Vijay Hazare was the first Indian to lead the Indian cricket team. He grew up at the Presbyterian Mission Industrial School in Sangli, Western India. His mother taught him at a young age to trust and pray to Jesus. His simple faith and daily reliance on Jesus prepared him to spiritually and psychologically to give credit for all the success to Jesus. In cricket, he is the first person to score a triple century and the first Indian to score two triple centuries. He was first to score a century in three successive test matches and the first to make fifty centuries in his career. These are just a few of his achievements.
Hazare says, "I will never forget my humble beginning and my faith." At one point, it seemed his faith was an obstacle to his career. He relates an instance when he was invited to play for the Hindu Gymkhana. The invitation was a very prestigious honor. Anyone who played for the Hindu Gymkhana was sure to be invited to the Indian team. Vijay turned down the offer saying, "I am a Christian.' (In those days, only Hindus were allowed to play on the team). Vijay's stand was vindicated when Mr. De Mello, the President of the Cricket Control Board decided that the talented persons from other communities should also be given a chance. His decision led to the founding of the Catholic Gymkhana Cricket Team.
The greatest honor for Vijay, apart from the Padmashree, was to captain his country's cricket team. He recalls, "I was playing in England when the news reached me that I was chosen as the first Indian to lead the Indian team. It humbled me." In 1951-52, the Indian team beat England in Madras under his leadership. It takes desire, faith and effort to be number one. Vijay Hazare gives God the credit for his achievements. In his life Christ is the means that brought about such a successful career.
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