India has been a cricket loving, cricket crazy country for generations. Sachin Tendulkar is next only to God. So were the spin quartet (Bedi, Prasanna, Venkat and Chandrashekar), Gavaskar and Azharuddin in their hey-day.
You must see the over 100,000 strong Calcutta crowd screaming their heads off in support of the home team to believe the frenzy. We tend to celebrate Indian victories with National holidays. If India loses, we go into mourning.
It is no wonder that PRIP Rajendra Saboo suggested that cricket be played amongst Rotarians from different countries, as a means to promote fellowship. When IFCR formally started its international cricketing activities, Indian teams were only too willing to participate.
The first IFCR Festival of Cricket at Fordingbridge, U.K, in 1997, saw two teams from India participating – one from District 3230 in Chennai and another from Baroda, Gujarat.
India hosted the second festival in Chennai in 1999, where teams from Australia, New Zealand, U.K. and Sri Lanka participated, apart from teams from Bangalore/Mysore.
Five Indian teams participated in the third IFCR Festival in 2002 in New Zealand. Teams from Chennai, Bangalore/Mysore, Pune and two teams from Gujarat spent two glorious weeks taking in the sights of New Zealand and playing cricket at Christchurch.