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In the past, India has usually banked on the 6 Batsmen + 1 WK + 4 Bowlers combination. Depending on the pitch, India would play either 1 spinner or 2 spinners among the 4 specialist bowling slots. These 4 bowlers would be supported by batsmen who had extraordinary bowling skills such as Sehwag, Tendulkar and Ganguly. The 6th batsman, whether it was VVS Laxman or Ganguly, was impactful and among the best talents in the country.
 
For reference, below is the talent pool available for batting slots in the 1990-2014 period: 
View overall figures [change view] Primary team India  Opposition team Australia  or England  or New Zealand  or Pakistan  or South Africa  or Sri Lanka  or West Indies  Start of match date between 1 Jan 1990 and 31 Dec 2014  Qualifications runs scored greater than or equal to 2000  and batting average greater than or equal to 40  Ordered by batting average (descending) Page 1 of 1 Showing 1 - 10 of 10   First Previous Next  Last  Return to query menu
Cleared query menu Overall figures Player Span Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave 100 50 0   SR Tendulkar 1990-2013 180 300 28 13968 241* 51.35 43 63 13 R Dravid 1996-2012 147 261 27 11726 270 50.11 30 57 6 V Sehwag 2001-2013 96 168 4 8151 319 49.70 23 28 16 CA Pujara 2010-2014 27 48 4 2073 206* 47.11 6 6 1 VVS Laxman 1996-2012 125 213 32 8384 281 46.32 16 55 14 NS Sidhu 1990-1999 36 53 0 2450 201 46.22 7 11 5 M Azharuddin 1990-2000 62 92 6 3932 192 45.72 15 12 3 V Kohli 2011-2014 32 57 4 2354 169 44.41 9 10 4 SC Ganguly 1996-2008 99 169 16 6311 239 41.24 13 31 12 G Gambhir 2004-2014 50 91 3 3521 206 40.01 7 19 6  
 
Bowling during the 1990-2014 period:
View overall figures [change view] Primary team India  Opposition team Australia  or England  or New Zealand  or Pakistan  or South Africa  or Sri Lanka  or West Indies  Start of match date between 1 Jan 1990 and 31 Dec 2014  Qualifications wickets taken greater than or equal to 100  Ordered by bowling average (ascending) Page 1 of 1 Showing 1 - 7 of 7   First Previous Next  Last  Return to query menu
Cleared query menu Overall figures Player Span Mat Inns Overs Mdns Runs Wkts BBI BBM Ave Econ SR 5 10   R Ashwin 2011-2014 23 42 1160.4 226 3403 114 7/103 12/85 29.85 2.93 61.0 9 2 PP Ojha 2009-2013 23 46 1234.1 293 3294 109 6/47 10/89 30.22 2.66 67.9 7 1 A Kumble 1990-2008 121 216 6357.0 1447 17248 566 10/74 14/149 30.47 2.71 67.3 33 8 J Srinath 1991-2002 58 103 2153.4 500 6269 203 8/86 13/132 30.88 2.91 63.6 9 1 Harbhajan Singh 1998-2013 91 166 4310.0 779 12323 376 8/84 15/217 32.77 2.85 68.7 24 5 Z Khan 2001-2014 79 139 2759.0 559 8921 259 5/29 9/134 34.44 3.23 63.9 9 0 I Sharma 2007-2014 58 101 2003.3 373 6716 177 7/74 10/108 37.94 3.35 67.9 6 1  
 
WKs during the 1990-2014 period:
View overall figures [change view] Primary team India  Opposition team Australia  or England  or New Zealand  or Pakistan  or South Africa  or Sri Lanka  or West Indies  Start of match date between 1 Jan 1990 and 31 Dec 2014  Wicketkeeper as designated wicketkeeper  Qualifications runs scored greater than or equal to 500  Ordered by batting average (descending) Page 1 of 1 Showing 1 - 4 of 4   First Previous Next  Last  Return to query menu
Cleared query menu Overall figures Player Span Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave 100 50 0   MS Dhoni 2005-2014 87 140 14 4683 224 37.16 6 31 10 PA Patel 2002-2008 20 30 7 683 69 29.69 0 4 4 KS More 1990-1993 20 25 5 546 73 27.30 0 5 2 NR Mongia 1994-2001 43 66 8 1441 152 24.84 1 6 5  
 
To summarize the 1990-2014 period: 
Great pool of batting talent, many of whom had good secondary skills in bowling  Bowling talent pool was relatively limited. The bowling averages are 30 or more, while the SR is 61+  Those playing as WKs averaged less than 40, which did not strengthen the batting as desired. Gilchrist, the benchmark, averaged 46 when you exclude BD and Zim    
 
Therefore in the 1990-2014, India had a strong case of playing the extra batsman, who was among the best talents in the country and when a bunch of those playing as batsmen could bowl effectively too as the 5th bowler. 
 
 
Let us look at the numbers from 2015 to Present period. 
 
Batting
View overall figures [change view] Primary team India  Opposition team Australia  or England  or New Zealand  or Pakistan  or South Africa  or Sri Lanka  or West Indies  Start of match date greater than or equal to 1 Jan 2015  Qualifications runs scored greater than or equal to 500  and batting average greater than or equal to 40  Ordered by batting average (descending) Page 1 of 1 Showing 1 - 4 of 4   First Previous Next  Last  Return to query menu
Cleared query menu Overall figures Player Span Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave BF SR 100 50 0 4s 6s   V Kohli 2015-2019 43 71 4 4003 243 59.74 6768 59.14 15 10 4 425 10 CA Pujara 2015-2019 39 63 3 3181 202 53.01 7186 44.26 12 12 5 358 7 RR Pant 2018-2019 9 15 1 696 159* 49.71 943 73.80 2 2 1 70 17 RG Sharma 2015-2018 17 30 5 1009 102* 40.36 1810 55.74 1 9 1 86 25  
 
Bowling
View overall figures [change view] Primary team India  Opposition team Australia  or England  or New Zealand  or Pakistan  or South Africa  or Sri Lanka  or West Indies  Start of match date greater than or equal to 1 Jan 2015  Qualifications wickets taken greater than or equal to 20  Ordered by bowling average (ascending) Page 1 of 1 Showing 1 - 9 of 9   First Previous Next  Last  Return to query menu
Cleared query menu Overall figures Player Span Mat Inns Overs Mdns Runs Wkts BBI BBM Ave Econ SR 5 10   B Kumar 2015-2018 9 17 252.1 67 730 34 5/33 8/96 21.47 2.89 44.5 2 0 JJ Bumrah 2018-2019 10 20 402.4 95 1073 49 6/33 9/86 21.89 2.66 49.3 3 0 RA Jadeja 2015-2019 27 52 1259.5 316 2998 135 7/48 10/154 22.20 2.37 55.9 7 1 R Ashwin 2015-2018 39 74 1791.2 374 4972 212 7/59 13/140 23.45 2.77 50.6 16 5 Kuldeep Yadav 2017-2019 6 10 164.5 22 579 24 5/57 6/119 24.12 3.51 41.2 2 0 A Mishra 2015-2016 9 18 267.4 44 853 33 4/43 7/72 25.84 3.18 48.6 0 0 Mohammed Shami 2015-2019 29 56 848.2 160 2700 103 6/56 6/74 26.21 3.18 49.4 3 0 I Sharma 2015-2018 26 49 736.3 164 2001 73 5/51 8/86 27.41 2.71 60.5 2 0 UT Yadav 2015-2018 27 54 714.5 138 2367 70 6/88 10/133 33.81 3.31 61.2 1 1  
 
To summarize the 2015 to Present period: 
Only 4 batsmen average 40 or more. Rishabh Pant, who plays as the WK averages close to 50. Rohit Sharma's average is more condition dependent. We do not have batsmen who can serve as the 5th bowler like what some of those mentioned used to in the past  Almost all bowlers average less than 30 and also have a SR of less than 61. Though the performances of spinners and bowlers such as Bhuvneshwar Kumar are condition dependent. Unlike in the past, Bowling is the key strength for India   With Pant, we have a WK whose batting can be leveraged much like Gilchrist's   
 
Therefore, by playing the 6th batsman, who many times is more like a glorified nightwatchman, we are not necessarily strengthening our line up. The WK Pant performs better than the 6th batsman. Our bowling is more focused on picking wickets, which means that they prefer to be used in relatively shorter spells where they can bowl with all their force rather than bowling within themselves to get more overs in. To keep these bowlers relatively fresh and keep bowling them at their full force, the role of the 5th bowler gets paramount. 
 
Considering that now we have a) a WK that has the ability to average 40+, and b) batsmen who do not bowl that often and those playing as the 6th batsman produce diminishing returns, the best way to add the 5th bowler is to play an Allrounder (AR), who can add value to both bowling and batting. 
 
 
Hardik Pandya 
 
Among ARs, Hardik Pandya is unique in the sense that he not only has the ability to hit test 100s and change the game with his batting abilities, but also bowl at 140+. As a fielder, he is also among the best in the country. 
 
Below is Pandya's performance so far in Test cricket: 
Records type all-round analysis [change type] View series averages [change view] Ordered by start date (ascending) Return to query menu
Cleared query menu Career averages   Mat Runs HS Bat Av 100 Wkts BBI Bowl Av 5 Ct St Ave Diff   overall 11 532 108 31.29 1 17 5/28 31.05 1 7 0 0.23  
 
Pandya in matches won:
Records type all-round analysis [change type] View series averages [change view] Match result won match  Ordered by start date (ascending) Return to query menu
Cleared query menu Career averages   Mat Runs HS Bat Av 100 Wkts BBI Bowl Av 5 Ct St Ave Diff   unfiltered 11 532 108 31.29 1 17 5/28 31.05 1 7 0 0.23 Profile filtered 6 323 108 46.14 1 10 5/28 18.70 1 6 0 27.44  
 
For someone in his first season, the stats are good as:
Pandya has mostly played in difficult batting conditions in SA and Eng, where many specialist batsmen have averages much less. In Asia, he averages 60+ with the bat. And has a 50+ score in each of the series he has played in   Pandya, a pace bowler, has bowled mostly with a relatively soft ball to bowl overs when the new ball is around the corner. His bowling average and SR improve when he bowls with a relatively hard ball where he won India a test in Eng with a career best of 5/28   
 
With most of the other ARs, we see that they have a dominant primary skill. Pandya is also unique as he does not appear to have a dominant primary skill.  Since he is equally good at both batting and bowling, one challenge for him would be to figure out the area of his main focus. Because he would be more of a 4th or 5th bowler, my recommendation is that he focus more on his batting. Pandya could use someone like Gilchrist, who is an WK AR and a flamboyant batsman who can change the game with his batting when playing in the lower middle batting order, as a reference for performances in tests. 
 
 
Another AR who much like Pandya is equally good in both departments in Jason Holder. Below is how Jason Holder performed in his first two years: 
Records type all-round analysis [change type] View series averages [change view] Opposition team Australia  or England  or India  or New Zealand  or Pakistan  or South Africa  or Sri Lanka Start of match date less than or equal to 26 Jun 2016  Ordered by start date (ascending) Return to query menu
Cleared query menu Career averages   Mat Runs HS Bat Av 100 Wkts BBI Bowl Av 5 Ct St Ave Diff   unfiltered 36 1761 202* 33.86 3 88 6/59 28.29 5 28 0 5.56 Profile filtered 13 546 103* 27.30 1 21 3/15 39.00 0 10 0 -11.69  
 
The above shows us that unique ARs need some time to develop. ARs do not always appear ready made. Once such talent is identified, teams have to make an effort to develop them. Once developed, they become a force to be reckoned with as they can win their team games both with the bat and the ball. 
 
 
Considering the various points discussed with respect to current talent pool in batting, bowling and wicket keeping, Pandya should be played in tests especially on batting friendly and sporting pitches. By playing Tests, Pandya will improve as a cricketer which will help India in LOIs as well. 
 
The Pant-Pandya combination slotted at 6-7 is impactful and has the potential to become a game changer for India. With that, India can optimize its 5 batting and 4 bowling slots. To me, an optimized Test line up for 2020s appears like the one below: 
 
Agarwal
Shaw
Pujara
Kohli
Gill
Pant
Pandya
Pacer / Spinner per conditions
Kuldeep (can be developed as a most conditions spinner) 
Shami (Wicket taking pace bowler)
Bumrah (Wicket taking pace bowler) 
 
Currently, Shaw, Gill, Pant, Panyda, Kuldeep and Bumrah are among the best talents in the country and 25 years old or less. If India invests in them, it can reap great rewards in near future  
 
 
References / Acknowledgements: 
Cricinfo for stats / numbers   
 

Austin 3:!6
India - 107/10 (35.2 overs)
 
After an exciting 1st test, all eyes were on Lords when these two top teams locked horns again. But the fun was spoiled by persistent rain on 1st day when the game got called off. Joe Root for England won the toss on 2nd day and asked India to bat in most hostile rainy overcast conditions. The duke ball swung throughout the day and Indian batsmen looked clueless against some top bowling. 
 
India made two changes which were along the expected lines. Shikar Dhawan and Umesh Yadav were dropped for Cheteshwar Pujara and an additional spinner in the form of Kuldeep Yadav. However, changing the opening combination made no difference as India were found themselves reeling with 2 wickets down with only 10 runs on board. It looked like all on King Kohli's shoulder again and he needed to carry the batting line up. A bizarre run out of Pujara just before the rain break piled on to the misery of Indians.
 
Pujara Run Out - the turning point

 
After almost 3 hours rain break, the game resumed around 5pm local time and big partnership was needed between skipper Kohli and Vice Captain Rahane. Kohli's constant struggle against Woakes finally came  to an end when he edged one to the slips for 23. He never looked comfortable against Woakes who drew him forward in the previous over with lots of plays and misses. Once the Indian captain gone, it went all downhill from there. Only Ashwin showed some resistance with a well made 29 and few late blows from Shami  ensured India went passed 100 mark. India finally got all out for 107 with lots of questions to answer.
 
Anderson 5 wicket haul

 
With only 107 runs in 1st innings, it is very tough for India to come back into this match. However with rain forecast for whole day tomorrow and monday, there is a chance this game might be washed out and India might sneak with a draw.
 

express bowling
Indian fast bowler, Md. Shami, was on fire during the closing stages of the Johannesburg test match in January 2018. As quick yorkers and stump directed deliveries came spearing in one after another, the South Africans were losing wickets fast and crashing to a test defeat on their home turf. And we won rather quickly after this.

This test match win was rather unique ... India won it without playing a single spinner while playing 4 specialist fast bowlers and a seamer-allrounder ... for the first time in our history.  And what an elated feeling it was for the fast bowling fans of India !

Forty years back, the only way to differentiate between an Indian pacer and an Indian spinner was to look at the length of their run-ups. After that, we produced one good test quality pacer per decade ... Kapil in the 1980s starting 1978,  Srinath in the 1990s and Zaheer in the 2000s.

The 2010s decade saw a sea change. With much improved strength and endurance training, nutrition, world class facilities and fitness coaches at the NCA, rampant use of speed-guns in coaching facilities, good cricket infrastructure in many parts of India, bubbling confidence of Indians due to a fast growing economy,  rookie pacers interacting with world class coaches and players in the IPL, good U19 and A-team structure etc. ...  fast bowling culture finally arrived in India. And in 2018, we have so many good quality genuine fast bowlers right from the U16 stage to the senior team.

Now, the 5 test series in England is about to be played.  Let us take a look at the resources available to us.
 

Pacers selected in the squad to England for the first 3 tests -- 
 
 
Jasprit Bumrah
Age 24
Test Average  25.2  and  SR  48.1
Speed range in test matches -  135 k to 148 k
Bowling style - Right arm fast

Bumrah is a hit-the-deck genuine fast bowler who is around  6 feet tall. He has a high arm and unorthodox action. Gets good bounce , zip off the deck and seam movement wherever possible and is a very accurate bowler.  He started off as a pacer who bowled indippers most of the time ... but in the last 9 months he has also  developed the delivery that moves away slightly.  This has made him a very dangerous bowler.

He is a thinking bowler who adapts to situations fast and is a quick learner. This,  along with his ability to combine pace and bounce with skills,  has made him a genuine wicket taker. He bowled with great intensity and pace in his debut test series in South Africa and ended up with 14 wickets from 3 tests ... and his transition from white ball to red ball cricket was rather smooth.

His unfortunate thumb injury will make him miss the first test.  I hope he gets fit for the second game.  He has all the qualities to be the leader of our pace attack.


Md. Shami  
Age 28
Test average  28.9  and SR  51.2
Speed range in test matches - 135 k to 147 k
Bowling style - Right arm fast

He is a short, well built, genuine fast bowler who combines pace and bounce with good skills and has an excellent ball release and seam position. He is a master of reverse swing both ways and gets consistent seam movement too wherever available. Although not a classical swing bowler, he can bowl conventionally swinging balls when conditions are helpful ... and takes the ball away from the right-handeres.  He also has a vicious and skiddy bouncer which he uses liberally.

Shami in full flow is a sight to behold and this has made him a low average and low SR bowler.  But his career has been marred by knee injuries which has made him miss many a series. Adding to his injury woes has been some acute marital problems in the last 8 months, which has shaken him mentally.

I hope he is in the mental frame of mind to give his one hundred percent in the upcoming test series. If he is firing on all cylinders, our job will become much easier in England.


Umesh Yadav  
Age 30
Test average  34.9  and SR  58.0
Speed range in test matches - 135 k to 150 k   (  but has bowled 130 k to 145 k in the last few months  )
Bowling style - Right arm fast

He is a skiddy fast bowler, around 5'11" , who can combine pace with outswing. But his weaknesses are lack of consistency, accuracy and insufficient bounce for such a quick bowler. He has a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde syndrome.  We dont know which Umesh we are going to get, the magical wicket-taker or the club level bowler.

Another problem he has developed in the last few months is bowling slower than he can. This is not a good idea for anybody, but especially for someone whose USP is pace. He has done it perhaps in search of accuracy. That hasn't happened though as most pacers are most accurate when they are bowling in full rhythm and normal pace. Bowling slower or faster than usual, both affect accuracy adversely.

If he can combine outswing, pace and good lines ... he can be a handful in England.


Ishant Sharma   
Age 29
Test average  35.5  and SR  65.9
Speed range in test matches - 132 k to 145 k
Bowling style - Right arm fast-medium

He is a  6'5"  hit the deck pacer who has been around for more than 10 years.  A slow learner and sub-par performer, he is lucky to have survived this long.

But, in the last 4 years he has added value, in overseas test matches, as a workhorse pacer who can get in a lot of overs at a low economy rate while hitting the deck hard and maintaining lively pace.

He has recently had a county stint and seems to have developed a better inswinger. His perennial problem has been bowling a bit shorter than ideal length and we will see whether this aspect has improved.
 

Shardul Thakur 
Age 26
Test average  -  Yet to debut
Speed range in FC matches - 130 k to 142 k
Bowling style - Right arm fast-medium

A short skiddy pacer, around 5'9" ... he seems to be the automatic backup seamer in all formats the moment someone is injured or rested.  But is definitely not the best choice available, with so much good quality fast bowling talent available in India now.

He is primarily an outswing bowler. If he can bowl a good line and length then he can be successful in England due to his ability to get outswing. He has a decent bouncer too.

We have to see whether he can sustain pace in test matches. He is such a short seamer bowling at standard pace, whether he can make an impact, if the dry English summer does not offer much swing, needs to be seen too.


Pacers who barely missed out due to injury or otherwise -- 


Bhuvneshwar Kumar ( injured )
Age 28
Test average 26.1 and SR 53.1
Speed range in test matches - 127 k to 142 k
Bowling style - Right arm fast-medium

India's best swing bowler who is capable of picking regular five-fors in helpful conditions or on greentops. His unavailability in swing-friendly England, atleast for the first 3 tests, is a big blow for us.

He has a good seam position and can swing the ball both ways if conditions favour conventional swing, get some seam movement on greentops and is an accurate and thinking bowler. He often looks innocuous on flat or slow tracks though.

After adding some pace and bounce, Bhuvi has become very competitive in test matches.  He will be missed.


Md. Siraj  
Age 24
Test average - Yet to debut
Speed range - Was Bowling 135 k to 150 k in T20s ...  Can he bowl 135 k to 145 k in tests  ?
Bowling style - Right arm fast-medium / fast

A wiry, skiddy fast bowler, around 6'1",  Siraj has progressed very fast after FC debut, with stellar FC, List A and A-team performances.  He can bowl with genuine pace but does not always do so. His speed has improved a lot in the last 4 months.

He started off as a bowler who bowled indippers mostly, but saw him bowling the away going delivery rather regularly on the just finished A-team tour to England.  Previosly, most of his wickets were via skiddy quick stump directed deliveries, which fetches him lots of bowled and LBWs.  He has been getting quite a few caught behinds in recent times.

He has been in red hot form in the just concluded  4 day A-team series. Has picked up 15 wickets in 2 matches.  Should have been picked in the test squad.


Ankit Rajpoot  
Age 24
Test average - Yet to debut
Speed range in FC matches - 130 k to 143 k
Bowling style - Right arm fast-medium


He is a very tall outswing bowler, around 6'3" maybe, who bowls at a lively pace.  Can hit the deck hard when needed, for bounce and seam movement. Bowls a beautiful line and length too. Could have been an ideal pick for England but got injured just before the test squad was announced.

He has been playing FC for a long time and has done well in both FC and on A-tours. His issues can be ... he is sometimes unable to maintain pace and intensity in 4-day matches.


Navdeep Saini  
Age 25
Test average - Yet to debut
Speed range in FC - 133 k to 145 k
Bowling style - Right arm fast

A skiddy fast bowler, around 6'0", he bowls a wonderful line targeting the top of off stump. He can seam the ball both ways.

He bowled at high pace and with good intensity in the knock-out matches of last year's Ranji Trophy and picked up lots of wickets including fifers.

He has been playing for India-A for 2 seasons now and was picked in our Test squad in the one off test versus Afghanistan.


Conclusion --  If we had our 3 low-average and low-strike-rate pacers available for this test series ... Bumrah, Shami and Bhuvneshwar ... then our pace attack would have posed a tough challenge for England. Unfortunately, Bhuvi is injured and Bumrah will miss the first test atleast.

This situation makes our pace attack hit or miss for the first test ... and it is time our 3 senior pacers, Shami, Ishant and Umesh, put their hands up and show some consistency and intensity. Things should improve if Bumrah is fit from the second test match onwards.
 

G_B_
England have trashed India. These words sum up the third (and second) ODI of the three match series. India went into the game with concerns about their new ball bowlers and middle order batsman. Both of these weaknesses were exploited by England who were disciplined with the ball and ruthless with the bat.
 
India started the day by losing the toss (though they wanted to bat first) and making some questionable selections. Wicket taking bowler Umesh Yadav was dropped for Bhubaneshwar Kumar whose record on flat wickets is questionable. Most surprisingly, Lokesh Rahul was replaced by Dinesh Kartick with the much maligned Suresh Raina keeping his place and doing little to justify the vote of confidence. A decision captain Kohli will no doubt regret given the abysmal Indian performance. Selection has been a contentious issue for India under Kohli given that there appears to be no force capable of questioning his choices within the squad. One hopes that voices of dissent do manifest themselves before the start of the test series.
 
Looking forward to the world cup, the outcome of this series makes it abundantly clear that India have several gaps to fill. They cannot rely on Kuldeep Yadav to paper over the cracks with the ball given that sides will figure him out as the tournament reaches its end stages. The last two ODI’s pose serious questions of the Chinaman bowler. How he responds to the challenge will reveal if he is world class. The other elephant in the room is the form of MS Dhoni. While his keeping skills remain superhuman, he is struggling to accelerate with the bat against less than world class English bowling unit. Time is running out for a replacement to make a mark and be comfortable at an international level. Rohit Sharma is the textbook definition of a flat track bully. A five course meal when there is no swing and/or seam and two minute maggi noodles if there is little bit on the same.
 
Finally, team ICF congratulates England for the series win. Their first over India since 2011. It underlines their tag as one of the favourites for the 2019 world cup. Only time will tell if this series serves as a wakeup call or its business as usual for the boys in blue. India you have been warned.

sourab10forever
In contrast to the recent flow of things for this mighty Indian LOI team, they faced a decent-sized defeat at the hands of the three lions. Not only did this result spill life into the series and saved the 3rd ODI from becoming a dead contest, It was a vital speed-breaker that was necessary for India when looking at the larger picture i.e the upcoming WC.
 
Morgan, to the joy of his counterpart, decided to bat first after winning the coin toss. The stats and team form showed that batting second was the key and the factors that led England to decide otherwise remain unclear. Perhaps, as Gambhir pointed out, it might have something to do with negating the effectiveness of the Indian spin-duo under the lights.
 
The 1st Innings
The first 15 overs or so went as per the script. The English openers got them off to a great start, like they always do. Kuldeep came in and picked up his customary set of wickets. What changed, to the relief of the English fans, was the sight of their main ace Root back to what he does best. A well compiled century while not only making sure that he held the fort against the Indian spinners but also scoring at a decent pace. Buttler fell early and Moeen wasn't any good either. the Indian bowlers were keeping things nice and clean until David Willy decided to go bonkers and gave England what they required to get to 320, which was just about at par given the conditions.
 
The 2nd Innings
Dhawan gave the innings a great start unleashing a set of exquisite cover drives. The Hitman, on the other end, took his own sweet time. Rahul fell cheap and India's innings was already in trouble. Kohli-Raina stitched together decent partnership but the RRR was always climbing and their pace would only mean one thing-pressure on the weakest part of this Indian team, the lower middle order. Dhoni again gave a masterclass on why he is a misfit at no.6 but Kohli easily brushed away this fact in the post-match press conference with an often used brush called 'off-day'. Once Raina was out in the 32nd Over, there was but little hope. India succumbed to a 86 run defeat.
 
Not a lot of takeaways from this game for Team India. Only a couple of questions that Kohli and Shastri will have to find answers to. The series is now up for grabs and hopefully, India can pull it off and take a load of confidence going into the all-important test series.
 
 
Sourab10Forever

Straight Drive
It was in April 1971 that India had won the five match test series with margin of 1-0 against WI in WI. The following tour to England starting in June 1971 included 16 Warmup matches and 3 Tests. Whereas the WI tour comprised of 6 warmups and 5 test matches.
 
(A) Tour Schedule and results:
 

 
Schedule reference:
http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/series/62286.html
 
(B) Selection and experience of English conditions:
 
Vijay Merchant was the chariman of selectors.
 
Indian Squad:
Syed Abid Ali, Bishan Bedi, Farokh Engineer (wk), Sunil Gavaskar, Eknath Solkar, Srinivas Venkataraghavan, Gundappa Viswanath, Ajit Wadekar (c), Ashok Mankad, Bhagwath Chandrasekhar, Dilip Sardesai, Abbas Ali Baig,  Syed Kirmani, P. Krishnamurthy (wk), Kinnani (wk), Kenia Jayantilal, Syed Kirmani, D Govindraj.
 
England Squad:
Ray Illingworth (c), John Edrich, John Price, Geoff Boycott, Norman Gifford, John Snow, Basil D Oliveira, Dennis Amiss, Alan Knott (wk), Brian Luckhurst, Richard Hutton,  John Jameson, Derek Underwood, Peter Lever, Keith Fletcher.
 
 
3 players (Jeejebhoy, ML Jaisimha and Salim Durani) who were part of Indian squad to WI a month before were dropped. Farokh Engineer (wk), Kirmani (wk) Abbas Ali Baig and Chandrasekhar were picked in the squad.
 
Pataudi who had lost place in WI series had contested elections and was ignored for this series as well. He did not take his sacking from captaincy well at all.
 
Jaisimha's international career ended after having dropped for this series.
Amarnath too who played just one test (debut) in lost series against Australia in India continued to be ignored for the WI and now this England series. Amarnath was out of the teams for atleast 5 years.
 
Farokh Engineer had played a lot of cricket at Lancashire. In fact Lancashire declined to release Farokh for warmup matches and Farokh missed all 16 warmups. I doubt any Indian cricketer has even played half the county matches in what Farokh played apart from MAK Pataudi. From this team, Farokh Engineer, Ajit Wadekar , Chandra, Dilip Sardesai and Bedi had toured to England in 1967. Engineer was also most experienced amongst this squad, followed by Wadekar, Sardesai, Prasanna and Bedi.
 
(C) Players :
Debutant series for:
England - John Jameson
India : None
 
Both team players were match fit having played test series shortly before this series.
 
Bowling attacks:
MAK had realized that there were no quality pacers and he had built the spin quartet. Bedi, Venkataraghavan, Chandrasekhar had made debuts under MAK Pataaudi's captaincy. Prasanna was the only spinner from spin quartet who had made debut under Nari Contractor's captaincy. Wadekar and other captains maintained the spin quartet attack composition they had acquired. Although Prasanna was dropped because Venkat did the job of off-spinner as well.
England on the other hand had one of the best English pace bowler ever in John Snow. He was dropped for second test due to his onfield behavior. Snow, Richard Hutton,John Price and Peter Lever formed the pace attack. Raymond Illingworth, Gifford and Underwood were the spinners.
As usual England had better pacers and India had better spin attack.
 
Batting lineups:
1970's was very tough decade to bat in. England had batting super stars in Amiss and Boycott. Knott was the best keeper ever.
Sunny had just one series under his belt but he was in prolific form and easily the best batsman during that year, closely followed by Dilip Sardesai as another in form batsman. Vishy was not as successful as those two in WI series.
 
(D) Captaincy and Team form:
 
Ajit Wadekar who captained in the tour to WI in 1971 and won the series, was captaining this side as well.  Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi was the Indian captain for that series. Prior to that, Australia had won 5 match test series against India in India by a margin of 3-1. Mansur Ali KHan Pataudi was the Indian captain for that series.
 
Ray Illingworth, was very experienced cricketer who graduated himself to captaincy. Under his captaincy England won the 3-match test series against WI (June - July 1969) in England by a margin of 2-0, then won the 3 match test series against NZ (July - August 1969) in England in by a margin of 2-0 followed by an Ashes win in Australia (Nov 1969 - Feb 1970) in 7 match test series by a margin of 2-0, then toured NZ (Feb - March 1971) and won the 2 match test series by a margin of 1-0 followed by test series win against Pakistan in England (June - July 1971) by a margin of 1-0. Such was England's success under captaincy of Ray Illingworth that in 17 matches he captained until this series, England had won 8 tests, drawn 9 amd lost none.
 
Ray Illingworth's captaincy records are too good: Tests Captained- 31, Won - 12, Lost 5, Draw - 13.
England had also whitewashed India by a margin of 3-0 on the last tour of England in 1967.
Given the aforementioned contexts, England were the strong favorites more so as they were the home team as well.
 
 
(E) Test Series :
India had played good number of warmups to get going.
 
1st Test:
Jul 22-27, 1971
England v India at Lord's -  Draw
 
Scorecard:
http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/17255/scorecard/63076/england-vs-india-1st-test-india-tour-of-england-1971
 
England won the toss and opted to bat
 
England Playing 11:
Ray Illingworth (c), John Edrich, John Price, Geoff Boycott, Norman Gifford, John Snow, Basil D Oliveira, Dennis Amiss, Alan Knott (wk), Brian Luckhurst, Richard Hutton
 
India Playing 11:
Syed Abid Ali, Bishan Bedi, Farokh Engineer (wk), Sunil Gavaskar, Eknath Solkar, Srinivas Venkataraghavan, Gundappa Viswanath, Ajit Wadekar (c), Ashok Mankad, Bhagwath Chandrasekhar, Dilip Sardesai
Raymond Illingworth won the toss and opted to bat first. As it was more often than not, Wadekar had lost the toss again.

Abid Ali opened the bowling for India. He strucky early as Boycott edged one to Farokh on Abid Ali's bowling. A very big wicket that. Bedi and Chandra then took two wickets each and England at home were reduced to 71/5. Thec came the partnership of Illingworth and Alan Knott which stopped the collapse as they put on 90 runs. To everyones surprise the top scorer was pacer John Snow who scored 73 - this 73 remains Snow's career best test score. England had managed to fightback with first innings total of 304. Apart from the wicket of Boycott taken by Abid Ali, the remaining wickets had fell to the 3 spinners (Bedi -4, Chandra - 3, Venkat - 2).
In the Indian first innings, Ashok Mankad and Sunny were dismissed very cheaply. Wadekar scored a wonderful 85, which was the best innnings for India in this test.He was well supported by Vishy (68), Engineer (28) and Solkar (67). India had taken first innings lead of 9 runs haveing replied with score of 314.
 
England's struggle against spin was worse in second innings. Indian spinners took 9 wickets (Venkat - 4, Chandra - 2 and Bedi - 2) in this innings as well to dismiss them for 191. India had to score 183 to win.
 
Ashok Mankad, the opener, edged one to Knott off Snow's bowling. Wadekar was dismissed early as well as India were 21/2. Sunny top scored in this innings with a well made 53. In his partnership with Farokh Engineer, John Snow the wel built bowler had pushed Sunny while runnung even though Sunny was not stopping Snow from being in path of the ball. Sunny fell down. This incident was taken badly and England management dropped John Snow from the second test for this unacceptable behavior on field. Though Snow apologized to Sunny, England think tank sacked him for next test. Farokh had counter attacked scoring 35 of 40 balls. Vishy, Sardesai ,Solkar, Abid Ali and Venkat were dismissed cheaply. The rain meanwhile had interfered as India needed to score 38 with two wickets left. The match was interstingly poised with Solkar still there who used to score fighting 50's as we have seen previously. However, there was no play post tea on the final day and the match ended in a draw.
 
2nd Test:
Aug 5-10, 1971
England v India at Manchester - Draw
 
Scorecard:
http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/17255/scorecard/63077/england-vs-india-2nd-test-india-tour-of-england-1971
 
England won the toss and opted to bat.
 
England Playing 11:
Ray Illingworth (c), John Edrich, John Price, Norman Gifford, Basil D Oliveira, Alan Knott (wk), Keith Fletcher, Brian Luckhurst, Peter Lever, Richard Hutton, John Jameson

India Playing 11:
Syed Abid Ali, Bishan Bedi, Farokh Engineer (wk), Sunil Gavaskar, Eknath Solkar, Srinivas Venkataraghavan, Gundappa Viswanath, Ajit Wadekar (c), Ashok Mankad, Bhagwath Chandrasekhar, Dilip Sardesai
 
Wadekar lost the toss...yet again. Illingworth opted to bat first.
 
For England, Boycott and Amiss were replaced by Jameson and Keith Fletcher. Snow was sacked as disciplinary measure of pushing Sunny. Petr Lever the home bowler at this ground replaced Snow.
 
India retained all players who played in first test.

Abid Ali bowled a maginificent first spell claiming three wickets in two overs, reducing England to 25/3. He followed this with another wicket of Basil D'Oliveira and England were reeling at 41/4. The partnership between opener Luckhurst and keeper Knott took England to 116/5 as Venkat claimed the wicket of Knott. Raymond Illingworth made 107 and Luckhurst did his part with a well made 78 when Indian bowlers were well on top as wicktes tumbled at other end. Umpiring decisions came under scanner though in Illingworth's knock. Home player and a captain. Like Snow did in previous test, here Lever scored 88 not out which is his career best score in test cricket.England were steered safe to 386 after the top order collapse courtesy good knocks by Luckhurst, Illingworth and Lever. Abid Ali was pick of the bolwers with 4 wickets in his devastating first spell. if onyl spinners had supported him in this test and made advantage of the collapse he had triggered.
 
India lost Ashok Mankad early. Sunny though as usual put a price on his wicket and scored 57. These were testing conditions with rain falling before the start of the day with pace and swing on offer. Apart from Sunny, only Eknath Solkar managed to score a 50. Sunny had showed his class yet again when the conditions favored pacers overseas hugely. Lever on his home ground had taken 5/70 as India scored 212. Pace wise Price was faster though than Peter Lever. Apart from Sunny and Solkar, nobody stood up. England had a massive lead of 174 runs.

Luckhurst continued his fine form with a 101. Edrich supported with 59 and Illingworth scored a 16 ball 23 as England declared on 245/3. India were set a daunting target of 420 runs. India were 65/3 at Stumps on Day 4. There was no play on Day 5 and rain had saved this test for India.
 
3rd Test:
Aug 19-24, 1971
England v India at The Oval - India won by 4 wickets
 
Scorecard:
http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/17255/scorecard/63078/england-vs-india-3rd-test-india-tour-of-england-1971

Rain had interferred in both previous tests:
Test 1: No play happened on Day 5 post tea as India needed 38 runs to win with two wickets left. Both teams could have won this.
Test 2: All of Day 5 was washed out due to rain with India needing to score 355 runs more and 7 wickets left. England were favorites given the conditions, the bowlers who could exploit the overcast conditions and number of runs required.
 
England won the toss and opted to bat
 
England Playing 11:
Ray Illingworth (c), John Edrich, John Price, John Snow, Basil D Oliveira, Derek Underwood, Alan Knott (wk), Keith Fletcher, Brian Luckhurst, Richard Hutton, John Jameson.
 
India Playing 11:
Syed Abid Ali, Bishan Bedi, Farokh Engineer (wk), Sunil Gavaskar, Eknath Solkar, Srinivas Venkataraghavan, Gundappa Viswanath, Ajit Wadekar (c), Ashok Mankad, Bhagwath Chandrasekhar, Dilip Sardesai.
 
Illingworth had won three tosses in row. Wadekar as more often than not had lost yet another toss. Illingworth opted to bat first.
 
Snow replaced Peter Lever who was outstanding in second test with a 5/70. Dered Underwood replaced spinner Gifford.
India played same team for third time in this series.
 
Abid Ali and Solkar opened the bowling innings. It was Solkar though, this time, who picked the early wicket of in-form Luckhurst for just 1 run in his very first over. Jameson and Edrich scored a partnership of 106 runs - England being 112/2 when Edrich was dismissed. Jameson was run out for 82. Few wickets fell in frequent intervals as England score stood at 175/6. Knott (90) and Hutton (81) heped England recover the innings to respectable 355. Solakr had grabbed 3 wickets and Chandra, Bedi, Venkat with 2 each. 1 (Jameson) was run-out.
 
There was no play on Day 2 due to rain.
 
Price and Snow claimed one wicket each as both Indian openers were out chepaly. India were 21/2. Sardesai made a fighting 54 as Wadekar accompanied him with 48 runs, Vishy was out for a duck. Solkar yet again chipped in with handy 44 while Engineer was highest scorer for India in this innings with a score of 59. Abid Ali and Venkat too made handy contributions. India were all out for 284, giving England a lead of 71 runs.
The twist was about to happen. Chandra took 6/38 in 18.1 overs. I have this as my choice of best bowling ever by Chandra. English conditions, decider test, team totally struggling with a massive lead only for a spinner to wreck havoc. The top score for England was 33 by opener Luckhurst who too was dismissed by Chandra.Venkat supported Chandra with 2/44. England were all out for 101 giving India a target of 173.
 
All looked good until, Sunny was LBW to Snow for a duck and Ashok Mankad out for 11. 37/2. India were 95/2 at stumps of Day 4. Next day Wadekar continued and played captains innings top scoring with 45. Sardesai was second best run scorer with 40 and Vishy third best with 33. At lunch India needed 25 to win with Vishy and Engineer at crease. With 4 runs required, a very part time bowler (probably even lesser than that if there is any) had Vishy caught by Knott. His only test wicket ever and he picked a very good batsman. Meanwhile Engineer had chipped in with 28 till then and remained not out with Abid Ali hitting the winning boundar remaining not out on 4.
 
The clippings of crowd lifting both batsmen were awesome. First ever victory for India over England in England. India had won three overseas test series in about 3 years. NZ (1968), WI (1971), England (1971).

(F) Career impacts:
(1)John Jameson was dropped post this series and he played only one test later after couple of years in 1974. He played only one test though.
(2)Richard Hutton was never picked again and this series ended his test career.

(G) Notable events:
(1) India's first test win in England as well as first test series win in England.
(2) FC matches: Played 16, Won 6, Lost 1, Drawn 9.
(3) Tests: Played 3, Won 1, Drawn 2.
(4) Bedi, Chandra and Venkat played all 3 tests. Out of 53 English wickets that fell in the series, the spin trio claimed 37 wickets. Medium pace of  Solkar and Abid Ali took 11 wickets. 5 wickets were effected by run-outs.
(5) Wadekar top scored for India with 204 runs in series to end up as third highest run scorer of this series from both teams.
(6) Chandra's spell won the test for India at Oval.
(7) A huge crowd attended while the team travelled from Mumbai Airport to CCI to congratulate team for winning two overseas back to back test series (West Indies & England)
(8) Standing concrete bat structure was raised in Indore to appreciate the two successive overseas test wins. Names of all cricketers in squad written with autograph of Ajit Wadekar on top. Irony was that after the loss later this structure in Indore was damaged by fans.
 
 

Straight Drive
Tour Schedule:
 
Tour Matches / Warm up Schedule

1st Tour Match - 4 Days (Draw)
5 February, 1971 - 8 February, 1971
India v Jamaica - Sabina Park, Kingston,Jamaica
 
2nd Tour Match - 4 Days (Draw)
11 February, 1971 - 14 February, 1971
India v West Indies Board Presidents 11 - Jarrett Park, Montego Bay, Jamaica
 
3rd Tour Match - 3 Days (India won by 9 wickets)
25 February, 1971 - 28 February, 1971
India v Leeward Island
Warner Park, Basseterre, Saint Kitts and Nevis
 
4th Tour Match - 4 Days (Draw)
1 March, 1971 - 4 March, 1971
India v Trinidad and Tobago- Guaracara Park, Pointe-à-Pierre, Trinidad
 
5th Tour Match - 4 Days (Barbados won by 9 wickets)
27 March, 1971 - 30 March, 1971
India v Barbados - Kensington Oval, Bridgetown, Barbados
 
6th Tour Match - 3 Days (Draw)
8 April, 1971 - 10 April, 1971
India v Windward Islands - Botanical Gardens, Roseau, Dominica
 
 
Test Series Schedule:
 
Feb 18, 1971 - Feb 23, 1971 (Draw)
1st Test
West Indies v India - Sabina Park, Kingston,Jamaica
 

2nd Test - (India won by 7 wickets)
March 6, 1971 - March 10, 1971
West Indies v India  - Queen's Park Oval, Port of Span, Trinidad  
 
3rd Test -   (Draw)
March 19, 1971 to March 24, 1971
West Indies v India  - Bourda, Georgetown, Guyana
 

4th Test - (Draw)
April 1, 1971 to April 6, 1971
West Indies v India  - Kensington Oval, Bridgetown, Barbados
 

5th Test - (Draw)
April 13, 1971 to April 19, 1971
West Indies v India  - Queen's Park Oval, Port of Span, Trinidad
 
Squads:
 
India Squad:
Ajit Wadekar (Captain), Abid Ali, Jayantilal,  Dilip Sardesai, Ashok Mankad, ML Jaisimha, P Krishnamurti, Eknath Solkar, Prasanna,Bedi,S Venkataraghavan,Salim Durani, Gundappa Vishwanath, Sunil Gavaskar, Rusi Jeejeebhoy, Govindraj.

West Indies Squad:
Gary Sobers (Captain), Rohan Kanhai, Fredrick, Lloyd, Charlie Davis, Foster, Desmond Lewis, Holford, Lance Gibbs, Carew, Boyce, Camacho, Shillingford, Noregia, Frindlay, Inshan Ali, Dowe, Barrett, Vanburn Holder, Shepherd
Tour matches / warmup - 6 (4 Four Day matches, 2 Two Day matches)
 
 
 
Selections:
Vijay Merchant was the chairman of selectors.  
 
India had won first ever Test match win overseas against New Zealand in 1968 under Pataudi, however, in 1969, Indian lost the 5-match series 3-1 in India against Australia under Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi's captaincy.  Pataudi was dropped. 
 
Rusi Surti and Engineer were dropped as they did not take part in prior Ranji Trophy.
 
Debut Test series for:
India Debutants - Sunil Gavaskar, K. Jayantilal and P. Krishnamurthy
Only Salim Durani, Jaisimha, Prasanna and Dilip Sardesai had toured WI before in 1962. 
 
West Indies Debutants - Arthur Barrett, Jack Noreiga, Keith Boyce, Desmond Lewis, Ishan Ali and Uton Dowe.
 
Gavaskar had a great run against Poona University which earned him a test selection. He cracked 327, 226, 124 and 99 runs in 4 innings.

Vishwanath was not an established player. Sunny was making debut. Jaisimha was senior and India had spin trio.

Prasanna  (Off spin), Bedi (worlds best ever SLA), Chandrasekhar (Leg spin) and Venkataraghavan (Off spin)  were the best spin quartet in history of cricket. Chandra was dropped for this series. They played together only in 1 match though, under captaincy of Pataudi in 1967 on India's tour of England. The team used to mostly select only one of Prasanna and Venkat as both were off-spinners. 
 

The test match were scheduled for 6 days with one day being used as rest.
This was the first overseas test series i followed. Overseas matches were not shown live. Some of the footage used to be reported in news channels for 10 minutes at end of the news show. The scorecards were not available in next morning as print media and news network was not advanced as much as it is today. Air broadcast was the only option. During those years one could carry the transistor to college and listen to commentary of the matches. 
 
The Bad records prior to this magnificent tour:
(1)India had won only 15 of 116 matches overall.
(2)India had won only 3 of the 45 overseas matches. All those 3 wins coming in 1968 in a series wherein India won 4 test series 3-1. New Zealand and India where the punching bags of those times.
(3) More relevant was that India had lost 5-0 on tour to West Indies in 1962 under captaincy of Nari Contractor and Pataudi.

Test 1: Draw
5 February, 1971 - 8 February, 1971
Rest Day - 21 February
Sabina Park, Kingston,Jamaica

West Indies Playing 11:
Roy Frederick, Vanburn Holder, Rohan Kanhai, Clive Lloyd, Sir Garry Sobers (c), Joey Carew, Steve Camacho, Mike Findlay (wk), Grayson Shillingford, Arthur Barrett, Jack Noreiga
 
India Playing 11:
Syed Abid Ali, Bishan Bedi, Eknath Solkar, Srinivas Venkataraghavan, Ajit Wadekar (c), Pochiah Krishnamurthy (wk), Motganhalli Jaisimha, Salim Durani, Dilip Sardesai, Erapalli Prasanna, Kenia Jayantilal
 
Scorecard:
http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/17261/scorecard/63066/west-indies-vs-india-1st-test-india-tour-of-west-indies-1970-71
 
Sunny was supposed to debut in this series, however due to finger infection he did not debut in this test. Vishy also missed this test due to knee injury.
 
Indian side was better than the West Indies side but not by a considerable margin. West Indies bowling was on a decline from 1968 to 1974. West Indies, in the 1971 series against India, had the opening pace attack of Shillingford and Vanburn Holder who were not good. Arthur Barrett and Noreiga were below par in spin department.
 
India opened with Abid Ali who was gentle pace. He would take the shine  of the ball to let the best spin trio ever to show their magic. Eknath Solkar was a handy lower order bat who has got into partnerships with specialist batsmen to bring respect to our totals. He could also bowl left arm spin as well as gentle pace. Venkat, Bedi and Prasanna were the best spin attack the game of cricket has ever seen.
 
Pace bowling wise, even though West Indies did not have good bowlers, they were better in comparison.  On the spin quartet, the Indian spin attack of those times is still the best in entire cricketing history. 
 
The entire Day 1 was washed out due to rain and the ground drying facilities were not advanced these days. 
 
Toss was done on Day 2. Sobers won toss and opted to bowl first as it had rained. India were reduced to 75/5. Dilip Sardesai and Eknath Solkar's 137 runs partnership took India to  212/6. The other important partnership was of 122 runs between Prasanna and Dilip Sardesai for the 9th wicket which took India to 382/9. Sardesai had played a brilliant innings of 212 runs.  India after the top order collapse had managed to put up a respectable 387 due to two wonderful partnerships
West Indies were bowled out for 217 with Indian spinners picking 9 wickets and 1 wicket being due to run-out. As it was going to be 4 days test due to rain washing entire Day 1, the follow-on target got reduced to 150 and Wadekar enforced follow-on.
Kanhai scored a brilaint 158 not out, Sobers contributed 93 and Lloyd made 57 to draw the test. The fact that India enforced a follow-on was a significant achievement in first test of overseas tour that too against West Indies of those times.


Test 2: India won by 7 wickets.
March 6, 1971 - March 10, 1971
Rest Day - 8th March
Queen's Park Oval, Port of Spain, Trinidad
 
West Indies Playing 11:
Roy Frederick, Vanburn Holder, Rohan Kanhai, Clive Lloyd, Sir Garry Sobers (c), Steve Camacho, Charlie Davis, Mike Findlay (wk), Grayson Shillingford, Arthur Barrett, Jack Noreiga
Sobers won the toss and opted to bat first.
WI replaced Joey Carew with Charlie Davies. This was also an home ground for Charlie Davis.
 
India Playing 11:
Syed Abid Ali, Bishan Bedi, Sunil Gavaskar, Eknath Solkar, Srinivas Venkataraghavan, Ajit Wadekar (c), Ashok Mankad, Pochiah Krishnamurthy (wk), Salim Durani, Dilip Sardesai, Erapalli Prasanna

Scorecard:
http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/17261/scorecard/63067/west-indies-vs-india-2nd-test-india-tour-of-west-indies-1970-71
India played the same team.
Until this test, India had not won even a single match against WI out of total 24 and lost 12. 

Abid Ali struck first ball as he bowled Fredrick. India continued to pick wickets frequently thereby reducing WI to 132/6. WI were eventually bowled out for 214. Charlie Davis who had replaced Carew scored a fine unbeaten 71. Ashok Mankad and Sunny saw off the tricky few hours before close of play on Day 1.
 
Sunny made 65 in his test debut innings. Dilip Sardesai carried his brilliant form by scoring 112. Solkar , yet again chipped in with a handy knock of 55. Jack Noreiga the off-spinner picked 9/95 as India posted 325 with a good lead of 138 runs.

Fredrick and Kanhai opened the innings. Kanhai was dismissed on 27. Fredrick and Davis ensured WI had erased the lead. Davis was injured during nets and batted later on next day/ Next day Fredrick was run out which created a controversy regarding the dismissal. Ralph Gosein was umpire for 3 tests out of 5 in this series and there were unhappiness over some of his decisions. The key one being Fredrick being given run out on a throw by Jayantilal from the deep. Probably the best thing Jayantilal ever did on a cricket field. This run out of Fredrick who had scored 80, changed the match into India's favor and the dismissal was then talked about a lot.  Wadekar showed a brilliant piece of captaincy. Sobers used have issues against left arm bowlers. Wadekar immediately asked Salim Durani the left arm medium pacer who dismissed Sobers for a duck. West Indies were in deep trouble. The great Indian spinners make Camacho look clueless and they ended Camacho's international cricket career. West Indies were all out for 261. India needed 124 runs to win which were score don the 4th day itself. Sunny had scored 2 half centuries in both innings of his debut test. This was an historic win and first one against WI in 23 years.

3rd Test - (Draw)
March 19, 1971 to March 24, 1971  
Rest Day - 22 March
Bourda, Georgetown, Guyana
 
West Indies Playing 11: 
Keith Boyce, Roy Fredericks, Lance Gibbs, Rohan Kanhai, Clive Lloyd, Sir Garry Sobers (c), Joey Carew, Charlie Davis, Grayson Shillingford, Jack Noreiga, Desmond Lewis (wk)
 
India Playing 11:
Syed Abid Ali, Bishan Bedi, Sunil Gavaskar, Eknath Solkar, Srinivas Venkataraghavan, Gundappa Viswanath, Ajit Wadekar (c), Ashok Mankad, Pochiah Krishnamurthy (wk), Salim Durani, Dilip Sardesai
Vishy had recovered and he made the playing 11 replacing Prasanna as spin attack was comprised of Bedi and Venkat.
 
Scorecard:
http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/17261/scorecard/63068/west-indies-vs-india-3rd-test-india-tour-of-west-indies-1970-71

WI replaced leg spin of Arthur Barrett with off spinner Lance Gibbs who was West Indies best spinner ever. Carew  also made playing 11. Mike Frindlay the keeper was replaced by Desmond Lewis and Camacho was replaced by Keith Boyce. Frindlay the keeper was anyways a bad batsman. Vanburb Holder was dropped.
 
India played the same team as in 2nd Test.
 
Sobers yet again won the toss and opted to bat first. Carew and Fredrick posted a decent opening stand if 78. Middle order batsmen Lloyd and Desmond Lewis scored 50's to take the WI first innings to 363. Sobers and Lloyd's collision while taking run helped India make a crucial breakthrough with Lloyd's wicket. Yet again Indian spinners had to take most of the wickets as was a case in those times. 
Mumbai openers Ashok Mankad and Sunny gave opening partnership of 72 runs against attack of Shillingford and Boyce. Sunny went on to convert his start into a good knock of 112 runs thereby scoring his first test ton. India scored 376 to take a first innings lead of 13 runs.
WI retaliated strongly in second innings declaring on 307/3 as Davis and Sobers both scored unbeaten tons.
Ashok Mankad and Sunny scored unbeaten 50's to take India to 123 without loss of wicket. The result was a draw and India lead 1-0 with two tests to be played.

4th Test - (Draw)
April 1, 1971 to April 6, 1971
Rest Day - 5 April
West Indies v India  - Kensington Oval, Bridgetown, Barbados
 
West Indies Playing 11:
Maurice Foster, Roy Fredericks, Vanburn Holder, Rohan Kanhai, Clive Lloyd, Sir Garry Sobers (c), Charlie Davis, John Shepherd, Desmond Lewis (wk), Inshan Ali, Uton Dowe
Out - Carew, Sillingford, Boyce, Lance Gibbs, Noreiga
In - Fosters, Holder, Shepherd, Inshan Ali, Uton Dowe
 
India Playing 11:
Syed Abid Ali, Bishan Bedi, Sunil Gavaskar, Eknath Solkar, Srinivas Venkataraghavan, Gundappa Viswanath, Ajit Wadekar (c), Ashok Mankad, Pochiah Krishnamurthy (wk), Motganhalli Jaisimha, Dilip Sardesai
Salim Durani was replaced by Jaisimha
 
Scorecard: 
http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/17261/scorecard/63069/west-indies-vs-india-4th-test-india-tour-of-west-indies-1970-71
Finally Wadekar won the toss and elected to field.
 
Abid Ali once again in the series dismissed Fredrick early. The 166 runs partnership between Lewis and Kanhai steadied the top order for WI. Sobers was unbeaten on 178 as he declared the innings on 501/5. Bedi and Venkat had failed to impress in this match.
 
India struggled at 70/6. Solkar (65) yet again contributed with a fighting knock. Dilip Sardesai continued his fine form scoring a well made 150. They both helped avoid the follow-on. India were relatively well placed at 347 after the collapse. 
 
WI attacked as they already had a lead, scoring 180/6 in 43 overs and declared. India were set a target of 335 runs and little less than a days play to survive. Sunny scored 117 not out while Jaisimha, Mankad and Sardesai did their bit in drawing the test as India were 221/5 at the end of the day. Mankad with wrist injury did put a valiant stay for a good time.
 
5th Test - (Draw)
April 13, 1971 to April 19, 1971 
Rest Day - 16 April
Queen's Park Oval, Port of Span, Trinidad

With a lead of 1-0, India could not lose the series going into the final test.

West Indies Playing 11:
Maurice Foster, Rohan Kanhai, Clive Lloyd, Sir Garry Sobers (c), Joey Carew, David Holford, Charlie Davis, John Shepherd, Jack Noreiga, Desmond Lewis (wk), Uton Dowe
 
India Playing 11:
Syed Abid Ali, Bishan Bedi, Sunil Gavaskar, Eknath Solkar, Srinivas Venkataraghavan, Gundappa Viswanath, Ajit Wadekar (c), Pochiah Krishnamurthy (wk), Motganhalli Jaisimha, Dilip Sardesai, Erapalli Prasanna

Injured Ashok Mankad was out. Prasanna made it to the playing 11.
 
Scorecard:
http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/17261/scorecard/63070/west-indies-vs-india-5th-test-india-tour-of-west-indies-1970-71

Wadekar after winning the toss opted to bat first.
Run machines of this series,Sunny and Sardesai, scored 124 and 75 respectively. Venkat contributed with 51, his highest of the test career till that point of time. India scored 360 all out batting more than a day. 
It was in this WI innings when Sobers was controversially given not out as Bedi took a return catch of his bowling. Sobers then went on to score 132. Davis made 105. WI scored a mammoth 526 taking a lead of 166 runs.
In India's batting innings, Abid Ali was dismissed early. Sunny and Wadekar put on a fighting 148 runs partnership. Sardesai and Sunny then erased of the remaining lead. All the remaining batsmen chipped on with some runs while Gavaskar scored a magnificent 220. India were all out for 427 runs leaving WI a target of 262 runs. It was in this test that Sunny achieved the record of scoring a ton and a double in same test.  WI in attempt to chase scored 165/8 and survived another loss.
 
India had won a historic series by a margin of 1-0
 
The Positives:
(1) The best win ever in Indian cricketing history given the various contexts imo. This was India's first overseas win against West Indies in the Lions den who used to thrash India and other teams for fun. This to me is the best test series victory i have watched in my lifetime from the many brilliant overseas test victories that i have seen.

(2) Golden years with respect to overseas test wins
The team carried this confidence in next test series to beat England in England (1972) by margin of 1-0 in 3 test series. The momentum was with Team India. There were now 3 overseas test series wins in matter of few years. For a team which was a punching bag, three overseas test series wins in 4 years was a magnificent achievement.
a. India won the 4 match test series 3-1 in NZ in 1967/68
b. India won the 5 match test series 1-0 in WI in 1971
c. India won the 3 match test series 1-0 in England in 1972
India had started winning oversees tour after tasting first overseas win in 1967/68.
 
(3) "Sunny", the batting legend announced his capabilities
Then 21 years old, Sunil Gavaskar, one of the best test batsman ever, rose to the occasion scoring 774 runs in debut series in just 4 tests, with 220 as his highest in debut series and averaging 154.80. This still remains the best series score ever by an Indian batsman in history of cricket. To have such a series in debut tour was simply signs of greatness, which over a period of time was actually witnessed as Sunny established himself as one of the best test batsman ever. The next highest run scorer was Dilip Sardesai with 642 runs (132 less runs). Sunny record in debut series is still intact. Now batsmen cannot even score 774 in 4 tests in spite of many tests being played against minnows. It is doubtful if any Indian batsman will ever break that record. The record is safe as we see Sehwag, Sachin, Laxman and Dravid's career is over. Kohli too is finding it tough to surpass it.

Sunny tops in 2 of the  three best series scores ever by Indian batsmen:
(1) 774 in 8 innings against WI in WI in 1971 - Sunny.
(2) 732 in 9 innings against WI in India in 1978/79 - Sunny.
(3) 692 in 8 innings against Australia in Australia in 2014 /15 - Kohli.
 
Reference:
http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/series/62312.html?view=records
 
Hope this flashback rekindles the winning euphoria, especially to those who have listened to the commentary on their transistors and watched the highlights / clippings on new the next day. Thank you.


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