes. To this day, the contest is one of the fiercest rivalries in sport; the so-called'Golden Age' of Australian Test cricket occurred around the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, with the team under the captaincy of Joe Darling, Monty Noble and Clem Hill winning eight of ten tours. It is considered to have lasted from the 1897–98 English tour of Australia and the 1910–11 South African tour of Australia. Outstanding batsmen such as Joe Darling, Clem Hill, Reggie Duff, Syd Gregory, Warren Bardsley and Victor Trumper, brilliant all-rounders including Monty Noble, George Giffen, Harry Trott and Warwick Armstrong and excellent bowlers including Ernie Jones, Hugh Trumble, Tibby Cotter, Bill Howell, Jack Saunders and Bill Whitty, all helped Australia to become the dominant cricketing nation for most of this period.
Victor Trumper became one of Australia's first sporting heroes, was considered Australia's greatest batsman before Bradman and one of the most popular players. He played a record number of Tests at 49 and scored 3163 runs at a high for the time average of 39.04. His early death in 1915 at the age of 37 from kidney disease caused national mourning; the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, in its obituary for him, called him Australia's greatest batsman: "Of all the great Australian batsmen Victor Trumper was by general consent the best and most brilliant."The years leading up to the start of World War I were marred by conflict between the players, led by Clem Hill, Victor Trumper and Frank Laver, the Australian Board of Control for International Cricket, led by Peter McAlister, attempting to gain more control of tours from the players. This led to six leading players walking out on the 1912 Triangular Tournament in England, with Australia fielding what was considered a second-rate side; this was the last series before the war, no more cricket was played by A
India known as the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh largest country by area and with more than 1.3 billion people, it is the second most populous country as well as the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, while its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia; the Indian subcontinent was home to the urban Indus Valley Civilisation of the 3rd millennium BCE. In the following millennium, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism began to be composed. Social stratification, based on caste, emerged in the first millennium BCE, Buddhism and Jainism arose. Early political consolidations took place under the Gupta empires. In the medieval era, Zoroastrianism and Islam arrived, Sikhism emerged, all adding to the region's diverse culture.
Much of the north fell to the Delhi Sultanate. The economy expanded in the 17th century in the Mughal Empire. In the mid-18th century, the subcontinent came under British East India Company rule, in the mid-19th under British Crown rule. A nationalist movement emerged in the late 19th century, which under Mahatma Gandhi, was noted for nonviolent resistance and led to India's independence in 1947. In 2017, the Indian economy was the world's sixth largest by nominal GDP and third largest by purchasing power parity. Following market-based economic reforms in 1991, India became one of the fastest-growing major economies and is considered a newly industrialised country. However, it continues to face the challenges of poverty, corruption and inadequate public healthcare. A nuclear weapons state and regional power, it has the second largest standing army in the world and ranks fifth in military expenditure among nations. India is a federal republic governed under a parliamentary system and consists of 29 states and 7 union territories.
A pluralistic and multi-ethnic society, it is home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats. The name India is derived from Indus, which originates from the Old Persian word Hindush, equivalent to the Sanskrit word Sindhu, the historical local appellation for the Indus River; the ancient Greeks referred to the Indians as Indoi, which translates as "The people of the Indus". The geographical term Bharat, recognised by the Constitution of India as an official name for the country, is used by many Indian languages in its variations, it is a modernisation of the historical name Bharatavarsha, which traditionally referred to the Indian subcontinent and gained increasing currency from the mid-19th century as a native name for India. Hindustan is a Middle Persian name for India, it was introduced into India by the Mughals and used since then. Its meaning varied, referring to a region that encompassed northern India and Pakistan or India in its entirety; the name may refer to either the northern part of India or the entire country.
The earliest known human remains in South Asia date to about 30,000 years ago. Nearly contemporaneous human rock art sites have been found in many parts of the Indian subcontinent, including at the Bhimbetka rock shelters in Madhya Pradesh. After 6500 BCE, evidence for domestication of food crops and animals, construction of permanent structures, storage of agricultural surplus, appeared in Mehrgarh and other sites in what is now Balochistan; these developed into the Indus Valley Civilisation, the first urban culture in South Asia, which flourished during 2500–1900 BCE in what is now Pakistan and western India. Centred around cities such as Mohenjo-daro, Harappa and Kalibangan, relying on varied forms of subsistence, the civilization engaged robustly in crafts production and wide-ranging trade. During the period 2000–500 BCE, many regions of the subcontinent transitioned from the Chalcolithic cultures to the Iron Age ones; the Vedas, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism, were composed during this period, historians have analysed these to posit a Vedic culture in the Punjab region and the upper Gangetic Plain.
Most historians consider this period to have encompassed several waves of Indo-Aryan migration into the subcontinent from the north-west. The caste system, which created a hierarchy of priests and free peasants, but which excluded indigenous peoples by labeling their occupations impure, arose during this period. On the Deccan Plateau, archaeological evidence from this period suggests the existence of a chiefdom stage of political organisation. In South India, a progression to sedentary life is indicated by the large number of megalithic monuments dating from this period, as well as by nearby traces of agriculture, irrigation tanks, craft traditions. In the late Vedic period, around the 6th century BCE, the small states and chiefdoms of the Ganges Plain and the north-western regions had consolidated into 16 major oligarchies and monarchies that were known as the mahajanapadas; the emerging urbanisation gave rise to non-Vedic religious movements, two of which became independent religions. Jainism came into prominence during the life of Mahavira.
Buddhism, based on the teachings of Gautama Buddha, attracted followers from all social classes excepting the middle