Jump to content

Woh pyaari yadein : India tour of West Indies - 1971

   (0 reviews)

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




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)





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





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


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.



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


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.



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 :bow:


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.





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.

User Feedback

This content is now closed to further reviews.

There are no reviews to display.

  • Create New...