Op-edFive incidents of Indian cricket which turned the ASH into the DIAMOND

Five incidents of Indian cricket which turned the ASH into the DIAMOND

Indian cricket which now appears to be very statesmanship and which one finds it to be very stoic was, and it is not the cosmetics make it feel that we are something a GREAT cricketing nation which.

Actually we never have been the only difference that could be visualized and seen is that the Indian cricket has become FILthY RICH and that is it It is now ruled by the bugs that bites the multi-millionaires and no sooner than it bites we see that there is something odd that comes out from the house of the BCCI that is it the BCCL in itself is a sag of jokes Saga if at all it is a house which is made out of glass, but it always prefers to throw the stones on the other’s.

Frank speaking the BCCI has done nothing in itself to place it where it boasts about it to be placed amongst the echelon It is the players who have done that to do so One might ask me and ask somebody who was the real one’s those had made cricket to look what it appears now Well I have the answer this article is all about the same.

Indian cricket: A “ ASS “ amongst the “ ARISTOTLE “

It would ake a bit of history. Having played the First Test match in 1932 against England, we toured England in 1936, 1952 and 1958. We toured West Indies in 1953 for the first time. We toured Australia in 1947-48 for the first time We were beaten 1-0 in 1932, 2-0 in 1936, 5-0 in 1952, 5-0 in 1958 at England, we were beaten by 5-0 in 1947-48 at Australia, and we were beaten by 1-0 at West Indies in 1953.

It was that the Indian cricket team was considered a “Solingen bag “ when it toured abroad and it was just the foreigners would wait to pack the punches and fill it with pomp at the face of Indian cricket Here in our home turf the success that we tasted was the series win over Pakistan in 1951-52 We won that series but not before the three Pakistani, Hanif Mohammed, Fazal Mehmood, and Imtiaz Ahmed later from the third test onward started nailing India Anyway that was that.

Today of what we see of the Indian cricket it is those, and it is that the players have made it that there is some incident which proved to be a blessing in disguise for the Indian cricket and these players turned the ASH into the opaque which could be called a diamond.

What were those one might ask Well these are the incident

1. Subash Gupte left Indian cricket, and Salim Durrani did the trick

It was the 1962 series against England the first two tests of the series were drawn England hand the upper hand In spite of the three spinners Subash Gupte, Salim Durrani and Bapu Nadkarni India found it very hard to contain England in the first two Test which India somehow managed to escape.

A incident happened the Indian team was on its flight from the place at Bombay to reach New Delhi there was an Indian cricketer by the name of AG Kripal Singh He came into a habit of drinking the team reached Delhi and it was lodged in a very famous hotel during that time When the Indian team was to enter its place in the hotel AG Kripal Singh saw a beautiful lady who was highly impressive and very attractive He lost his balance He went to her and asked her- whether she would join him for a drink.

Not finding the proper response he took his room which he had to share it with Subash Gupte After checking into the room he again started to connect himself with the lady receptionist, again and again, requesting her to join him for a drink Disturbed and perturbed the Lady immediately reported the matter to the higher authorities of the hotel and the Indian Manager immediately called both Subash Gupte and AG Kripal Singh to give them an ear.

Incidentally AG Kripal Singh came from a very influential family Money was nothing and no problems for him the Manager realizing it started boiling at Subash Gupte was very disturbed He lost his patience and retarded saying that- “ WHY DO NOT YOU FIRE thaT ONE WHO HAS DONE ALL theSE WELL I’M A POOR MAN AND that IS WHY YOU ARE PUNCHING ME I DO NOT CARE TO PLAY FOR INDIA AS I’M NO BEGGAR AT the MERCY OF ANYBODY “.

This infuriated the team Manager, and he reported the matter immediately to the higher authorities of Indian cricket Before anything could happen, Subash Gupte left the Hotel He went to the Railway station and from there he was off to Bombay then Reaching Bombay he met Vinoo Mankad and narrated the entire story Mankad advised him not to bow his head to anybody to play this game that was the end of Subash Gupte as a Test cricketer He had played only 36 Test match claiming 149 Test wickets HE WAS the BEST ORthODOX LEFT ARM SPINNER thaT WAS BORN IN the ENTIRE WORLD TO HAVE EVER PLAYED TEST CRICKET.

With Gupte gone it was, ie the onus fell on Salim Durrani to save the nose of India which was brutally cut off by the visiting English side till then Durrani bowled India to TWO historic wins when India defeated them at Calcutta then and again at Madras Durrani claimed 10 wickets at Calcutta and eight at Madras then India won the series by 2-0.

That incident where Gupte took himself off and that incident where the Lady receptionist complained the Hotel authorities all about the behaviour of AG Kripal Singh changed the fortune of India Salim Durrani then was to make a name for himself and he became a household name for the entire fraternity of cricket world over that was the first of these five incidents which I’m narrating here which changed the Indian cricket from being an ash to a polished diamond.

2. Salim Durrani bowling Gary Sobers for “ nought “ and India winning the Test at Port of Spain,1971

It happened on March 9th, 1971

I do not want to be a gramophone on which an SP or an LP could be put to play. It has a deformation in the sense that it sometimes plays the things wrong if the soundtrack is cut to damage it’s track of the sound it throws while playing it

the Indian team and it’s tour abroad in terms of the result is jotted herewith the 1971 tour was no exception When the Indian team reached the West-Indies the local newspaper started saying that a local team of West Indies was enough to beat this Indian team India has as many as new players in Ashok Mankad, Kenia Jayantilal, Ajit Wadekar, Gundappa Viswanath, Sunil Gavaskar, Eknath Solkar, BS Bedi, S Venkatraghvan and Pochaih Krishnamurthy playing for them in the Test match whereas the West-Indies had lost the service of Conrad Hunte, Wesley Hall, Charlie Griffith, Joe Solomon, Holford, Lester King to play for them Still the West-Indies team on the paper with Roy Fredricks, Charlie Davis, Rohan Kanhai, Gary Sobers, Lance Gibbs, Vanburn Holder and Keith Boyce appeared to be far ahead of the Indian when it came to the team composition.

It was the second Test match and the second innings India had bowled the West-Indies for 214 in the first innings and took a lead of about 137 runs in the first innings In the second the West-Indies were sailing very safely with the scoreboard reading 150 for two wickets the pitch had broken a bit and there were some ridges on the pitch on one end of the pitch Durrani saw that He started saying that give me the ball and I will deliver. That did not go well with the Captain Wadekar Looking into the affair Durrani began to advising Prasanna about how to make use of that “ rough “ as we call it in cricket, but every effort of Prasanna was proving futile.

The incident ought to be that the ball had to pitch exactly at the rough on that spot and it had to hit the pitch very correctly and appropriately at the spot. One had to hit the pitch in a manner that the ball had to jump and Prasanna was not that type of a bowler then the unusual happened Prasanna went in a stop a full-blooded drive from Lloyd and badly bruised his finger He was asked to take the medical help While going to the pavilion Durrani asked Prasanna to let Jaisimha signal from the pavilion to Wadekar that he needs to bowl Prasanna did the same and Jaisimha started signaling to Wadekar that let Durrani comes in to bowl Wadekar had to subdue to the signals made by Jaisimha and Durrani was given the ball.

Durrani saw that Sobers sometimes plays a shot where he sends the bowlers for a ride While doing it he slightly shuffles across the leg and keeps a bit of a gap between his body and the bat He gauged the spot and found out the speed, estimating it which he ought to bowl, he exactly could visualize the trajectory, the loop, the length, and curve the extent of the push and the drip at the place where the ball ought to hit the pitch and above all the inclination at which the ball has to keep on slanting and inclining to the pitch to hit the place very accurately.

He bowled that delivery. It was a delivery which was a semi-flighted one, it carried the exact speed, and it did not have any loop. It was a faster one, which kept on inclining and it had a trajectory such that it would land at the off stump of Sobers the ball landed at the place so accurately where Durrani wanted it to land No sooner it landed it jumped up and reared toward Sobers Gary Sobers was completely beaten in the air and off the wicket the ball hit the ridge and the rough in an manner that it jumped and it mover a bit towards Sobers Sobers came in front rather than moving back ie on his backfoot that completely bemused Sobers and he was all lost for the world the Ball simply beat him as it was bowled in a way to beat him It found that very small gap between his bat and the lower part of his stomach It reared past it and flicked the bail which flew in a manner that both the ball and the bail were collected by the wicket-keeper Pochiah Krishnamurthy Sobers could not believe that.

He felt that the bail fell because of the wind but when Krishnamurthy showed him the ball and the bail both in his gloves and explained him how did he do that Sobers was convinced that he had lost to Durrani West Indies then became 164 for four and from there they went to lose the Test.


Many journalist then who were covering that Test had written that it was a ball bowled by the Gods ruling the heaven through the arms of Salim Durrani to the God of cricket Gary Sobers All the newspaper then had written that to get a God out a delivery from the God is required as only the God can beat the God and Durrani’s that delivery was a ball created by God which was bowled by Durrani to get Sobers out that was the beauty of that delivery.

Durrani had promised the entire Indian team that if given a chance to bowl to Sobers he would bowl him out for zero and he also would claim Clive Lloyd cheaply which he did India won that Test by seven wickets and went on to win the series by 1-0 It was possible because of the two wickets that Salim Durrani took to dismiss Gary Sobers and Clive Lloyd for zero and twenty-seven.

Well, that incident of Jaisimha signalling Ajit Wadekar to bring in Salim Durrani is the incident which once again turned the ash into the diamond as far as Indian cricket is concerned.

3. Eknath Solkar catching Alan Knott India versus England, Oval, 1971, 23rd August

If at all there is a catch which always would be the numero-uno in the annals of not only in the history of Indian cricket but also in the entire history of world cricket then this would be the catch.

It was the Indian sojourn of England in 1971 the first two Test saw India blessed by the rain to save her respect and the agrimony of being crushed under the English wheel at England Before that series England under Ray Illingworth had pumped themselves up by pulping the Aussies by 2-0 with John Snow claiming 40 wickets in that series Here against India he was expected to do the same but the theme- NO RAIN MORE SNOW was not happening for England at all.

The Oval Test saw England going ahead of India by about 78 runs in the first innings In second England were taken to the hill by Chandra England were placed at 51 for four Chandra then on the advise of Eknath Solkar had asked Wadekar to change his end and BS Bedi was given an over to change Chandra’s end It also got Venkat to change his end.

It was Venkat who got into the act of claiming Knott When Knott came in to bat it was very clear that if he sticks to his place then India would be wiped off He had a score of 67 in the first a 90 in the second and he again was amongst the runs in the first innings of this Test Another good one by Knott and the Knotty problems for India would start that was for sure Knott had a penchant for sweeping the Indian spinners with immaculate perfection and accuracy the Indian purposely this time kept the region between the short squarish leg and the backward short-leg open offering him with a huge gap with a fielder placed between the deep backward long leg and the squarish midwicket to see that if Alan Knott lunges into some adventure then the fielder would latch onto the misadventure.

However Eknath Solkar had some other idea He went to Venkat asking him to bowl to Knott in a fashion where the ball would be pushed hard and it would not have enough flight He made Venkat to realize that the ball will have to have a little bounce not much Solkar had noticed that whenever Knott receive those kind of deliveries he put his left feet across the bat and allows the ball to hit his pad for just keeping himself safe that the ball does not drags to the wicketkeeper or his stump if his missed that Dollar had assured Venkat that even if by mistake if the balls propels a bit in the air he would do that.

Venkat bowled a delivery listening to Solkar the way Solkar had sked him to do the Ball had the push and it had the force to hit the pitch and rear Knott looking upto the delivery shuffled his left leg No sooner Solkar saw him doing he just took a leg forward Knott played that one the ball hit the feint edge of his bat and hit the left pad in the upper region the ball ballooned and it was just about to fall in the popping crease that Solkar who made a forward dive stretched his had too far His cusp reached the place where the ball would land Him on the act of his body falling placed the susp of his hands under the ball and allowed the ball to fall in it No sooner the ball fell into his cusp he clasped it with both the hand but fell to the ground with his mainpart very badly hitting the ground and the pendant which he was wearing piercing his chest in the region below his neck It was something a very unbelievable catch and everybody were astonished to see him holding that catch Nobody could ever believe that he was alive Hewn- and how he got up. It was Farokh Engineer who caught his main part and pulled it to hear if there was any sound coming out of his mouth for everybody to believe that he was alive.

India won that match as England became 51for 5 and 101 all out with BS Chandrashekar claiming 6 for 36

Chandra till then was a come-in-go-out type of a cricketer whose place in the Indian team was not certain till then that spell of 6for 36 made him play Test matches for India from 1971 to 1979 when he retired from International cricket 57 Test matches 242 Test wickets 8-72 as his Best bowling 159 Test runs in 57 Tests with 39 ” ducks “ the most duck scored by any batsman in the annals of Indian and the World Test cricket the only cricketer to have scored less number of runs as compared to taking that many wickets were the BEST FREAL-LEG bowler who was a master of googlies and those deliveries for which Vivian Richards once had described him as ” his faster ones are faster than Tommo’s man “.

That catch of Eknath Solkar and that advise of Solkar to Chandra first of changing his bowling end, and to Venkat about how to bowl Knott to get him out won the series for India for the 1st time at England and that turned the Indian cricket from being an ash to the diamond this was the only innings where Bedi in his entire Test career bowled a solitary over in the entire innings to the opponent.

4. Pataudi throwing his resignation: Gundappa Vishvanath takes birth in India cricket

An incident which completely blew the Indian cricket Very few know about this as this is an illness which is as good as the illness of “ Beri-Beri “ in the annals of Indian cricket.

Australia under Bill Lawry was touring India in the year 1969-70 this incident happened immediately after the Bombay Test where India had lost the match by eight wickets to the Aussies From the Indian cricket, and it’s viewpoint this was the last Test that Rusi Surti had played for India.

After losing the Test so very badly the Indian selector headed by Vijay Merchant sacked Chandu Borde and Dilip Sardesai and had included Salim Durrani in their place Durrani after being dropped from the Indian team after the Bombay Test against the West-Indies was shattering record after record in the domestic cricket but was not finding a place in the Indian team Pataudi was all against the idea of giving a place to Salim Durrani under him in the Indian team.

When the Indian team was announced, and when it had the name of Salim Durrani in it Pataudi straight away went to Vijay Merchant and spoke to him- Gibe me Vishvanath, or else I do not play. This led to a very lengthy and an animated discussion between him and Merchant.

Vishvanath had been playing and scoring runs in the manner which were full of aristocracy art and delight He would cream the bowlers in the way he could His international scores were then 68 for Board President XI against New Zealand, 47 for South Zone against this Australian side, and his core at the Ranji and the Irani.

Trophy was really to be admired by one, and all that series against Aussies saw the top-notch of Indian cricketers like Dilip Sardesai, Chandu Borde, Rusi Surti, ML Jaisimha, Abbas Ali Baig, Hanumant Singh warming themselves on the seats of the pavilion and the places went to youngsters like Subroto Guha, Mohinder Amarnath, Chetan Chauhan, Ashok Mankad, and Gundappa Vishvanath Pataudi simply wanted Vishvanath to take up the place which was deserted by Sardesai after he was dropped from the squad for the next Test at Kanpur.

Seeing Merchant not responding to his request- he picked up a paper in front of Merchant and threw it across writing that HE WAS NO MORE INTERESTED TO PLAY ANY TEST MATCHES.

No sooner than he did that the entire scene of the place where he was amidst of the other selector’s got freeze and everybody went into a state of pall and gloom It was something like either an earthquake or a tornado hit the Indian cricket for the worst ever.

Merchant later realising the situation had to fall to the wish of Pataudi Gundappa Vishvanath was to deputise for India at Kanpur that was November 1969 He played his last against Pakistan till 1983 that was for 14 years.

91 Tests matches, 6080 runs, 14 centuries, 40 half centuries, 22 Test victory for India,over 30 plus century partnership between and amongst his batting partners, an average of 42 runs plus, per innings the FIRST ever Indian cricketer to win over 20 Test matches for India and those 68 catches beside a Test wicket that was Gundappa Vishvanath for you then and for the entire history of Indian cricket

For if Pataudi did not throw his resignation latter to Vijay Merchant- who knows? Well, that is Indian cricket for you and that incident again is the ash which got converted into the diamond.

5. Pataudi declaring the Indian innings at New-Zealand in 1968

The story of the Indian cricket team at abroad and its story and the history of it’s being walloped into the meat as bad as mince-meat or being churned into the soft ice-cream I narrated by me the act was similar at Australia when and where we lost the series by 4-0 the only consolation was every Test that we lost lasted until the lunch past the final day, and we came very close to toppling Australia in the last Test where we lost to them by 39 runs that were it.

The scenario at New-Zealand in 1968 just after this Test series was a bit different We won the first, lost the second by a huge margin by an innings, won the third and were placed at being on the equal par against the Kiwi in the last It was a four-Test series.

Pataudi all of a sudden declared the Indian innings then and invited the Kiwis to bat All that they needed was about 140 runs to win this had shocked the entire cricketing fraternity world over Most of the Indian players in that team were so shocked that they felt that their entire cricketing career would come to a halt they could not spell their anxiousness to the Indian Captain then, but behind the back everybody were strongly cursing Pataudi for that.

Pataudi could understand what was happening He called in for a group discussion which was to know how was the mental state of the team and what did they feel about the same the players were all bang-bang for his incident He cooled them with his subtle reply.

Listen he said- either it is a 3-1 if we bowl them out or it would have been 2-1 if we played out for a petered draw Which one could be the best under the circumstance a 3-1 or a 2-1, But Skipper it could be 2-2 as well said many of them.

that means my players are not confident about their abilities and that means for all these years I could not do my duty as a Captain to instil confidence in themselves is it not Shame on me as a Captain then he said

Adding further he said- be it 2-1 or 3-1 the skull which would be grinded or dusted into the oblivion and send it to obscurity would be mine always Even if we win 3-1 I’m not going to be the Captain of India anymore because of my deeds to do for the team and the players the Australian’s truncating us by 4-0 will always be under my name in the books of history and nobody would read or understand what a useless team was I offered to take on that kind of a mighty Australian team.

” You all it seems play cricket with a lot of apprehension with fear hovering all over you that is a sheep’s attitude he said “ I have played cricket at England with a ” lion’s “ attitude Why can’t we play as a lion always Why do not each and everyone here go out and prove that they can win even if Pataudi is not playing.

That had a telling effect on the side and India beat New Zealand bowling them for 101 with BS Bedi and Erapalli Prasanna taking five wickets each in that innings. It was for the FIRST time that India had won a rubber with such a huge margin at abroad under Pataudi.

That incident then made India to win a series the dual one at England by 1-0, and before that, they humbled the West-Indies at Carribeans by 1-0 with Pataudi not playing for India.

Well, that decision of Pataudi to declare and win that match and the series by 3-1 against New Zealand got the Indian cricket converted to a diamond from the ash.

Had it NOT been Pataudi, the Indians perhaps would not have learned about how to throw the challenge and over turtle the gauntlets in Test cricket.

These are the REAL five incident which completely changed the WORLD of Indian cricket and converted the ash into the diamond.

Bhattacharjee Shyamal
Bhattacharjee Shyamal
Shyamal Bhattacharjee has been a SPORTS SCRIBE to start with, a MARKETING PROFESSIONAL for 35 years and author of SIX International standard books . Now he spends his entire time in SOCIAL DEVLOPEMENT and WRITING.

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