MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Location: file:///C:/AAC33914/writingsoncricket.htm Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable Content-Type: text/html; charset="us-ascii" India Vs

India vs. II Commonwealth Tests

 

By

Prof. N.S.= Phadke

 

Foreword: Vijay Merchant

 

Shree N.S.Phadke has = done me the honour of asking me to write Foreword for his articles and comments on = the five Unofficial test matches played this year between India and the Commonwealth cricketers. I have a very great pleasure in doing so because I have enjoyed reading his articles and appreciate the dispassionate manner in which he has tried to convey to his readers his impressions of these five games.

 

Shree Phadke wrote si= milar accounts of all the five tests played against the West Indies, and also of = the five matches played against the first Commonwealth Cricket team. They were widely read by the cricketing public and were very much appreciated. I am therefore glad that shree phadke has this year published his articles in the form of a book which can remain as a reference book for students of the gam= e in future.

 

Shree Phadke is a wel= l known author and dramatist and has written the accounts in a flowery language whi= ch will particularly appeal to those who have read his many articles and books= . He presents the various features of the game in a graphic manner and his accou= nts quite often bring the game nearer to the reader than the average articles d= o. He has taken great pains over the statistics of the matches, and has clearly shown how the Indian batting could not keep pace with that of the visitors = in the matter of runs per hour. To the real student of the game this book will= not only prove interesting but will also give a clear insight into the factors = that decided the destination of the “ rubber”.

 

This year’s five Unofficial Test Matches were played in a spirit of utmost cordiality and healthy rivalry. I do not know of any other two teams who have played competitive matches in such a happy atmosphere. There was never a single incident that marred the cordial feelings of both the teams towards each ot= her and of the individual cricketers themselves. Good performances were fully appreciated by both the sides and neither team grudged runs when well made = by the opponents. I must here make special mention of their Captain Leslie Ames who always came to our Dressing Room to congratulate our cricketers wheneve= r an individual performance of merit was put up. Our captains in all grades of cricket would do well to follow this splendid example.

 

Both Ames and Frankie= Worrel and the entire team displayed the highest traditions of sportsmanship, both= on and off the cricket field. They never tried to take the slightest undue advantage and throughout the series helped to keep an atmosphere of cordial= ity and good fellowship. I understand that Test matches between England and Australia are played in a grim atmosphere and sometimes there is too much tension. So long as this is the result of a healthy rivalry it is all for t= he good of the game; but it will be sad day for cricket if and when the result= s of matches count more than the spirit and tradition of this great game of cric= ket.

 

The chief reason for = our failure to win matches the year was our inability to score fast and hold catches in the field. While our opponents kept up the rate of between 55 an= d 60 throughout the series, I do not think we averaged more than 40. Apart from = the fact that their batsmen had more initiative than ours, their bowlers had the happy knack of bowling for long periods without giving away many runs and t= hus bottling up our batsmen. We have few bowlers in Indian cricket today who can consistently bowl for a long time without being expensive. We not only miss great penetrative bowlers like Nissar and Amarsingh but also steady men like Jehangir Khan, Palia,C.K.Nayudu and Godambe.

 

There was a time when= good many our batsmen threw away their wickets due to rashness. Now we seem to h= ave to gone to the other extreme and have become too slow. Amongst our front ra= nk batsmen only Polly Umrigar and Mushtaque Ali can force the pace against good bowling. The others are more content to score off the loose balls than to m= ake strokes against good bowling. We shall have to change these tactics if Indi= a is to win matches in representative cricket. More preference may be given to stroke makers than mere run-getters in future. If we can not maintain a rat= e of 55 or 60 in our future representative matches, I am afraid, India will be h= ard put to win such fixtures.

 

Our bad fielding has = now become a byword in Indian cricket. Not only we miss catches  that come to hand but we are not a= ble to convert possible catches into real ones. We lack  quickness, anticipation and the ab= ility to hold on to the ball. More matches in Indian cricket have been lost due to bad fielding than won because of excellent batting or bowling. Three or four missed catches per innings would be the most conservative estimate. Quite o= ften they have been missed at critical times and of the opponent’s top ran= king batsmen. What is the poor bowler to do when world class batsmen like Frank Worrel are given fresh lease of life! Very few of our cricketers realize th= at when a catch is missed while the ball is new, it is not only the number of = runs made by the player that counts but also the fact that the shine on the ball might have got the following batsman out also. There is only one remedy for this. If our schools, our colleges, our Provincial  Associations and our Indian teams k= eep out of their teams bad fielders irrespective of their batting and /or bowli= ng ability, within a very short space we shall have a good fielding side in our country as the  other cricketi= ng nations.

 

Apart from the  ground fielding and catching, we s= adly lack the ability to throw fast and accurate. At present there is only one player with an outstanding throw- Polly Umrigar. C.C. Nayudu and Adhikari c= an throw well from certain positions. The rest of us merely send the ball to t= he wicket-keeper and we not only loose many runs but chances of running batsmen out. We need at least four men like Polly to turn our side into a first-rate fielding combination.

 

Too many catches are = lost in the slips these days. Some of our cricketers must specialize in this positi= on so that our bowlers can have the greatest support from them. Here also we l= ack anticipation, understanding and the ability to stick to the ball.

 

We are at a very low = ebb in the matter of bowling. We lack a real fast bowler and a first-class spinner= . Too much work has to be done by men like Vinoo Mankad and Choudhary. We have not been able to discover a single new bowler this year. Shinde is again bowling well but was unfortunate in not being able to play at Bombay due to an inju= ry. Gupte and Sarangpani are    the most promising of o= ur bowlers but they are both slow .Now that Northern India has gone over to Pakistan we shall have to look elsewhere for India’s next fast bowler. What we particularly need is bowlers who will place their field to every individual batsman and then to bowl to that field without giving away many runs. Steady bowling is as much imperative at present in Indian Cricket as penetrative or deceptive bowling.

 

 

 

Amongst our batsmen G= opinath of Madras  made a grand debut = at

Kanpur. He played cor= rect cricket on a difficult wicket and proved that he has not only good cricket technique but an excellent  temperament. He has a great future before him.

 

Manjrekar has lot of = promise and we shall hear more of him in years to come.

 

We are happily placed= in the matter of wicket-keeping. Rajendra Nath was a great discovery and kept wick= ets well. Joshi was not far behind. If Mantri can get his wicket-keeping form o= f a couple of years ago, we shall be fortunate in having three good wicket-keep= ers who can make runs as well.Mantri is an excellent batsman and fielder also and h= is return to best wicket-keeping form will be=   looked forward to.

 

Vijay Hazare remains = our best and soundest batsman. His contribution to Indian Cricket during the last fi= ve years has been tremendous. This year he showed a tendency to play slower th= an last year. I am sure this is temporary and=    he will again maintain= a high rate of scoring against the M.C.C.Team. Polly Umrigar is the most impr= oved cricketer in India. He not only batted soundly but more often than not took= the bowling by the scruff of the neck and hit it hard. His second fifty in the first innings at Madras will never be forgotten. From 88 he jumped over to = 100 with two sixers of successive balls. This must be rare feat in representati= ve cricket. He established himself at No.3 in the India batting order and play= ed according to the needs of the situation. It is after many years that we see= a man not only playing sound cricket but hitting fours and sixes at will. Pol= ly this year reminded me of C.K. Nayudu at his best and I think C.K.’s mantle has fallen on Polly’s young but broad and capable shoulders.

 

India failed to win a= single match against the visitors, but I do not think India was disgraced. More of= ten than not  India fought back gallantly after a disastrous start. We always seem to do better in the seco= nd innings than in the first although the odds have been greater in the latter case. I can not account for this .People have jokingly suggested to me that= we should play our second innings first and the first innings later. Since thi= s is not possible according to the rules of the game, we shall have to find some other solution. Years ago, the late Archie Jackson in his first two years in first-class cricket always made a big score in the second innings after fai= ling in the first. Later on he got over this, and similarly I hope Indian Cricket will get over it  when we meet= the M.C.C. next winter.

 

Although beaten this = year I look forward to the visit of the M.C.C. with confidence. I am sure that with extra effort and better fielding we shall be able to defeat the M.C.C. in o= ur own country.

 

I am often asked, = 221;Will the M.C.C. send a very representative team to India in 1951-52?” That= is question outside the scope of this book and we shall wait for the M.C.C. to answer that sometime in August 1951.

 

I wish  shree Phadke’s book the succ= ess it deserves.

 

 

Bombay: March 12,1951.        =             &nb= sp;            –Vijay Merchant.

 

 

        &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What great cricketers think of this book:

“You honour cricket” by asking me for my opinion on your top-class write-u= ps on the tests.I have read your descriptives not only once, but twice. I congratulate you on having produced such a good book on cricket… You = do bring life and vigour and dash in describing the happenings during the Test= s. We often say that Neville Cardus writes classics on cricket. You certainly bring oriental luster  to this= great glorious game of cricket by presenting the facts in lucid ,interesting,and educative style of your own.In my opinion you are our Neville Cardus…Somehow I feel that if our cricketers read what you write on cricket,they would certainly put more vigour, dash and drive in their game.=

        =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;         =   -C.K. Nayudu.

 

“Thanks for having asked me and my comrades to read your articles on the tests we played against India= . They made delightful reading.I never thought such beautiful ,vivid descript= ions of cricket matches were possible… Your articles are a good cocktail of literary flourish and sound cricket sense.”

-         Robert Chri= stiani

 

        =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;   (The West Indies all rounder)

 

“You have used all your powers of observation, imagination and description in th= is book, so as to make it quite interesting to a layman, instructive to a cricketer and useful to a recorder… Your book is a commendable effort= to encourage and popularize cricket.

-         D.B.Deodhar=

 

“Your criticisms are accurate and you have made the book interesting and fascinating… The popularity of your writings on the Tests as they were being played speaks for itself, and going through your book I was delightfu= lly surprised by the masterly manner in which you make your descriptions vivid , and your  judgments  acceptable. Truly, reading your bo= ok, one is led to believe that it is written by a man who has played first class cricket.

        =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;     - D.G. Phadkar

“Your book is just the thing that was badle needed. It is written in your usual gorgeous style and loaded with your well known passion for cricket. Your articles are not only literary gems, but through them you fulfill your life-long role of a teacher. The title of your excellent  book might well have been” H= oe to watch first class cricket”

        =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;    

          -M. G Bhave (Hon. Secre= tary, the Board of control for cricket in India

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

        =             &nb= sp;      India VS. Second Commonwealth

 

        =           =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp; Unofficial Tests

        =             &nb= sp;            =    1950-51

        =      

        =             &nb= sp;            =          By Prof .N.S. Phadke

        =          

        =             &nb= sp;           Foreword by Vijay Merchant

 

        =             &nb= sp;            =         March 1951

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

        The First Unofficial Test At Delhi= .

 

        =             &nb= sp;          Nov. 4,5,6,7,8,: 1950

 

        =             &nb= sp;           Match Drawn.

 

        =             &nb= sp;        Principal   Scores=   

 

India     I  innings: 169  ( Ramadhin 4 wkts. For 44, Tribe  3 wkts. For 47 )=

        =     

        =      II innings: 429 for 6 Decld. (Mushtaque  Ali 61, Umrigar 56,

        =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;            =   Adhikari 56, Hazare 144 not out,

        =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;            =    Worrel 3 wkts. For 120.)

 

Commonwealth I innings: 272 ( Dooland 108, Emmet 55, Mankad 4 wkts

        =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;       For 39, Chowdhari 3 for 82.)

        =             &nb= sp;     II innings: 214 for 1 ( Fishlock 102 )

 

 

    ( Century partnerships: Commonwealth II innings: 1st wicket Fishlock-Gimblet 105; India = II innings: 5th wicket Hazare –Adhikari 116)        =             &nb= sp;                    =        

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

               =            

 

 

 

 

 

 

        =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;    -1-

 

Nothing could have been more dull and lifeless than the finish of the first unoffic= ial test between India and the second Commonwealth side; but nothing could be more sensational than the first four days play. When Merchant declared India’s second innings = closed at 11-45 on the morning of the last day, leaving the Commonwealth side the impossible task of making 327 runs in 225 minutes to win, a draw became cer= tain. Interest in the match dropped to freezing point, and everything was really = over except the final shouting.

 

Apart from this tame finish, however, the match proved as exciting as lovers of cricket want a duel to be. The first shock and thrill came within fifteen minutes from the start when Merchant, winning the toss and opening India’s first innings, touched an in-swinger from Worrell and Ikin at fine leg held a grand catch (India 11-1-5 ). And then followed a series of sensations which lasted till 11-15 = a.m. on the last day, making the match an unforgettable battle between two great sides.

 

The game went through two distinct and contrary phases, in the first of which t= he bowlers made a ruthless slaughter of the batsmen, and in the second the bat= smen assumed the proportion of giants and the bowlers looked like helpless Liliputians on Gulliver’s body. The wicket  was the batsman’s graveyard = on the  first two days and then suddenly blossomed into a paradise for him. In the first 750 minutes of play only 441 runs were scored and 20 wickets fell; in the last 750 min and  a crop of 643 runs was harvested a= nd only 7 wickets went down. The average for the first half was thus 4 runs in seven minutes and 22 runs per wicket , and for the second half it was 6 run= s in 7  minutes and 92 runs per wic= ket. This should be enough indication of the sensational turn which events took = in the first unofficial Test between India and the second commonwealth side at Delhi.

 

The match seemed all but lost for India at 10-55 a.m. on Sunday, the second day of play when her first innings clos= ed for a meager 169; but Mankad’s lion-hearted attack brought India back into the picture, and the match became alive again at the end of the second= day with 6 Commomwealth batsmen sent back to the dressing room with their score= at 174. The collapse of the Commonwealth batting was as sensational as that of= India&#= 8217;s. It is interesting to note how the disaster of the rival sides followed almo= st an identical pattern.

        =             &nb= sp;            =          -2-

 

India       : 1 = for 11,2 for 14,3 for 54,4 for 82,5 for 138,6 for 144.

C.W.       : 1 = for 13,2 for 36,3 for 48,4 for 59,5 for 75,6 for 149.

 

A glace at this table will show that at the fall of their 5th wick= et the Commomwealth were in a more deplorable state than India, and had got ahead of India o= nly slightly at the fall of their 6th wicket. Mankad’s spinners had proved as deadly as Ramadhin’s. The Commonwealth’s defense = had crumbled as tragically as India’s. The balance was even when play resumed on Monday, the third day.

 

If only India had followed up this advantage! But she couldn’t- chiefly owing to the fact that her wicket-keeper Joshi became a casualty. C.S. Nayudu, who put on the gloves, missed two stumping chances and an easy catch and the Commonwea= lth succeeded in adding 98 runs to their overnight score, and thus securing a valuable lead of 103 runs. If Joshi hadn’t hurt his knee by a fall do= wn the “Maiden’s stairs” on Sunday night, the story of this match would have been different. India would then have had only a small def= icit to wipe-off-say about 30 runs, she would have been in a position to declare= at the end of the fourth day, and who knows, she would have run away victoriou= s. But this is of course the case of ‘might-have-been’. The fact was  that at end of the first innings India had lost the grip on the game which she had secured on Sunday, and the big question mark of the moment was, will she retrieve the hold?

 

 We didn’t have to wait long f= or that answer. The wicket decided to turn in favour of the bat, and the India batsmen decided to break the back of= the attack, with the result that the game took on a totally different complexion  when India’s second innings = began. Instead of the batsmen struggling for runs the bowlers now struggled for wickets and the fielders hunted the leather . From this time onwards right = up to the end the bat dominated the ball. Gone was the torture of witnessing d= ull, barren, faint-hearted batting which had marked the first two days and a qua= rter, and when out of 180 overs bowled 55 had been maidens, and the thirty thousand  spectators were now treated  to a series of sparkl= ing performances of  batsmanship w= hich revelled in full blooded hits and kept the score board rattling.=

 

Merchant and Mushtaqe Ali, opening India’s second innings in a glorious fashio= n, collected 98 runs in 100 minutes, and although Mushtaque Ali fell

        =             &nb= sp;            =          -3-

just when he was riding on a crest of a whirlwind innings, heading towards a century, India never looked back. Her batsmen went on to make 429 for 6 in 529 minutes. Wh= en Merchant declared at this stage the best part of the match was over, and the remaining four hours’ play on the last day, in which the Commonwealth scored 214 for 1 was only a light hearted festival- a concession to the gat= es. There was no conclusion to the battle. But it was a memorable clash of the = bat and the ball, and the huge crowds got full value for their money.

 

Except for Saturday when the Commowealth  skittled  away seven Id= ia wickets, and the first hundred minutes on Monday when the Commonwealth bats= men reaped a quick harvest of 98 runs, thus establishing a solid lead of 103 ru= ns, India held the stage all through the match, and gave her supporters enough to yell and shout at. On Sunday the 5th November, mankad sent the mammoth crowd in raptures as he struck a deadly form and disposed of Emmet, Worrell, Ikin, and Grieves, Josh’s stumping of Ikin and Worrell being a rare f= lash of brilliance. On Monday the crowd feasted their eyes on the superb batting performances of Mushtaque Ali, Merchant and Umrigar. Tuesday provided a five hours’ non-stop revelry of batting by Hazare,Umrigar,Phadkar, and Adhikari. And in the first hour of the last day the crowd’s delight reached a clamorous climax as they watched=   Hazare and Adhikari indulge in a plundering barrage of terrific hits= all round the wicket. Thirty thousand spectators witnessed the grand spectacle = of India&#= 8217;s bowling and batting at their best. Who cared if the test went down as a “draw” in the record books?

 

It would have been a grand thing ,of course, if India had won this Test. But = even to have turned a match which seemed all but lost on the first day- and even= on the morning of the third day when the Commonwealth got ahead by 103 runs on= the first innings- into a near victory was a proud achievement. And although  the credit for this must be given = to every member of the Indian team, Mankad, Merchant, Mushtaque  Ali and Hazare were the undisputed heroes of the match. Mankad turned the tide with his magnificent bowling performance. When he was having his deadliest spell on  Sunday he seemed as devastating as = the much boosted Ramadhin. His analysis was 28 overs, 11 maidens, 39 runs and 4 wickets, as compared to Ramadhin’s 34/15/44/4. And Mankad’s fig= ures become more significant when it is remembered that except Hazare Ramadhin’s victims were all tail-enders while Mankad bagged four first rate bats like Emmet Worrell, Ikin and

        =             &nb= sp;            =           -4-

 

Grieves. Phadkar’s analysis in the first innings 25/7/57/0 is not at all a true indication of his bowling performance. He often beat the Commonwealth batsm= en completely- particularly when he bowled his slow stuff with a four step run- but his ball failed to lift the bails by an eyelash. He seemed to have left= his luck behind him in the Ben= ham Hall Lane in Bombay. And, I may be wrong, but I got the impression that the great Dattu Phadkar = is losing his pace and is not as fast as he was once. This is bad luck for India, and necessitates a frantic , urgent search of a really fast bowler. Mankad remains the undoubted pillar of the India side so far as her atta= ck is concerned, and he rose to great heights in the Delhi Test, and pulled his s= ide out of the ditch.

 

Merchant and Mushtaque, opening India’s second innings, blossomed into a glorious partnership. Mushtaque Ali was in= the most dazzling of his moods, glancing, pulling  ,driving with marvelous lust and a= bandon , and scattering the Commonwealth fielders to the far corners of the ground. When he crossed his fifty he seemed determined to reach the three figures before the evening was out, and the crowd yelled and cheered at each run, a= s he careered along merrily, evidently enjoying himself hugely, and handkerchief= s fluttered in the afternoon sun like the wings of birds on a thousand trees. The fickle spirit which presides over this game of cricket cut short is swash-buckling stampede at 61. But these 61 had been scored in 100 minutes, and dashing kn= ock was reminiscent of his historical innings of 106 in India’s second Test  against England at Manch= ester of which Mushtaque Ali himself always says ,”I was mad… just mad!”

 

And even Mushtaque Ali’s meteoric brilliance didn’t outshine skipper Merchant who, in his own solid patient style, was laying the foundation of a huge India total, with his lovely cover drives which rippled over the turf,= and the very special glides and late cuts which bore the trade mark ‘Made= by Merchant’. If Mushtaque Ali’s batting had the quality of blindi= ng lightening, Merchant’s had that of a deep rumble of a cloud pregnant = with many showers.

 

But Hazare outshone both Mushtaque Ali and Merchant. His 140 against Livingstone’s side in the Delhi Test last year was still green in my memory as a miracle that had almost saved <= st1:place w:st=3D"on">India from defeat. But his un= beaten 144 in this year’s first test excelled even that memorable knock. He = came in when Idia’s total was 149 for 2, and stayed at the wicket to see it mount up to 429,

        =             &nb= sp;            =        -5-

playing for 6 hours, his own contribution to the addition of 380 runs being 144. He started quietly as always does. His first fifty took nearly 200 minutes. But his next fifty were made in 100 minutes, and his last 44, made in a whirlwi= nd style, came in about 50 minutes. Hazare is Merchant and Mushtaque Ali rolled into one- a rare compound of never-to-be tempted unfaltering stubbornness a= nd a prolific aggression. If Mushtaque Ali’s play is like a rapturous quick-rhythmed “Gazal”, Hazare’s batting reminds me of “Astai”, with a quite slow beginning, mounting in a quickened rhythm towards a hectic finish. Hazare is easily India’s safest bat toda= y, and amongst the world’s best ten. And what a polar coolness this guy has! When at 11-45 on Wednesday morning Merchant went down the steps of the Willingdon  pavilion to declare india’s second innings closed  at 429 for 6, and greeted the incoming Hazare with a broad grin and a warm hand-shake, do you think Hazare grinned in return, at least to oblige = the battery of cameras? No. Not a muscle of his face moved. Not a tooth glinted= in the sun.

His face was a study in marble washed by the salt of sweat. He wouldn’t h= ave looked much different if he had returned after scoring a duck. This is Haza= re- cool to the freezing point, unruffled in the hour of danger, unflushed in t= he moment of conquest.

 

Ramadhin is evidently the biggest attraction of the present tour. Wherever Ames’s men g= o crowds will want to see this glamorous show-boy on whose head the laurels of a spl= endorous season  on the English wickets= are still fresh. I was disappointed when he kept away from the ‘At Home’ given to the rival teams by the DDCA on Thursday the 2nd November. I saw him on Friday morning when the Commonwealth players turned = up for the net practice, and I was disappointed again. There is nothing remark= able about this twenty-one year old Trinidad = lad. Small and slight in build, not dark like Worrell or Weeks, with a wheat like complexion, a blunt nose and a carefully trimmed mustache line, you wouldn’t turn to look twice at him in a crowd. Give him a ball to spi= n, however, and face him on the turf, and you will soon know why he crashed in= to head-lines, after the first Test between En= gland and West Indies at Manchester<= /st1:place> last summer. He has come to India with neon signs blazing his name as one of the most sensational ‘find’s in the history of cricket. So the thirty thousand people who had packed the sun-baked open stands all round the Kotla ground on Satu= rday the 4th November were bursting with eagerness to see him in acti= on, and when Worrell brought him on in place of Shackleton at 11-25 a murmur rippled through the crowd, ”Ramadhin! Look! Ramadhin!” and all = eyes were focused on Ramadhin’s

        =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp; -6-

magic fingers as he took his short easy run, and sent down the first bal on the s= oil of his ancestors. Ramadhin lived upto his reputation in the first innings of this Test. But in the second he couldn’t do a thing, and nobody notic= ed when he bowled his last ball on the last day.

 

Merchant and Mushtaque Ali , opening India’s second innings on Monday started = to hit him with confidence bordering on audacity, and what was left incomplete= by them was completed by Hazare,Umrigar,Phadkar and Adhikari on the next two d= ays. They hit Ramadhin as he had never before been on this tour. They ruined his figures , which in the first innings were 34/15/44/4 ,but in the second 58/22/111/1. Ramadhin’s analysis for the whole match is 92/37/155/5- = an average of 31 runs per wicket. Not at all flattering. And if we add to this= the fact that on the morning of the last day

when Hazare and Adhikari were slashing at everything that came their way

Ramadhin’s figures shrunk to 6/0/31/0, and the Ramadhin myth was completely exploded.( Tribe had already been beaten out of action byHazare,Umrigar,and Phadkar on Tuesday when his analysis read 27/1/80/0. He didn’t touch the ball on Wednesday!)

 

India’s sterling batting performance in the second innings made people forget her f= irst innings debacle. And even this debacle was part of a grim battle ,and the c= rowd knew how to give a  big hand t= o the visiting rivals when they took our wickets and did amazing things in the fi= eld. Delhi is becoming more and more cricket-mad, and with each visit of a forei= gn side larger crowds turn up to watch the Tests. The Ferozshah Kotla grounds literally overflowed with seething mass of forty thousand spectators on 6th November, and even on Monday and Tuesday the stands were filled to capacity. Ferozshah Kotla presented a different picture from the Brabourne Stadium. T= he Willingdon Pavilion, which is a simple unimpressive  two storied structure on a little = height in the eastern corner, and half the ‘Ghat’-like steps leading d= own to the field were the only sheltered  places, except a few costly seats in the Shamianas to the south, so = that nearly twenty five thousand people had to sit all day long in the sun, including even those who had paid fifty rupees for a season ticket. Women t= oo sat in the glaring sun. Hordes of them. I don’t  remember to have seen so large a gathering of the fair sex at the Brabourne Stadium. Most of them Punjabees-= or trying to look like Punjabees with picturesque ‘Silwars’ and ‘Khameeses’ and ‘Dupattas’. And they kept crashing = the doors of the pavilionduring the lunch and tea intervals to get autographs- = or at least glimpses of the players.”What is your

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estimate?” someone asked me-I think Mushtaque Ali-“How many women are present?” “It would be wrong to say so many women” I replied,”It would be more correct to say that so many hundreds of yar= ds of Ninon and silk and georgette, and so many tones of grease paint and powd= er and lipstick have graced the occasion”. Bombay<= /st1:City> would really seem a backward, orthodox place in the matter of sartorial and “make up” fashions compared to the post partition present day Punjab-ridden  New Delhi. Looking at the fantastic clo= thes of men and women, and the styles of “hair do’s” and foot = wear I couldn’t help wondering if we were rapidly building a hybrid Anglo-American civilization in our ancient country. Jawaharlal Nehru, who w= as present for a little while on the first day, must have ‘discovered= 217; a very different India on the Ferozshah Kotla Grounds from the one he writes about in his ‘Discovery of India’….. But apart from these depressing thoughts, it was a rare pleasure to watch the huge gaily dressed crowds forming countless rainbows in the sun, and filling the air with freq= uent full-throated applause. The match and the crowd were certainly worthy of ea= ch other.

 

This has been a much better match for India than the last year’s first Test against Livingston’s side. It was a great comfort to see Merchant win= the toss and give his side the first use of the wicket. The Ferozshah Kotla wic= ket behaved queerly this year, and so only 1084 runs were scored in five days in this Test as against the 1238 which were scored last year. But while India had collected only 291 in the first innings and 327 in the second i.e. 618 = in all, last year, this tear she harvested 169 in the first and 429( for 6) in= the second innings i.e. 658 in all. Even apart from these statistics India̵= 7;s batting seems to be in a far more consistent and aggressive form than last year. From number one Merchant to number eight Mankad we have this year a s= ound batting side. What is more important, there is no longer any search for the opening pair, for the great merchant is not only backing the side, but is a= lso in perfect form; and our batting order is definitely fixed. Fielding lapses= in the last year’s Delhi Test had cost India the match. This year such unpardonable lapses were absent. I refuse to count the “missed ones” in the second innings because earnestness had somehow gone out = of the match after India’s declaration. On the whole therefore this first Test at Delhi against the second Commonwealeth side has been a very hearten= ing match for India.

 

We can look forward to the remaining matches with much hope. The second Test on the Brabourne will of course end in a draw. But I guess that the

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Calcutta and Madras Tests will prove conclusive. We must win these, and I believe  we shall. Ramadhin will find the <= st1:place w:st=3D"on">Eden Garden and the Chepauk wickets much to his liking It’s no use denying that h= e is a wizard when he gets a wicket that helps his spin. He will have to be very carefully watched on the Calcutta wicket. But our batsmen have laid the bog= ey now, and they know how to play him. Like the two former visiting sides this second Commonwealth outfit is a graet fielding side. You should have seen t= he catches made by Ikin and Emmet which sent back Merchant and Umrigar, and the way runs were saved by Dooland and Shackleton and even by the two burly big men- Fishlock and Gimblett. Laker was simply dazzling in his work in the country. He must have saved nearly forty runs on Tuesday and Wednesday when Hazare was in his most devastating mood. India’s fielding looked slug= gish and second rate in comparison. Except little Adhikari and Umrigar we have n= one in our side to compare with Laker. We are miles and miles behind these visi= tors in the department of fielding.

 

But this Commonwealth side is not our superior in attack, not forgetting Ramadh= in, because he wouldn’t prove as terrific on wickets in India as he did on the English wickets. Nor are the visitors as formidable a batting side  as the two previous visiting sides= , as us amply proved by the the totals they have collected in their eleven engag= ements so far. In fact, I should rate the India side slightly “plus” in batting.

 

Considering all things therefore the odds are on India winning the rubber agai= n this year, if two things happen viz. if Merchant continues to win the toss and, even  more important, if he av= oids that suicidal fine-leg stroke to which he fell a victim in the first inning= s of this first Test.

 

The second Test in Bombay may not prove decisive. But all the same it would be a grand clash between = two great sides, and who will the thrill of watching it?

 

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        =    The Second Unofficial = Test at Bombay  <= /span>

        =             &nb= sp;

        =             &nb= sp; Dec . 1,2,3,4,5: 1950

 

        =             &nb= sp;    The commonwealth team won by ten wickets.

 

        =             &nb= sp;            =    Principal scores:

 

 

India        =             I innings : 82  ( Ridge= way 4 wickets for 16, Laker 3 for 32,        =             &nb= sp;            =     

     Worrell 2 for 23= )  

        =             &nb= sp;       II innings: 393( Umrigar 130, Hazare 115, Merchant 62,        =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;            =  

        =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;        Laker 5 wkts. for 88)

Commonwealth    I innings: 427 ( Griev= es 89, Ikin 77,Spooner 62, Worrell        =             &nb= sp;            =   

      55, Alva 3= wkts. for 58)

 

        =             &nb= sp;        II innings : 49 for no wicket

 

 

( Century partnership= s: Commomwealth I innings : v wicket: Ikin-Grieves 138, India II innings: IV wicket: Umrigar-Hazare 225)

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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If Shankar was asked to draw a cartoon strip of India’s performance in t= he second Unofficial Test which concluded on Tuesday 5th  December, I am sur he will show a = man pushed by his rival into a ditch, struggling to rise, making a superhuman effort, reaching the brink, putting one foot across, seeming almost to emer= ge safely, but then receiving another blow, and crashing down back into the di= tch never to rise again. At least that’s how I thought India f= ared. She struggled from beginning to the end. For runs , for wickets, and then  again for runs. Without doubt ther= e was  blending of the heroic with the pat= hetic .But it was a bleak struggle for India start to finish- a ‘back to the wall fight, gloriously lost ,but LOST! Many were the pat= s on the back which India= received and deserved for the spectacular way in which she made a fight of = the match, but many too were the whip-lashes she had to take. The India s= ide rose to incredible heights of glory but in the end she dropped down and licked t= he dust. Nothing can change the cold fact that she lost this Test by ten wicke= ts- on the Brabourne wicket of all places! On the third and fourth days her bat= smen battled in a ‘Do or Die ‘ fashion, and looked like saving the match. But they flattered only to deceive. The Indian cart was stuck too de= ep in the bog. They couldn’t drag it out, and had to accept a crushing defeat.

 

But what an exciting duel it was, unfolding it’s full story in  a series of shocks and counter –shocks, suspense filling the gaps. Gone with the wind were all the forecasts of this match  on th= e  very first day. The second day pro= duced a play which none had expected. And on all the succeeding three days anticipations were crushed, promises buried , prophets humbled.. Leaving out the actual end which was too dull for a Test, we had twenty two hours of pl= ay packed with action, surprise and suspense.

 

The Indian batting cracked completely on Friday, the first day. Eight wickets w= ent down for 38 runs before the lunch interval. Twenty five thousand people in = the stands sat dumbfounded as they witnessed a sorry procession of India’s stalwarts like Mushtaque Ali, Hazare ,Phadkar,Adhikari being sent back to t= he dressing room one after another for a duck.The whole stadium was filled wit= h a dull hum of consternation. It seemed doubtful if India would cross even the 50= mark. Merchant ,opening with Mushtaque, had started quite confidently, but applie= d the brakes when he saw his partner fall a victim to an ugly mishap, hitting his wicket with his foot, as he fell down when making a stroke, before a run had been scored. He continued to

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play in a lion-hearted fashion; but when he saw wickets falling at the other end, and realized that he must stem the rot if tragedy was to be averted, he loo= ked like a lion trapped, stirring in his cage, growling, scratching at the bars= . He took thirty eight minutes to score his first run.

 

With C.S.Nayudu he collected 42 more runs for the 9th wicket. There w= as a glimmer of hope on the horizon that India might cross the 100. But Ridgeway caught Merchant off Dooland( 80-9-37), and six minutes after this = India’s first innings ended, even before the stands had filled up. Ten wickets had fallen in 192 minutes for 82 runs This wasn’t = India’s lowest score on record. But seven ducks was a record. And it was undoubtedly the most sensational batting collapse on the Brabourne wicket.

 

More sensations followed. Fishlock and Gimblett, opening the Commonwealth’s first innings, crawled to 25, and then India drew first blood. Withi= n five minutes after tea interval Gimblett was out, caught by Hazare , bowled Alva, and soon after this Fisklock was brilliantly held by Rajendra Nath behind t= he wicket off Alva. The Commonwealth score at the end of the day was 55 for 2,= India h= ad certainly struck back.

 

On Saturday , the second day, Worrell and Emmet, struggled for runs against a = very determined attack, and India delivered two more blows before lunch. First Emmet was magnificently stumpe= d by Rajendra Nath off Hazare (85-3-39), and C.S.Nayudu who was bowling cleverly indeed ,got Worrell LBW (124-4-55).. India seemed bent on fighting= back as she dad done in the Delhi Test, The match assumed the look of a grim bat= tle.

 

But the Commonwealth fifth wicket partnership between Ikin and Grieves tilted t= he scales again. In the first hour after lunch they collected 65 runs, and in = the next hour 77. There was nothing grand or spectacular in their performance, = but they farmed the Indian bowling – with tractors!- and established their side’s grip on the game. Grieves made a bad stroke and and was caught= by Rajendr Nath off Alva just one minute before tea. At last the pair was separated. But the score board which showed 124 for 4, when Worrell’s wicket was bagged by Nayudu now read 262 for 5 ! And although three more Commonwealth wickets- Dooland , Ikin and Tribe- fell during the hour after = tea, 42 runs were added, so that at the end of saturdaythe Commonwealth were 304= for 8 i.e. 222 runs ahead of India. The pendulum was moving in the favour of the visitors.

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And it swung completely and definitely in the first two hours of play on Sunday. Laker and Spooner hit up 69 runs in 80 minutes for the ninth wicket, and Spooner and Ridgway looted 54 runs in 40 minutes for the tenth. All three of them went for runs in a plundering manner. The India bowlers couldn’t = do a thing to stop them. There were several fielding lapses. And easy wide openi= ngs in the field too. The India side was completely stampeded and rattled , and looked as helpless with the ball as they had been with the bat on the first day. These two hours were t= he darkest patch for India, and the 123 runs made by the Commonwealth in this period sealed India&#= 8217;s fate. The Commonwealth score which was 55 for 2 mounted to 427, giving them= a precious solid lead of 345 runs. Not even the wildest optimist could now ho= pe that India would win. The utmost she could hope to do was to save the match. Even this seemed a Herculean task, considering that <= st1:place w:st=3D"on">India must first wipe off the colossal deficit of 345, and there were still 13 hours of ply left. The mat= ch had now developed into a tremendous challenge for India.

 

Merchant and Mushtaque, opening India’s second innings, seemed to take up the challenge, and the C.C.I. grounds looked like the arena of a Spanish bull fight, filled with grim tenseness, and also joyous excitement. Sunday always brings bumper crowds to the stadium. Besides people knew that they would th= ey swarmed in thousands upon thousands.The north and the east stands looked li= ke a human sea, it’s waves beating against the fencing, its applauding roar making a deep rumble. Who cared to remember the ugly fact that the Commonwe= alth led by 345 runs? Forty thousand people knew only one thing at the moment. <= st1:country-region w:st=3D"on">India w= as batting. There was no room intheir hearts for anything except the eagerness= to watch their idols like  Mercha= nt and Mushtaque and Hazare flash their blades and hit up runs. As Ridgway began h= is twelve step run to send down the first ball of the second innings, the nois= e of whistles and shouts died down, a breathless hush fell on the crowd and time seemed to stand still.

 

The expectant silence broke into a roar as Merchant made a beautiful stroke and got the f= irst run of the innings. Mushtaque lashed at another ball. Three runs. Thunderous applause. Seven runs were made of the very first over of Ridgway. In his ne= xt Mushtaque drove him for a grand four. Merchant and Mushtaque seemed to concentrate on punishing Ridgway, and they did this job so well and so quic= kly that Ridgway- the goblin that had frightened India

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out of her wits in the first innings- threw in the sponge and made way for Dool= and after having bowled five overs, none of them a maiden. This was a clear mor= al defeat for Ridgway. = India was sailing on the high seas of runs with the masts proudly spread and fluttering.

 

But Mushtaque suddenly remembered that he must be impetuous, attempted a stroke= at a ball  of which he should hav= e made a half-volley, and threw away his wicket-LBW to Dooland (37-1-26). A set ba= ck for India. But Merchant refused to let this Harakiri affect his attacking tactics, and, with Umrigar went on merrily, cutting , driving, gliding, with superb confidence and grace, giving one of his best performances. The Indian cart thundered on, crossing the 50s, 60s and the 70s. Tribe was put on by Worrel= l, and both Merchant and Umriga  reve= led in hitting him all round the wicket, until he was rested after bowling 8 overs= in which 28 runs were scored. Tribe no longer holds any terror for our boys. He failed at Delhi. He failed in Bombay. Our batsmen have completely mastered the tricks of this great bowler from A= to Z , and I am afraid he wouldn’t return from this tour with any blazing averages. Laker alone checked the flow of runs on Sunday evening. But Merch= ant and Umrigar looked perfectly set and took the India score past 80, past 90. Merchant made a magnificent stroke to signal the 100 , and his own fifty. T= he stands resounded with applause. Bugles and trumpets and crackers provided t= he usual orchestral din to celebrate the home side’s triumphant march.

 

High-brow scribes have spilled a good deal of ink to condemn the the clamorous and explosive ways of the crowd in the North and East stands of the stadium. Th= ey have nothing but abuse for them, calling them irresponsible fools who deser= ved to be cleared out by the police. But let these champions of discipline leave their high perches on the balconey and come and sit in this floating mass of humanity to understand what it is like to have to fight for a few inches of space after having paid for it perhaps a whole day’s earning, to swel= ter and get packed like sardines, just because you are mad about cricket and th= irst to see your side win and to give them a big hand, and then judge whether it such an unearthly crime to seek a diversion from watching the game and  the discomfort of the surroundings= by blowing a bugle or a trumpet or a conch or by letting a giant cracker go ba= ng . If you ask me, I like this much maligned crowd in the North and East stands= . It is not a foolish or irresponsible crowd as the critics imagine. I have sat amongst these people and come across scores of young lads marking

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their score-books more correctly than the official scorers, following every ball = and every run with an amazing mixture of accuracy and zest. If they shout more lustily than the fat-bellied elders in the wicker chairs, and blow trumpets= and fly crackers-well, that’s because they are young, and have fewer inhibitions. I for one love them- even their explosive outbursts of jubilat= ion. What would the stadium be without this noisy gay crowd in the North and East stands?

 

So Merchant set the trumpets blowing and the crackers banging when he reached = his fifty and sent up In= dia’s 100 on the board. At 4-35 100 changed to 110. Soon after this Merchant cros= sed 60. at 4-40 Worrell brought on Ridgway in place of Dooland. And Ridgway had immediate luck. Merchant just kissed a ball, wanting to turn it to the leg,= and Spooner behind the wickets closed his hands on a neat catch. Heavens! Merch= ant gone! Gone when he seemed invincible and set for a big score! This was inde= ed the wicket for which the the visitors would have given the whole Commonweal= th .Many of them threw themselves on the grass and thanked God in Heaven. India was now 114for 2 , Merchant having scored 62. India lost one more wicket , = that of Rajendra Nath in the remaining thirteen minutes, so that when the stumps were drawn for the third day India was 119 for 3, 226 in arrears- with Umri= gar (19) and Hazare (0) batting. It was dufficult to believe that India h= ad not lost the match now. Even to play for a draw was beyond all hope- unless a miracle happened.

 

The miracle almost happened on Monday, the fourth day of the play. Or rather, t= hat it didn’t actually and completely happen was a miracle. From the way Hazare and Umrigar batted for four and a half hours on Monday it seemed that they would go on batting till the visit of the third Commonwealth team. Even Worrell and his men seemed to have accepted the fact nothing on earth was g= oing to break this fourth wicket partnership. And yet it suddenly cracked at 4-31 when Laker broke Hazare’s wicket with simple looking ball. Sheer good luck for the Commonwealth. Laker must have disbelieved his eyes for a momen= t.

 

From the very first ball of the day Hazare and Umrigar had started to play like frenzied warriors, determined to rout the invader and save the fort. They h= ad added 104 runs to the India score in120 minutes before lunch. The score board rattled, The crowd roared. The news that Hazare and Umrigar were doing great things had spread in the = city and the suburbs and the offices.

 

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Clerks suddenly learnt that their aunts were seriously ill. Officers too realized = that the nephew’s must run to the aunt’s bed-side. Files were flung aside on the tables, type-writers locked, offices and banks deserted. The stadium was filled with forty thousand people after lunch. And the swelling crowd was treated by Hazare and Umrigar to one of the most sparkling performances of stubborn venturesome batting ever seen on the Brabourne wic= ket. They prove the good old saying that a bowler can only bowl as well as the batsman allows him to. They literally flogged the Commonwealth attack, not caring whether it was Ridgway or Dooland or worrell , who bowled Each of th= is received a good beating, Tribe getting the worst. His figure were 7 overs, = no maiden, 22 runs, no wicket.  T= he runs couldn’t be signalled as swiftly as they were made. 52 runs were= hit up in the first 45 minutes of play after lunch. The India score raced like the Pu= njab Mail, crossing the decades. Umrigar got his hundred in 283 minutes with 17 fours, and Hazare got his in 229 minutes with 15 fours- grand faultless kno= cks both! Both Hazare and Umrigar played with superlative confidence and aggression, hitting all round the wicket.

 

Watching Hazare at Delhi in the first Test, and then again in this Test, I got the impression that his hits have gathered more power, and he has achieved that rare harmony of  foot-work and vision and wrists and timing which marks out a great maestro in cricket. Umrigar too played like a seasones stalwart. In fact it was hard to pick up= the better of the two players on the run of the play. Umrigar is decidedly the coming hope of India= and I am sure that he will be the mainstay of our side for many y of victory.ears to come. He and Hazare baffled the Commonwealth players completely, shattering their dreams. At tea India were 329, only 16 runs = behind with 7 wickets in hand ,and Umrigar and Hazare  still full of runs. The jubiliant = crowd in the stands would have drunk all the tea in the Darjeeling gardens to celebrate their happiness. They were all dead certain that Hazare and Umrigar would now play out time on the day, and the match would end in a glorious draw on the next= . India was safely out of the woods.

 

But things took a strange turn when play was resumed. Both Hazare and Umrigar retired into their sells. They sheathed their flashing swords. Gone was the adventure which had marked their batting for full four hours. Gone was the swash-buckling assault. Gone was swing and the crack of the bat, and the whistling run of the ball across the green carpet to the ropes. Caution

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seemed to be Hazare’s and Umrigar’s watch-word. Watching Hazare and Umrigar overdoing this business of cautious batting, I couldn’t help feeling that this was wrong.  Lancashire League play doesn’t train you to round off a four hours’ hurricane batting with an hour of ‘pat-the-ball-and –save-the-sticks’ game. And besides overcautious ply is always likely to flatter the attack and make the fieldi= ng side fell that they are getting on top of the batsmen. I didn’t like therefore Hazare and Umrigar switch off the run getting machine altogether. With each ball met with a dead bat I felt the presence of an approaching disaster..

 

I prayed to Heaven that my fears should prove wrong. But hardly had I done th= is when Hazare succumbed to Laker, clean bowled. India’s fourth wicket p= artnership which promised to set up a sensational record ended on 225. Hazare was gone just when seemed unbeatable, certain to last another day, and carry his sid= e to a magnificent draw. = India was now 342 for 4 ( Hazare 115), still needing 3 runs to catch up with the Commonwealth’s first innings score. The pendulum swung in favour of t= he Commonwealth. The match slipped from India’s hands. The sky lost the flaming rose tints which Hazare and Umrigar had pai= nted across it with bold daring sweeps of the brush. It turned dark and mournful. What a wonderfully exciting game cricket is- one fateful ball changing the fortunes, turning flames of glory into cold ashes.

 

If there were any hopes in any body’s mind that India would still fight and make a draw of the match, they were blown up when Pha= dkar was caught behind the wicket by Spooner off Worrell for a duck, and the India s= core became 347 for 5. People turned up in their thousands on Tuesday, the last = day of the match, hoping against hope that Umrigar, still unbeaten, would pull = out a miracle. But they only witnessed the remaining five wickets fall in hour’s time for a bare 38 runs. The two grand catches by Laker and Grieves which dismissed  Umrig= ar and Adhikari, were the decisive nails driven in India’s coffin. India&#= 8217;s second innings total was 393. The Commonwealth neede only 49 runs to win. T= hey scored these without losing a wicket , and everything was over. The Commonwealth  registered their= first Test victory in a decisive manner. India lost by ten wickets. Th= ere is comfort only in the thought that this Test, ending in a decision in twenty = two hours, put an to Brabourne wickets bad name. Rival sides will in future com= e to this wicket with a different outlook.

 

 

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.

It would be interesting to compare this second Test with similar encounters wi= th the West Indies and the first Commonweal= th sides. In the second test of 1948 an aggregate of 1235 runs were scored in = five days, giving the average of 49 runs per hour. In 1949 five days produced 12= 77 runs- 50 runs per hour. This year’s second Test lasted for 22 hours during which only 951 runs were made-43 runs per hour. On the first day of = this year’s Test 12 wickets went down for  137 runs. On the second day 6 wicke= ts for 249 runs. On the third day 5 for 310. On the fourth day 2 for 228. And on t= he last day 5 for 87. Thus excepting the third and the fourth day the ball was= on top of the bat throughout the match, the batsmen at the mercy of the bowler= s. Never before  has the Brabourne wicket  been so markedly parti= al to the bowlers. Perhaps it it is tired of being called a batsman’s parad= ise, and learning a trick or two to become his trap.

 

In the 1948 second Test there were four big partnerships: Rae- /Stollmeyer 134,Weekes- Walcott 170, Hazare –Modi 156, Hazare –Amarnath 144. Last year’s second Test was also marked by four prolific partnerships: Oldfield-Worrell 206, Freer-Pettiford 160,, Merchant –Modi 130 and Adhikari-Umrigar 109. In this year’s second Test,on the contrary, the= re were ony two outstanding partnerships , that of Grieves and Ikin for 138 ru= ns, and that of Hazare and Umrigar- a record fourth wicket stand on the Brabour= ne wicket, I believe- for 225 runs. This is another proof of how in the Test j= ust concluded the C.C.I. wicket frowned on the batsmen and favoured the bowlers= .

 

A posr-martem examination of a match may seem futile to some. But I think it = is interesting and also instructive if we can learn by our mistakes. India&#= 8217;s batting debacle on the first day was of course the main cause of her defeat. But there were many other things which helped the tragedy and made it impossible for India= to play for a draw. The Grieves- Ikin partnership for instance on the second day. It wasn’t by any means exciting or glorious cricket. But they pi= led 138 runs. Then the catch which Umrigar dropped towards the end of the day, giving Laker a life. If Umrigar had made this catch the shape of things to = come would have been different. Because it was Laker, who, with Spooner collecte= d 69 runs in the first 80 minutes on Sunday, the third day. India’s luckless attack during these 80 minutes, and the succeeding 40 minutes, in which  Spooner and Ridgway hit up 54 runs, decided the fate of the match in a large measure. The overcautious batting =

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tactics adopted  Hazare and Umrigar  in the last hour of the fourth day, which cost Hazare’s wicket was another decisive factor. And the two g= rand catches made by Laker and Grieves which sent back Ummrigar and Adhikari on = the last day put the last straw in the camel’s back. And yet, these were = only the contributory factors. Those 82 runs in the first innings broke India&#= 8217;s back irrevocably. This collapse was the beginning of the end!

 

What was the cause of tis collapse? Timid batting? Hardly. Did our batsmen indul= ge in wild swipes at the ball, or did they nibble dangerously at outswingers, = and commit suicide as they have often done? Not that either. Then why did they = fail so miserably? The wicket helped Ridgway, and Ridgway made best of the advantage, bowling with magnificent length and precision. But even granting this, there was no reason for our batting to be routed. Without detracting = from the meritorious attack of the Commonwealth I feel that the only thing that = can be rightly said about India’s collapse in the first innings is that it just happened. Things like this do happen in cricket – inspired spells for  bowlers when they can do nothing w= rong, and black moments for the batsmen when they seem to be mesmerized and can do nothing right- things good or bad which defy analysis –sudden nameless hurricanes which lift one side to heights of glory and fling the other to t= he bottom of the abyss- mysteries  which are best left undiscussed. There cannot be any rational explanation of this batting failure which was India’s lot in this second Test. A batting side which lost only one wicket for 114,= and made 342 for three wickets in the second innings on a worn wicket, had no business to crack and be skittled out for 82 in the first innings. A dew-la= den wicket and a Ridgway at his best are not enough explanation. So I repeat th= at it just happened- that is all.

 

My faith in our batting strength remains, therefore unshaken. If this visiting side is worth 400 runs, our side under similar circumstances is good for 50= 0. The visitor’s batting is not a menace. Nor is their attack intrinsica= lly. It takes on a murderous quality because of the support it receives from sup= erb fielding. In this second Test twelve India wickets fell to catches. Grieves alone made five. Umrigar’s catch which Laker held, diving forward, and Adhikari’s catch snapped by Grieves on the last day, were simply amazing. When Merchant slashed at a ball ,wanting to break through t= he attacking field set by Worrell in the first innings, when India was desperately struggl= ing for runs, that cracking hot shot was like Bank of England note, worth clean four runs, and Emmet standing not more than few feet away

        =             &nb= sp;            =              -19-

from the wicket, almost silly mid-on came down on the cannon ball like fairy, and Merchant’s hit proved abortive. It was the most spectacular piece of dare-devil fielding worth going all the way to see. It is such catches and = such brilliant work in te field which make a side hard to beat.

 

But we beat  a strong side at Calcutta  last year, and there is no reason = why we cannot repeat the performance this year. All eyes are on the third Test now= . India h= as announced her team. I am glad that C.S.Nayudu retains his place. He took on= ly 3 wickets in Bombay , but bowled extremely well. The Eden Garden wicket will perhaps suit him better. Phadkar too. This great all rounder has had a run = of bad luck till now. He must go all out and thurn wheel of fortune in his fav= or. India b= adly needs from him a few wickets and lot of runs. Chowdhari will strengthen our attack. The inclusion of Rusi Modi hits me in the eye. Maybe he is more reliable than Mushtaque. But there’s no telling how many catches he w= ill drop and how many runs he will give away in the field. Mushtaque may not be= a reliable batsman, but when he gets going , he is one of the fastest run-get= ters in the world. There is none like Mushtaque who can break the enemy’s = back at any time and on any wicket. And if you want crowds, give them Mushtaque = and they will swarm like locusts. Again, in the absence of Mushtaque , who will open India’s innings with Merchant? Perhaps Mankad. But this stalwart has imbibed too mu= ch of Lancashire  League type of play to fill the No= . 2 place. Besides if he goes No.2 that will affect his bowling- a thing Merchant seem= s to be very judiciously avoiding this year… But let us wait, and see how Merchant solves these little problems.

 

The Calcutta match is= bound to develop into a good fight, because Ramadhin is sure to play in it. Worre= ll was wise to put him in Frigidaire in the second Test, fearing that he wouldn’t very effective on the Brabourne wicket, and would lose his glamour- as he did to a great extent at Delhi. He will pull out this Ramadhin weapon at Calcutta. The Eden = Gardens very likely to suit his jugglery. The real duel between this little wizard from Trinidad and Mercha= nt, Hazare and Umrigar will be staged at Calcutta. This third Test has now become the key match of the tour. We must win it and make matters even. I hope Merchant and his men will rise to the occasion. O= ur warmest wishes of the New Year’s luck will be with them.

 

        =             &nb= sp;            =             **************

 

        =    -20-

               =             &nb= sp;

The Third Unofficial Test at Calcutta

 

        =              Dec. 30,31( 1950), Jan 1,2,3, (1951)

 

        =             &nb= sp;            =     Match drawn

 

        =             &nb= sp;            Principal scores:

 

Commonwealth     I innings : 227 = ( Ikin 96, Worrell 61, Phadkar 4 wickets

        =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;            For 60, Chowdhary 3 for 37)

 

        =             &nb= sp;         II innings : 457 ( Ikin 111, Dooland 106, Stephenson

        =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;            60 not out, Worrell 58, Mankad 4

        =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;            For 101, Chowdhary 3 for 76, Hazare

        =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;            2 for 54)

 

India        =             &nb= sp;   I innings: 467 for 7 decl.( Hazare 134, Umrigar 93,C.S.

        =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;   Nayudu 54, Ridgway  4 for        =            

        =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;    132, Worrell 2 for 91)

        =                    =      II innings : 39 for 1

 

( Century partnerships: India I innings: II wicket Rege – Umrigar 108)

  

 

 

 

 

 

        =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;          -

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

        =             &nb= sp;            =        -21-

Predictions in cricket are proverbially unsafe. But this seems  to be a specially unkind year to prophets. They were unanimous in expecting=   the second unofficial Test to end in a draw, but it turned out to be conclusive- conclusive with a vengeance. And the third unofficial Test at <= st1:place w:st=3D"on">Calcutta, which ev= erybody had thought would produce a decision, ended in a draw . Another day and a h= alf would have been needed if the match had to be played to a finish. The Brabo= urne wicket, notorious for draws, yielded a definite conclusion; and the Eden Garden wicket, the scene of many exciting victories and defeats, proved abortive. = And it was the India side which suffered in both cases by the wicket’s whim to change their respective reputations. India failed to play for a draw in Bombay; she f= ailed to force a win at Calcutta. The Commonwealth side won the second Test chiefly on the strength of their attack; they succeeded in averting a conclusion in this third Test by virtu= e of their plucky batting No praise can be too high for these performances of the visitors.

 

There weren’t many sudden swings of the pendulum in this third Test- no thrilling incidents which turned the scales dramatically. Luck smiled on India r= ight from the start. Even Merchant’s failure to win the toss prove to be blessing in disguise. And luck was with the home side for twenty two hours = and a half until the sixth wicket of the Commonwealth in their second innings ( that of Ikin) went down. After this, however , luck deserted them , and they couldn’t a right thing until the end. The accumulated advantage of fo= ur days and a half slipped through their fingers, and the Commonwealth succeed= ed in their bid for a draw. History refused to repeat itself on the Eden Garden, where India had vanquished the first Commonwealth side by seven wickets last year. The = India p= layers deserve all the praise in the world for their lion-hearted performance with= the ball and the bat for twenty two and a half hours; they can not escape censu= re for their woeful weakness in the fiels during the last two and a half hours, which robbed them of victory. The draw was not in any manner the result of unforeseen extraneous factors. It came about because the India  attack proved too impotent to coll= ar the visitor’s batting onslaught.

 

India made a grand start by taking full advantage of the dew laden wicket and the heavy atmosphere, and skittling out four big Commonwealth wickets- Gimblett ,Emmet,Ames and  Girives- foe = a mere 41 runs. The Commonwealth made a praiseworthy recovery after lunch. But they lost 7 wickets for 199 at the close of the first day’s play, and India finished the

        =             &nb= sp;            =       -22-

remaining 3 wickets in the first hour of the second day, so that the CommonwealthR= 17;s first innings total was 227. this was their lowest first innings total so f= ar, considering that they had scored 272 at Delhi, and 427 in Bombay. India consolidated this advantage in the remaining four hours of Sunday, the whol= e of Monday, and the first hour on Tuesday, by scoring 467 runs for 7 wickets, a= nd declaring. In the third Test at Calcutta l= ast year against the Commonwealth team India had scored 422 in the first innings, and the visitors 190, thus giving India a= lead of 232. This year the lead was slightly more sizeable- 240. This too was a new record in the books.

 

India’s obvious task after this was to take some quick wickets in the Commonwealth second innings. This too she accomplished= in the remaining four hours on Tuesday, the fourth day of play. The first Commonwealth wicket took a long time to fall. But when it fell-at 80, it pr= oved a signal for India to deal blow on blow, so that at the end of the day she = had run through half the rival side, sending back Gimblett, Emmett, Ames, Griev= es and even Worrell for 240 runs. The Commonwealth had lost five wickets and o= nly just wiped off India= ’s first innings lead. On the last day, therefore, the match became virtually a  one day fixture between five Commonwealth batsmen and the whole India side. This was an extre= mely interesting position, and one naturally thought India would win.

 

In the first forty five minutes on the last day, Ikin, who was 97 on the previ= ous day, completed his hundred ,and , with dooland collected 18 fresh runs. Then Hazare shattered his wicket ( 258-6-111) with abeautiful ball, reminiscent = of Phadkar’s which had, in the last year’s third Test on this very wicket, dismiss= ed Livingstone, who had raised a finger in salute to the bowler before walking away. This ball from Hazare, swung in and hit the middle stump and sent the bails flying. Ikin stood on his ground for a moment, a study in disbelief, = and then left the crease.

 

The match was now reduced to a four and a quarter hours’ fixture between = four Commonwealth batsmen and India. This was hugely interesting. India’s hopes of a grand victory reached sky-high. But like a firework rocket, in t= he very moment of its’s soaring climax, bursting and showering sparkles = of dazzling colour, begins to fall and turn to cinders, this hope touched the = peak point only to begin its descent. This wasn’t noticed for a while. But when Dooland and Tribe- the seventh wicket partners- remained unseparated f= or a long time, and runs mounted up, and precious minutes slipped away, one

        =             &nb= sp;            =             -23-

became aware of the ominous change slowly coming over the game. The clock was going against India. She was at this moment in the state of a man wanting to reach the railway station and catch a train, impatient of traffic hold-ups and little obstacl= es, counting each second, hoping and then doubting his own hope, and shouting ceaselessly to the driver ‘faster, faster ’. India c= ould force a win only if she took a quick wicket. On the contrary a draw would be inevitable if Dooland and Tribe went on batting for another thirty minutes.= On these thirty minutes depended the fate of the rival teams. This was the most critical period of the match. The pendulum quivered in its  place uncertainly. Nothing spectac= ular was on view. But one could feel that the combatants were waging the last decisive skirmishes. One could almost hear the grinding teeth and the hissi= ng breaths. Every ball and every run was pregnant with destiny. This half hour= was perhaps the brightest high-light  of this Calcutta Test- not perhaps for the crowd, but most certainly for those= who knew the significance of the period, outwardly quite-even dull- but holding= in it’s womb the approaching decision.

 

At last the suspense ended, the decision came. India lost her hold on the ga= me. Tribe was dismissed for 39, caught by Umrigar off Chowdhary. This was Commonwealth’s 7th wicket. But they had now scored 345, go= ing well ahead of the first innings deficit by 105 runs. Three of their wickets were still to go, and barely two hours of play remained. India c= ould still hope to win. But it was a forlorn hope-like the feeble breathing of a dying man kept alive on oxygen- a hope that depended on India’s abili= ty to take the last three wickets in ten or fifteen minutes. Only a miracle could help India do this. There is of course always room for miracles in cricket. India c= lung to her hope. But  even this wild = hope was soon shattered. Dooland and Stephenson put on 97 runs- more than any previous Commonwealth partnership had realized. When Dooland was caught by Adhikari off Mankad a roar went up from the crowd. But it was a hollow roar, devoid of genuine joy. No one would have been sorry if Adhikari had put  the catch on the carpet. A wicket = was not going the help I= ndia now. It was already too late. Because, not only Dooland had scored  his second hundred in the series b= ut the Commonwealth score had now soared up to 442. Two wickets still remained. And only an hour of play was left. Without doubt the match was going to end in a draw. It would be more correct to say that it ended with the fall of Dooland’s wicket, or much earlier when drinks came out, and play was continued only because the minute hand of the clock hadn’t yet written “finis”. The last two wickets fell shortly afterwards, adding 15 runs. The

        =             &nb= sp;            =           -24-

Commonwealth second innings terminated on 457 runs. India was left to make 218 ru= ns to win, with thirty minutes to do that in. Could there be anything more imposs= ible to undertake in a serious manner?

 

When therefore India began her second knock frolicsome  spirit pervaded the field. And on the very stage where for nearly fi= ve days characters in a grin Grecian drama had clashed, and waved their sabers, and moved majestically in regal robes, a half hours’ hilarious farce = was enacted-“ A Comedy of Errors” after a stirring “Winter’s Tale”. Merchant sent in his usual no.9.and 10 batsmen, Rajendra Nath and Chowdhary, to open the second innings. Ames in turn drap= ed Emmett and Ikinn as the opening bowlers. It was like a fancy Dress Carnival where people put out the quaintest clothes and do the most fantastic things. After the fall of Rajendra Nath’s wicket at 20 ,even Ames took his turn as bowler. The crowd= - that is what had remained of it by now- roared with delight, enjoying the rare s= ight of a former English Test wicket keeper bowling in an unofficial test on an Indian wicket ,and thus providing for a likely controversy in 1975, was Ame= s a bowler or was he not. Watching the play it was difficult to believe it was = 3rd January and not the All Fool’s Day. The players, the spectators, all<= span style=3D'mso-spacerun:yes'>  entered into a spirit of light-hea= rted gaiety, and when Ames whisked the last ball of his second over right over t= he wicket keeper’s head, the crowd thought it to be the climactic gambol signaling the final curtain, and they all rushed into the field, and play h= ad to be stopped a couple of minutes before the scheduled closing hour. Every = body had his big laugh before leaving the field, and so I had mine too. But the = pain of regret lingered in the thought that victory had eluded India. = She had no business, I felt, to let her own half-won triumph into a moral victory f= or the visitors.

 

But I will soon forget my chagrin, and there will many brilliant performances in this Test to remember. Only some of these will go into official recordsb but the others will be inscribed on the spectators’  heart. Such were ,for instance , t= he two catches each which Rege and Mankad held. The credit for having dismissed the Commonwealth side for 227 runs must go to these magnificent catches as much= as to the fire of Phadkar’s and Chowdhary’s bowling. Had India repeated this grandeur of attack in = the latter half of india= ’s second innings, this Test would have been a different story. It should be evident now that we can outplay these visiting teams only on the combined s= trength our bowling and fielding. India produced this combination in the first innings of this Calcutta  Test, the wicket and the

        =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;  -25-

weather helped, and she won the first round decisively. On the contrary, India took the first six wickets in the second innings for 258 runs , but gave aw= ay 199 in taking the last four. Her attack lost its keenness and fire. Catches were dropped. Ikin, who made 111, had a life when he was only four, and Dooland, who made 106, was dropped by Hazare early in his knock, when his wicket would have made a world of difference in the result of the match. It must be admitted that when the 7th Commomwealth wicket took a lo= ng time to fall,there was no point left in making a serious effort for the remaining three wickets. And yet it remains true that India lost her victor= y not at all owing to any adverseness of wicket or weather or circumstance, but solely and definitely because her attack cracked. She simply hadn’t t= he strength left in her to choke the tide of runs flowing from the blades of Dooland, Tribe and Stephenson, and had to stand helpless, and see her victo= ry stolen away.

 

Writing on the second Test in Bombay I had observed that our batting collapse in the first innings of that match= was one of those inexplicable mysteries that occur in cricket , and that our si= de is an intrinsically stronger batting side than the visitors.. This was prov= ed once more at Calcutta. Merchant made only 29 runs in the third Test, but they were made with a confidence and aggression which showed that his bat is full of runs this ye= ar, and he wouldn’t let this series end without getting a hundred. Rege’s 48 runs were extremely creditable. He took 135 minutes to score his first 25, but after that, in partnership with Umrigar, he hit all round= the wicket. It’s a pity he missed his fifty. But two glorious catches and consistently smart work in the field constitute an excellent performance, a= nd , opening India’s innings with Merchant, and playing remarkably well, Rege has answered India’s prayer for a young no.2. He has indeed had a very successful debut in test cricket. Umrigar gave one more brilliant batting performance. His was perha= ps a better knock than  Hazare̵= 7;s, characterized by greater aggression. Hazare took 281 minutes for his 134, Umrigar made 93 in 191 minutes. But he gave the impression that he hit hard= er and more often than Hazare. The time will soon come, I guess, when people w= ill be discussing whether Hazare is the more dashing batsman or Umrigar. Perhaps people are already discussing this and voting for Umrigar.

 

C.S.Nayudu’s 54, made in 53 minutes, with 8 boundary hits, were a feast to the eyes. The= se 54 came just when, on the morning of the fourth day, India wanted to see her first innings total become as formidable as possible. But in

        =             &nb= sp;            =              -26-

addition to this utility, the dashing hard hitting style in which they were made, and the way C.S.Nayudu routed the Commonwealth attack  were a rare treat. It was a roaring thundering innings. C.S. played havoc like a hurricane, which rushes on , crshing trees and uprooting vines, end sending up thick columns of dust and making people run helter skelter. It was a lustful batting orgy in the true “Nayudu” manner. The crowds must have thoroughly enjoyed it bec= ause such batting fireworks are becoming rare in the present day theory-ridden cricket.

 

And yet the most delectable batting performance was Hazare’s, characteriz= ed as it was by rock like solidity, patience,, confidence and vigour. His 134 = gave him his third consecutive  hun= dred in the present series, and , judging by his present form, there is no reason why he shouldn’t score two more hundreds in the remaining two Tests a= nd thus break Weekes’ record of four in 1948-49. I have yet to see poor Hazare go in to bat when his side is not in trouble, when the first two wic= kets have put on more than 200 runs and he has no need of caution. In this Calcu= tta Test too Hazare had to first steer his side out of danger zone before sprea= ding his sails. He had to play two types of cricket- slow and cautious cricket a= nd care-free run getting cricket. Look at the following figures. In the first = 25 minutes Hazare scored 10 runs. In the next 33, 19. Then in 70 minutes only = 7. In the next 19,4. In the following 90 minutes , 60. And in the last 86-afte= r he had reached his hundred- 34. That patch of 7 runs in 70 minutes was the most barren and slow phase of Hazare’s innings. None will deny-not even Hazare, I guess-that the lamentably slow rate of runs in these long 70 minu= tes went against India. And yet I would be the last personto censure Hazare for it. That abortive p= atch came because India lost two quick wickets- those of Umrigar and Modi-when she was 231 for 4-th= at is, she had surpassed the Commonwealth first innings total by only 4 runs- = and Hazare was burdened againwith a heavy responsibility and had to be cautious= and play for safety. That patch of 1run per 110 minutes sticks in the eye. But = it doesn’t at all detract from the merit of Hazare’s chanceless 13= 4. It was indeed a magnificent performance- a worthy successor of many such Ha= zare knocks, and a happy promise of many more to come.

 

Performances like this should have won this Test for India. But they didn’t<= span style=3D'mso-spacerun:yes'>  because Commonwealth put up a great fight to avert defeat. They failed in the first innings both as a batting s= ide and a bowling side. But their defiant batting in the second innings rose to great heights. Tribe couldn’t do a thing

        =             &nb= sp;            =           -27-

with the ball. In his 10  overs  he gave 26 runs, and took no wicket= . But he hit India with the = bat, scoring 39, when every tilted the scales against India. Tribe is a very troubl= esome no.8 if and when he is allowed to be, and <= st1:place w:st=3D"on">India’s attack failed t= o collar him. Ramadhin had a bad match. He had more shine and glamour taken off him = than in the first Test. He got one wicket-that of Mankad. But that was when India w= as having a scramble for quick runs before the declaration, and Mankad was wreckless under orders. So the wicket didn’t have much genuine value. Ramadhin’s figures in this match are: 52 overs,86 runs , 1 wicket. He wasn’t punished like Tribe- that’s all he could do. Ridgway didn’t work any miracles here on the=   Eden Garden wicket as he had done in Bomba= y. But it was he who did most damage and bore the brunt of the attack. He bowl= ed 50 overs and took 4 wickets. He dismissed Merchant for the second time. An identical good length rising ball which whistles past, a slightly uppish to= uch of Merchant’s bat trying to cut through the slips- that’s how Ridgway sent back Merchant. I get a stab in the heart when I see Merchant’s wicket go down . But it’s a positive delight to see = that mathematical precision of the tantalizing Ridgway ball Stephenson did amazi= ng work behind the sticks The Ridgway-Stephenson combination proved the death = trap of Merchant, Modi and Hazare and the Worrell –Stephenson combination accounted for Rege. All these four catches were made in a grand style, but Stephenson was specially brilliant when he caught Merchant, and the way he fastened on to Hazare’s catch was almost uncanny. Besides being responsible for four India wickets out of the seven, Stephenson played a gr= eat part as a batsman in the Commonwealth second innings, coming as no.9 after Tribe had gone back, when the match still hung in balance, though slightly,= and scoring an unbeaten 60, and thus putting a draw beyond all manner of doubt.  In fact unstinted prai= se is due to the Commonwealth batting as a whole in the second innings. I mean pr= aise for the courage with which they decided to meet the crisis instead of runni= ng away from it and taking shelter in the trench, and for the success with whi= ch they did this.

 

With India gone ahead on the first innings lead by 240 runs and nine hours of pl= ay left, none could have blamed the Commonwealth if they dad decided to play f= or safety and to adopt stonewalling tactics, not caring if the game became dul= l. This wasn’t a Festival match after all, but a Test in which honour was stake. By her unique performance in the first innings India had thrown out a challe= nge. The visitors could have shut their eyes to it and thought discretion the be= tter part of valour. But they stepped out and took up

        =             &nb= sp;            =           -28-

the challenge, and went for runs right from the beginning of their second innin= gs. They lost a wicket at 80, another at 81, 3 at 165, 4 at 176, 5 at 195, 6 at 258! They were only 18 runs ahead at this stage after wiping out the first innings deficit of 240; and 255 minutes of play remained. But even then they didn’t change their tactics. Their batsmen didn’t retire into a shell. Dooland , Tribe, Stephenson- they all attacked India’s bowling, giving an exhibition of dashing play,  breaking the back of the attack ,and at last stealing away IndiaR= 17;s victory. While  India’s 467 were made i= n 600 minutes, the Commonwealth in their second innings made 457 in 510 minutes. While, in other words, India scored at the rate of one run one minute and fifteen seconds, the Commonwealth’s rate of scoring was one run in one minute and seven seconds- i.e. faster by 8 seconds. And considering the tot= ally different and threatening circumstances in which the Commonwealth were caug= ht in the second innings, to have collected 457 runs at a slightly faster rate= was indeed a grand performance of which any Test side should be proud.. India had made a magnificent bid for victo= ry in this Calcutta match.  The way in which the Commonwealth foiled it was equally- if not more- magnificent. One is tempte= d to observe that although the match technically ended in draw, the Commonwealth scored a moral victory.

 

Three tings stick out as having caused India’s failure to win = this Test. First, the Commonwealth’s gallant batting in the second  innings. Second, the sudden impote= nce which came over Indi= a’s attack in the last four hours of play, and her fielding lapses. And finally-what escaped notice perhaps in the beginning but became evident lat= er on- the lack of speed in India’s run-getting. If only India had played faster in their first innings! Merchant’s 29 could not have been more rapid, since he was after all playing no.1. But Umrigar, Hazare, Modi, Phadkar, Mankad, and Adhikari could certainly have been less slow. Th= ey should have stepped on the petrol a little more and speeded up the total. T= here was lack of dash and speed in their knocks. Just a shade of it. But it was = this trifle that contributed towards the final frustration and disappointment. Little things do count. And the Calcutta Test has left this lesson like a writing on the wall: the India batsman mustn’t be content with making runs, they must make them as quickly as possible. Maximum runs in minimum time- this must be their watch-word if they wish to win!

 

        =             &nb= sp;            *********************

 

        =             &nb= sp;            =              -29-

 

 

        =             &nb= sp;  The Fourth Unofficial Test at Madras.

 

        =             &nb= sp;         January 19,20,21,22,23 : 1951

 

        =             &nb= sp;            =         Match Drawn

 

            =             &nb= sp;            =  Principal scores:

 

India        =           I innings: 361( Mankad 52, Hazare 80, Umrigar 110,Worrell        =             &nb= sp;   

        =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;     3 wkts. for 50, Shakleton 3 for 79, Ridgway

         =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;     2 for 79, Tribe 2 for 102)

 

        =             &nb= sp;    II innings: 302 for 5 decld. ( Phadkar 61, Merchant 72, <= /span>

        =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;            =             Hazare 75, Shackleton 4 wkts.

        =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;            =              For 153, Worrell 1 for 88)

 

Commonwealth  I innings : 393 ( Worrell 71, Emme= tt 96, Ikin 110

        =             &nb= sp;         =             &nb= sp;          Phadkar 5 wkts. for 99, Mankand 4 f= or 90)

 

        =             &nb= sp;      II innings : 225 for 6( Emmett 53, Ikin 86, mankad 3 for 75

        =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;            =       Chowdhry 2 for 58)

 

 Century Partnerships: India I innings : III wkt. Um= rigar –Hazare 173

               =             &nb= sp;         Commonwealth I innings: II wkt. Ikin-Emmett 183

        =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;         IV wkt; Worrel-Fishlock

        =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;          118

        =             &nb= sp;            =      Commonwealth II innings: II wkt. Ikin –Emmett

        =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;           102 in 60 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

        =             &nb= sp;            =         -30-

 India has yet find the last s= traw to break the camel’s back! This would be,I believe a fairly apt summi= ng up of the fourth unofficial Test which conclude on the Chepauk grounds on t= he 23rd January. The two Tests at Calcutta and Madras have made it clear that India piles up a huge stack of hay on the camel’s back, ma= kes the animal bend under the burden, but the “last straw” which is needed to break it’s back remains to be added. The India e= leven is like a soccer team which carries the ball into the rival’s half with beautiful passes and dribbles, but lacks the most essential quality of shoo= ting and scoring a goal. The India players do great things with the bat and the ball against the visitors , and yet to secure a win by a narrow margin. They begin well, they seem to be se= t on the road, the end of the journey is almost in sight, and yet victory eludes them. This is what happened on the Eden Garden wicket. It happened again on the Chepauk wicket. We made a good beginning. But what was well began remained only half done. WE failed to force a win. The Calcutta match ended in a draw owing to the Commonwealth’s sound batting in the second innings; there was no deci= sion in this Madras match because India’s batting was not sufficiently aggressive and fast . The last day of the match was made memor= able by the spectacular batting of the Commonwealth, but India’s second innings declaration was delayed and a great match culminated in a disappoin= ting draw owing to India’s weak and subdued batting The position of the ga= me at the commencement of the second innings was such that India should have a= imed at occupying the crease for not more than five hours, and creating for themselves a chance to win by leaving 300 runs for the Commonwealth to make= in four hours. But she failed  to= do this. She couldn’t put the finishing touch to the job she had begun so well.

 

 Ind= ia had made a really good start at Madras. Merchant won the todd for the third time; and although Ridgway, helped by t= he north-easterly breeze, clean bowled Mushtaque with the last ball of the oen= ing over, and Merchant was dismissed  L.B.W. for 21 by Tribe with  the first ball of his first over when he took over from Shackleton, = the Umrigar –Hazare partnership blossomed as had done in Bombay. Umrigar = hit up a grand 110 before losing his wicket, and Hazare made 80, and at end of Friday, the first day, India had collected 257 for 4 wickets. On Saturday Phadkar was dismissed for 12, Kishenchand for 24, and Alve for 26, but Mankad gave a rare exhibition of q= uick vigorous babbingas hae made his 52 runs, so that the India score was

 

        =             &nb= sp;            =             -31-

361 when her first innings terminated at 2-10 p.m.. This wasn’t exactly f= irst rate work, but it was undoubtedly an excellent beginning.=

 

During the remaining three hours on Saturday the Commowealth lost Gimblett early, = but Ikin and Emmett took the score to 112 and added another 109 runs during the first two hours on Sunday. Their score was 221 for 1 at lunch. The game was clearly  going against India. But it took a sudden turn after lunch, when Phadkar dismissed both Ikin and Emmett in five minutes. Worrel and Fisklock carried the score to 357. But Phadkar had another deadly spell after tea, and sent back Fishlock and Dool= and  in fifteen minuts. Worrell too was packed off- run out, thanks to a brilliant throw in by Umrigar. Seven Commonwealth wickets were down and their score was 361- exactly equal to India&#= 8217;s. The Commonwealth hadn’t quite lost their grip  on the match. But the position was decidedly very intriguing.

 

Mankad had an inspired spell on Monday morning, and took 3 wickets in 21 balls, conceding 8 runs, and thus putting anend to the Commonwealth innings in 23 minutes on 393 runs. The Commonwealth werethus ahead of India by only 32 runs. India began her second innings at 11-26 a.m. on Monday, the fourth day. There were nine hours and a quarter left for play. If = India wished to play for a de= cision and win, she must force the pace of runs. Both Merchant and Mushtaque seeme= d to have decided to do this. Merchant opened his account with a magnificent fou= r. Mushtaque cashed his strokes off Shackleton in his very first over for 2,2 = and 4. Had he stayed at the wicket  long ,the India score would have leaped across 70 in an hour. There is none the India side = to compare with Mushtaque who can combine superb artistry and run-getting. But this fellow Mushtaque is an unbridled reinless horse. In his veins run the blood of a daring Turk.. His lexicon is without the word steady. Restraint = for him is an unspiced vegetarian dish to leave untouched. In his feverish hunt= for runs and the thrill of making impossible hits he cannot remember that he mu= st lay the foundation of a huge total for his side. If only his dashing brilli= ance was seasoned with a little patience, he would have been today , one of the world’s finest run-getters.. When he had scored 38, he suddenly wante= d to have a thumping crack at the ball. He jumped out, missed the ball, and wicket-keeper Stephenson whipped off the bails. India lost her first wicket a= t 61. But these had been scored in an hour and Mushtaque had at least given a good impetus to the game. Had this pace of runs been maintained, India w= ould have scored 250 by the end of the fourth day. But Umrigar was dismissed aft= er scoring only 16, and although

        =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;     -32-

Hazare and Merchant batted in solid confident style, the scintillating tempo was g= one with Mushtaque’s departure. The runs ceased to come in a rush. They n= ow came in slow trickles. And another set back came, when Merchant, who was playing extremely well, seemed set for a hundred , was caught behind the st= umps off Shackleton for 72. This was India’s third wicket. Her score was 150. It was 8 minutes to 4. This wasn’t t= he way to win a match.

 

Hazare , who was already playing a slow game, became even more drowsy when he lost Merchant at the other end. Phadkar caught the contagion. The India s= core crawled to 197 when the day ended. The chances of the match giving a decisi= on seemed remote. Had his slowness of batting been compensated on Tueasday, Merchant would have found it possible to “declare” after an hour’s play. On the last day of the Delhi Test Hazare , with Adhikari, had hit up 89 runs in an hour, enabling Merchant to declare. Hazare was exp= ected to repeat his performance of quick batting at Madras on the last day. But a strange sluggishness caught this stalwart in its grip; and Phadkar too emulated his dull play. So lethargic and sleepy was their batting that they might  as well have played in their “pyjamas” and bedroom slippers. Hazare scored 17 runs in an hou= r; and Phadkar 14! This barren patch of impotent batting by two stalwarts couldn’t be justified onany ground; and without doubt it caused India’s failure to force a win.

 

Hazare was dismissed at 247 when his individual score was 75. After this, phadkar, Nayudu and Mankad played bright cricket. Phadkar was out after making 61. B= ut India reached 302 for 5 at lunch time , and Merchant made a declaration.

 

And then followed the most dazzling high-light of not only this Test but of the whole series so far- hectic 150 minutes in which the two great sides waged a bloody battle, the air was filled with the sound of clashing steel, and the jingle of mounting runs alternated  with the rattle of falling wickets. By declaring at 302 for 5 Mercha= nt threw out a challenge to the Commonwealth to try and win the match by making 271 runs in three hours; the challenge was taken up by Worrell and his men;= and the game developed into a grueling skirmish. Magnificent hits, brilliant fielding, sharp quick sinles, hair-breadth escapes, glorious sixes, sudden wickets- such thrills made a kaleidoscopic pattern for the passage of time.= The Commonwealth hit out. India hit back. Wickets fell. But the Commonwealth stampede for runs <= /span>

        =             &nb= sp;            =   -33-

 

Continued unhecked. The crowds feasted their eyes on the hurricane batting of Ikin, Emmett and Worrell. Ikin and Emmett plundered 100 runs in 60 minutes. India struck deadly blows and 5 wickets fell in 43 minutes from 3-32 p.m. to 4-15 p.m.. Such was the break-neck speed with which events progressed. When the Commonwealth lost their sixth wicket at 198, there were only 36 minutes of = play left, and the target 271 was still distant by 73 runs. Then the Commonwealth naturally decided to change their tactics and to play for a draw .That India couldn’t not dismiss the last four Commonwealth wickets in the 36 min= utes reflects discredit on her attack and on her powers to press home an advanta= ge. That the Commonwealth said,” Thus far and no further!” and cried halt doesn’t in any way sully the sublimity of their adventure. On the contrary, it should be a matter of pride for them that they made 225 runs without further loss and the match ended in a draw, like the Calcutta Test.=

 

But the story and reason for this draw was different. At = Calcutta the Commonwealth had aimed at = a draw and succeeded by virtue of their solid batting. At <= st1:City w:st=3D"on">Madras , on the contrary, they aimed at forcing a win, and had almost run away victorious. The draw came  in spite of their gallant bid for = a win. The draw was India’s own making-the result of her  = pace less wobbling batting. To compare with the hail-storm of the Commonwealth batting would be an insult to the latter’s glory. But a few comparati= ve figures may reveal clearly the lack of strength and speed which marked India&#= 8217;s batting in both innings. India’s first innings score moved as follows= ; 85 runs in 120 minutes( 42 per hour), 216 in 240 minutes (54 per hour) 257 in = 300 minutes(48 per hour), 361 in 450 minutes( 48 per hour).The Commonwealth fir= st innings score, on the other hand, moved as follows: 65 runs in 75 minutes( = 52 per hour), 112 in 135 minutes(50 per hour),221 in 255 minutes( 54.5 per hour),336 in 375 minutes(57.5 per hour), 393  in 460 minutes((50 per hour). The r= ate of the Commonwealth runs was never below 50 per hour, and at its peak was 57.5= per hour.. India , on the contrary , never rose higher than 54 runs per hour, and at one time slumped to 42, achieving an average of only 48. This very contrast is emphasized if we turn to some other figures. India’s first innings l= asted for 130  overs, and of these 3= 3 were maidens. That is there were 198 balls off which India batsmen couldn’t = score a run. The Commonwealth innings lasted for 126 overs, of which21 were maide= ns,. Which means there were 126 balls which the Commonwealth batsmen failed to score. India’s 361 runs were made in130 overs. This gives an average of =

        =             &nb= sp;            =              -34-

2.7 runs per over. The Commonwealth made 393 runs in 126 overs. This gives an average of 3.1 runs per over.

 

The second inning figures are even more discreditable to India. Without entering into details, I shall only observe that while the Commonwealth made the Chepauk = ground resound with boisterous run-getting at the rate of 90 per hour, India got h= er runs at the rate of 45 per hour-playing even more sluggishly than in the fi= rst innings. Her second innings lasted for 169 overs of which 36 were maidens, = and the score was 302. That is the India batsmen scored at the rate of less than 2 runs per over and wasted 216 balls without  a scoring stroke.

 

It is clear that India<= /st1:place>’s batting failed to be sufficiently strong and aggressive. Failed in spite of= the fact that  theere was nothing = wrong with the wicket.  In spite of = the fact that Ridgway was out of the picture on the last day, and Shackleton and Worrell shouldered the attack, which was thus reduced to a mere two horse-p= ower dynamo Could circumstances ever be more auspicious to a batting side which badly needed a win? And yet India’s batting totally lacked the will to punish and assault. It was miserably mod= est, exasperatingly un manly. It was an exhibition of “Zenana” crick= et, utterly unjustified by circumstances, entirely unsuited to the demands of t= he occasion. It may not be called a collapse of the type of 82 in the first innings of the Brabourne wicket. But it was a collapse all the same. Not so patent perhaps tocause public rebuke and ridicule, but most certainly one of whch wise men must be secretly ashamed. The debacle of India’s batting in this Test at Madras remains fo= r me an unaccountable mystery.

 

Apart from the indecision, however, there were many things which made this Test memorable. The second in Bomba= y remains the most important yet since it registered a decisive victory for t= he visitors. But from the point of view of thrill, which is the soul of this k= ing of games, this Madras Test must

Be described as the most eventful and enjoyable so far, and it will be long be= fore another Test surpasses it in excitement. Even apart from the thundering  Commonwealth batting in the second innings, this Test provided, for the first time in the present series, an o= rgy of runs. Five day’s play produced1084 runs in the first Test at Delhi, 951 in the second in Bo= mbay,1190 in the third at Calcutta, but 1282in this = fourth test at Madras. It was also marked by prolific partnerships, Umrigar-Hazare putting uo 173 runs, Ikin –Emmett 183, Worrell-Fishlock 118, all in the first inning= s, and

         =             &nb= sp;            =            -35-

Ikin-Emmett 102 again in the second innings. The Mankad –Alva partnership in India’s first innings didn’t reach a hundred, but it was grand

Thing to watch, since out of 68 made in 80 minutes Mankad alone hit up 52 runs in glorious style. The most spectacular batting was of course seen when Ikin a= nd Emmett, in the second innings, slashed at every ball, and 102 runs came in = 60 minutes like torrential showers. Umrigar hit four grand sixers and Ikin, Em= mett and Worrell , one each. The Chepauk crowd will not forget this match, altho= ugh it proved a draw.

 

Recollecting the pleasant features of this drawn Test from India’s point of view, Phadkar’s name comes first to one’s mind. Not because his was t= he best performance, but because he staged a come-back.. He had failed in three Tests- failed miserably for a player of his class, and his admirers were worried over his failures. Is the star going West, many people wondered. But Phadkar shone again in this Test with a hint of his old brilliance, taking 5 wickets in the first innings, and making 61 runs in thesecond. He bagged th= e 5 wickets in two deadly spurts-  in the first of which his figures were 2.3 overs, 11 runs, 2 wickets, and in t= he second, 4.3 overs, 7 runs and 3 wickets. Of course his performance can not = be ranked amongst Phadkar’s best, but it proved that his spell of ill lu= ck was over, and he was still a major force in the India side.=

 

Merchant made more runs in the second innings of this Test than in any of the previo= us Tests. Had he played faster he would have made possible for India t= o win this match. But his 72 made in 207 minutes with 7 fours, were marked by all= the charming qualities of a great Merchant knock, and proved that his bat is st= ill capable of producing a hundred. I wish he gets a hundred at Kanpur.

 

Hazare is a great favourite with me, and I am always too ready to give him a big h= and. But although he made 80 and 75 in histwo knocks at Madrad, I don’t th= ink de deserves much praise for his runs. His 80 were made in 195 minutes with 9 fours. I was sorry to see him miss his hundred. But he has himself to blame= for having missed it again in the second innings. He took 230 minutes to collec= t 75 runs, hitting only 6 boundary strokes. I can not call this a typical Hazare innings, although it has been so described in the press. It was rather a faint-hearted feminine effort. Hazare had simply no business to hand his he= ad down and defend his wicket at a time when circumstances were entirely favourable to a dashing innings, and what is even more

 

        =             &nb= sp;            =           -36-

 

important, when India badly needed a lot of quick runs. The wicket was perfectly true. Ridgway was away. The Commonwealth attack was depleted. Shackleton and Worrell were not= at all deadly. And yet Hazare indulged in a dozing spell of imbecile lethargy, scoring 17 runs in an hour! Surely this isn’t what we expect of one of the world’s best batsmen or of a Lancashire League player!. This impo= tent batting by Hazare on the last day of the match can have no explanation. And= it was doubly lamentable, since it made Hazare miss is fourth century in this series- an honour which was definitely within his easy reach- and it also m= ade his side miss victory.

 

Mankad gave an all-round performance in this Test. He held a grand catch to send b= ack Emmett of Phadkar in the first innings when he was only 4 runs short of his hundred. He took seven wickets in all. And his 52 rund in the first innings were of the best. Out of these 52 runs 50 were made in 60 minutes as a resu= lt of magnificent hits all round the wicket, reminiscent of the very “spring” of this great artist’s career when he hit the head-linesin England a= nd later in Australia in 1947-48.

 

But Umrigar outshone every one else. His work in the field was superb. It was Umrigar’s  fielding bril= liance which sent back Worrell in the first innings, run out for 71. The way Umrig= ar gathered the ball, took aim of one stick and hit it with a lightening throw= was simply dazzling. And he brought off a  spectacular catch in the second innings when Worrell was reveling in hurricane batting, and another half hour’s lease to to this Carribean ‘wonder boy’ would have decided the match against India. It was= a catch made on the boundary line with such mathematical precision of stance = and balance that it gave rise to a short-lived controversy whether Umrigar was within or out of the field when making it. It was glorious hit by Worrell. = But Umrigar’s  catch was eve= n more glorious.

 

And the chariot of Umrigar’s batting keeps thundering fron Test to Test. = He got a hundred in the first innings, and his 110 were made in 240 minutes, w= ith 12 fours and 4 sixes. All his hits over the ropes were clean and full-blood= ed, but the grandest of these was the first- a lofted straight drive right over= the sight-screen, which must have made many spectators remember the great C.K. fireworks of the good ols days. This would have been his third hundred in t= his series if he hadn’t missed  three figures by only seven runs at=

          =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;    -37-

 

Calcutta. There can’t be any two opinions that Umr= igar must be classed the soundest and the most aggressive batsman in this year’s India side.

 

Two days in this Test of the five were high lighted by vigorous bright cricket: Sunday , the third day and the two and a half hours on Tuesday, the last da= y, when  the Commonwealth made a dashing bid for victory. There wasn’t a dull moment on Sunday when a grueling fight for supremacy between the bat and the ball went on for five hours. The Commonwealth took their score from 112 to 380; and Ikin,Emmett a= nd Worrell making 110,96 and 71 respectively- played brilliant cricket. Phadkar matched this by an equally brilliant bowling performance, taking 5 wickets.= On Sunday 268 runs were made- nearly 54 per hour- and six wickets went down at the ra= te of 2 for 4 runs, 2 for 0, 1 for 4, and 1 again for 0. Such thrills packed t= he play on Sunday. But Tuesday witnessed the climax of excitement. India lost 2 wickets in making 105 runs, and the Commonwealth lost 6 wickets in making 225,. The crowds got to see 8 valiant soldiers laid, and 331 runs raised. The batsmen indulged in a  mad race for runs. The bowlers hit back. For two hours and a half a battle royal went on, and the air was filled with the sound of horses’ hoofs and the boom of guns. It was cricket at its best. India h= ad almost won this Test at the end of the fourth day. The Commonwealth had alm= ost run away victorious at tea time on the last day. Eventually both the sides failed to force a win. But it was by all means one of the most exciting and enjoyable battles on the Chepauk grounds.

 

        =             &nb= sp;          ***********************     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

        =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;     -38-

 

          =             &nb= sp;      The Fifth Unofficial Test at Kanpu= r

 

        =             &nb= sp;            =   February 8,9,10,11,12:1951

 

        =             &nb= sp;        The Commonwealth won by 77 runs.

 

        =             &nb= sp;            =           Principal scores:

 

Commonwealth  I innings ; 413 (Worrell 116, Grie= ves 99, Mankad 4 Wkts        =             &nb= sp; 

        =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;       164, Hazare 3  for 32, Phadkar 2 for 125)

 

        =   ,,        =        II innings: 266 for 6 wkts declared ( Worrell 71 notout,Ikin     

        =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;            =   63, Gaekwad 3 for 83)

 

India        =             I innings: 240 ( Umrigar 57, Dooland 4 wkts for 70,         =      

        =             &nb= sp;                     =           Ramadhin=   4 for 90, Worrel 2 for 45)

 

   

 India        =             II innings : 362( Merchant 107, Mushtaque Ali 80,        =          

        =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;          Umrigar 63, Gopinath  6= 6 not out      &nb= sp;            =

        =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;           Ramadhin 5 wkts. for 96, Worrell 3 for

        =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;            112)

 

 

(Century partnerships: India<= /st1:place> II innings: II wkt.Merchant-Umrigar 112,        =                 

        =             &nb= sp;            =             &nb= sp;            =     Mushtaque Ali –Gopinath 101)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

        =             &nb= sp;            =              -39-

The fifth and the final unofficial Test at Kanpur provide a repetition of the drama that had been staged at the fourth Test a= t Madras, with a reversal of roles, and with the last = act changed in to a tragedy for India. The game followed an almost identical pattern in  both the matches- the side taking = first knock declaring in the middle of their second innings, and throwing out a challenge, and both sided clashing in a ‘door die’ fashion, straining every nerve to wrest victory and thus packing the last phase of t= he match with daring robustness and thrill and excitement which endears cricke= t to the heart of millions. At Madras India had declared her second innings  closed at five wickets, leaving the Commonwealth to make 271 runs in three hours to win the match; at Kanpur the Commonwealth their second innings closed at 6 wickets leaving India to make= 440 runs in eight hours. The Commonwealth had almost done the trick on the Chep= auk ground. India too had = almost run away victorious at the Green Park. But at Madras= the Commonwealth, failing to force a win , had succeeded in playing for a draw, while at kanpur India fell in the ditch of defeat in attempting to scale the heights of victory. In the second innings of the fourth Test the Commonweal= th had lost six wickets, and still needed 73 runs for a win with 36 minutes of play left. In their second innings of the fifth Test India had lost six wickets, and still needed 132 runs to win with more than 120minutes of play left. India failed to = do at Kanpur what the Commonwealth had done at Madras viz. to keep the four remaining wickets in tact. The Commonwealth succeeded in doing at Kanpur what India had failed = to do at Madras viz. to dislodge the enemy’s last four wickets. The Commonwealth had made a glotious effort to win the Test at Madras with the bat, but they had failed. They won the Kanpur Test with the ball, = and with the Test the Rubber. They duly deserved this honour .India gives them a big hand.

 

It was a “Show Down” for both the combatants at Kanpur. Having lost one Test India w= as determined to go all out for a win. Merchant had said in one of his public = speeches after the fourth Test that his side would fight for a victory right from the first ball at Kanpur. The Commonwealth, on the other hand, stood nothing to lose and everything to gain by making a bold bid for victory. The fifth and final Test began there= fore in an atmosphere of tenseness. The first sensation was provided by Merchant when he decided to put Commonwealth in although he had won the toss. The controversy whether Merchant was wise or foolish to let the rivals have the first use of the wicket will take a long time to die, and those who conside= red Merchant’s

        =             &nb= sp;            =             -40-

 

decision as a blunder can now certainly point out the result of the match and say, “ Didn’t I tell you?”.&n= bsp; There can be no answer to this But my personal opinion is that Merch= ant was perfectly right in putting the Commonwealth in if thought that if the p= itch was full of wickets, instead of runs. We are now told by Duckworth that eve= n Ames had intended to put India in if he had won the to= ss. And even apart from the wisdom or folly of Merchant’s decision, I welcome= d it as a proof that Merchant, who is relentlessly orthodox in his tactics and follows the book with religious strictness both in his game and his work as= a captain, can gamble just for a change. He thought that his bowlers would ha= ve a field day, and, taking courage in both hands  said to the Commonwealth players, “ Come on, you bat on this wicket, and we shall skittle out your wick= ets and avenge our 82 on the Brabourne wicket.” Had the gamble come off, Merchant would have been today the recipient of a thousand bouquets.

 

And the gamble did seem to be coming off in the first hour of play on Thursday = the 8th February. Mankad drew first blood at 10-52, Hazare making a spectacular juggling catch in the slips which dismissed Gimblett when the Commonwealth score was only 31; and within minutes Umrigar dismissed Emmett= run out with a brilliant throw. Two Commonwealth wickets were down in an hour f= or 51runs. This was indeed a good beginning for India. If this were driven ho= me Merchant’s gamble would have proved correct. But the Green Park wicket lost it’s trickiness rapidly, and the <= st1:country-region w:st=3D"on">India attack lost its sting s= o that Ikin and Worrell took the score  to 117 at the lunch interval. And although Mankad  clean bowled Ikin soon after lunch(130-3-49) Worrell and Fishlock indulged  in a hard hitting spell. Worrell s= eemed to aim not so much at a chanceless exquisite performance as at a daring prolific innings. He received excellent assistance from the India f= ielders. He got a ‘life’ from Rajendranath at 16,then again from Gopinat= h at 47, and once more from Mankad at 75, Mankad being the bowler to suffer on a= ll these occasions. And he should have been run out by yards at 86 when

Umrigar made another magnificent throw in but His Highness the Gaekwad didn’t gather the bal and break the wicket. These fielding lapses cost India m= ore than a hundred runs. Fishlock was dismissed for 29, bur Worrell made 116 before being caught by Gaekwad off Phadkar, so that  the Commonwealth score mounted to = 240 when they lost five wickets.It was good to see Worrell get his first hundre= d in this year’s Tests. But it was by no means a typical Worrell knock. It= was in the manner of his 223 of last

        =             &nb= sp;                     =        -41-

 

year on this very ground in the fourth Test , when he had received four ‘lives’ It was a lucky innings. And  a much more dazzling performance than  last year’s. While= last year Worrell’s first hundred  had occupies 180 minutes, with 7 fours, and his second hundred 200 minutes with 6 fours, this year he hit up 116 in 142 minutes and made 17 boundary strokes. But apart from the  question of scientific faultlessness or artistic excellence Worrell seemed to be bent upon making quick runs, and each ‘life’ he received added to his daring. Watching him play one became convinced that  the Commonwealth policy was to pil= e up a huge total so they would be in a position to make an early declaration in t= he second innings. And if this was their policy no praise can be too high for Worrell’s 116.Merchant’s gamble had now completely miscarried, owing to the unexpected  and a= mazing improvement of the wicket and the audacious performance of Worrell. Ames was dismisse= d by Hazare, caught Mankad, for a bare2. But that was the last Commonwealth  wicket India could get so that at th= e end of the first day the Commonwealth score was 307 for 6. The match was slippi= ng fron India’s hands.

 

Things would have improved if India dismissed the last four Commonwealth wickets quickly on Friday, the second = day. But India failed to do this. The tail end wickets of the Commonwealth have always been  a difficult proposition = for India. In the first Test at Delhi their last four wickets had collected 98 runs in= the first innings.At Calcutta in the second innings India gave them 200 runs for the last four wickets which robbed her of victory. India exhibited the same helplessness again here at the Green Park.

 

Within 12 from the commencement on the second day Mankad clean bowled Dooland, and Shackleton also fell to Phadker, caught Gaekwad, so that the Commonwealth s= core mounted by only 11 runs for the last two more wickets; but after that Griev= es and Ridgway mastered the India bowling completely, scoring 90 runs in 60 minutes, assisted by rank bad fielding on the part of India’s fielder= s. Grieves alone collected 60 runs in the dashing loot. The only achievement of the India attack was that Grieves was not allowed to get his hundred, and the crowd w= as treated to a highly amusing comic battle between a nervous Grieves desperat= ely searching for a single run to add to his 99, and an intimidating attack try= ing to profit by his high-strung impatience. But when  at last Grieves was caught by Ramc= hand off Hazare at 99, the Commonwealth had risen to 406, and it became 413 when=

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the last wicket fell, Ridhway being caught by Rege off Hazare for 27. The Commonwealth had today collected 106 runs in 90 minutes. Their tail had wag= ged vigorously as usual, and the match had definitely gone out of India’s hands.

 

India made a disastrous start, losing both Merchant(2= 6) and Rege(15) at 42. Umrigar and Hazare raised hopes of a repetition of their gr= and partnership performance on the Brabourne wicket, and afer crossing his individual 50 Umrigar went for quick runs. But he was caught by Gimblett off Worrell at 57, and Mushtaque was caught and bowled by Tamadhin for a duck, = so that 4 India wickets were down for 140. When the day ended  India was 143, Hazare 42 , and Phadkar 1.. On a wicket where Commonwealth had made 106 runs in 90 minutes,= India had made 143 in 195 minutes, each side surrendering an identical number of wickets viz. 4. What a contrast in the manner of batting!. India&#= 8217;s dreams of winning this Test had now receded beyond the horizon. Could she a= vert a ‘follow-on’? This evidently depended on the way she batted on Saturday, the third day.

 

‘Rains Came’ on the morning of Saturday. The wicket became tricky again. Merchant must have cursed himself for having gambled. The wicket had deceiv= ed him. And now these showers like a bolt from the blue ! A Test side, Merchant must have thought, should always have a meteorologist to advise the Captain, who wins the toss, and like Hamlet muses, “ To bat or not to bat , th= at is the question.” The wicket and the weather had gone against India. = Caught on a wet turning wicket Hazare and Phadkar had to battle  for 38 long minutes to collect 20 = runs. Hazare’s 50 were round the corner now. But he failed to reach them. A ball from Worrel came up with such nasty suddenness that Hazare was rendered completely helpless, and saw himself caught by Ridgway. This was clearly the wicket’s gift to the Commonwealth. It was good to see Phadkar, who was now joined by Gopinath, decide to not to pamper the wicket any longer and to prove that attack was the best form of defense.. He scored  9 runs in one over off Dooland. In= the 8 minutes from 11-25 to 11-33 he collected 14 runs. He added 40 runs to his individual score in 60 minutes. His policy of hitting out was bearing fruit. But Gopinath was bowled by Dooland for 14, and soon after this Phadkar hims= elf was caught by Worrell off Dooland for 41. The remaining 3 wickets added onl= y 30 runs, and India’s first innings came to a

 

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close on 240. The rains had cruelly washed out all hopes of a win for India. = She had failed even to avert to’ follow on’.

 

But Ames decided o ba= t. This came as a mild surprise to the crowds. But Ames’ policy was evidently to make quick runs in the remaining 140 minutes on a wicket that was improving after having served as a slaughter-house for the = India batsmen, and to catch India o= n the last day’s crumbling wicket. So Gimblett and Ikin started hitting hard and collected 61 runs in 60 minutes. And although Gaekwad bowling in a lion-hearted fashion, dismissed Gimblett for 47, Emmett for 12, and even Ik= in for 63, and Hazare sent back Fishlock, caught Gopinath for a mere 0, the Commonwealth had succeeded in working out their time-table to their satisfaction, having lost only 4 wickets ,and scored 138 at the end of the third day. On the fourth day they lost Grieves for 19 and Ames for 17,but Worrell remained unbeaten with 71, his knock in the second innings being faultless, and marked by a charming blending of caution and aggression, so = that by lunch time their score was 266( scored in 260 minutes) for 6 wickets. Ames made the declaration, making a return gift of t= he challenge which he had received from Merchant at Madras.

 

In the fourth Test at Madras  the Commonwealth had to make = 271 runs in 180 minutes to win. Here on the Green Park India was challenged to make = 400 runs in 480 minutes  . an easi= er task than the one which the Commonwealth had gallantly tried to accomplish.= Ames’ declar= ation, more full of risk than Merchant’s, brought life and thrill to the mat= ch that was otherwise dead and cold. India was given a chance to s= natch victory which, at the end of the first innings, had gone totally beyond her reach. She could win this Test if she wanted to. Making 55 runs per hour was certainly an easier business than making 90 runs an hour which the Commonwe= alth had bravely undertaken on Chepauk wicket. Ames staked victory, putting faith in the powers of his attack. Would the India batting rise to the occasion, and ma= ke Ames curse himsel= f for having made a declaration? This was the question on the lips of twenty five thousand people who sat packed in the stands of the very picturesque Kanpur grounds. As Merchant and Rege came out to open India’s second innings a strange breathless expectant silence filled the tense atmosphere, and when Rege was clean bowled by Ridgway for 2, with India score at 3, the silence turned in= to mournful hush, and

 

 

 

 

 

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people’s hearts trembled at the thought of what lay in the womb of the future.icky wicket, and also forcing the pace of runs. But Merchant and Umrigar put up a grand stand together, facing the pace bowlers Ridgway and Shackleton, and t= he spin bowlers Ramadhin and Dooland with equal confidence, untroubled by the mischief of the tricky wicket, and also forcing the pace of runs. They took their score to 82 at tea. This wasn’t of course ideal going, since India needed runs at the rate of 55 per hour.

 

But India m= oved on with greater speed after tea. Merchant began to ply with greater confidence= and Umrigar, after crossing the 50 mark, broke loose from the shell of caution = and entered upon a swash-buckling noisy carreer, scoring at a rate of a run eve= ry minute. The pair seemed set for the day.But Umrigar fell at 4-4 p.m., caugh= t by Ridgway off Worrell for 63. The India score was now 116 for 2. This was the first three figure partnership regist= ered in this Test. There was a sadness in the thought that Umrigar didn’t = get his hundred. But his 63 was really grand work, and Umrigar had gone down fighting for his side, instead of carving his own honour, which made these = 63 admirable. With Hazare as his new partner Merchant began to hit all round t= he wicket. Soon after Umrigar’s wicket he reversed the figures of his 36 i.e. reached 63, scoring at the rate of 27 per hour. When stumps were drawn= for the day he was unbeaten with 63, Hazare&nb= sp; was 7 and Ind= ia score was 141.

 

The commencement of play on the last day was, therefore,loaded with utmost excitement. India must make 299 runs in 300 minutes without losing all her remaining 8 wicket= s. This was not impossible, even considering the condition of the wicket. The Commonwealth must dismiss 8 India wickets in 5 hours without letting India score 440. This too was= not impossible for them, although their attack was depleted by the absence of Ridgway, since the crumbling wicket was on their side. The match hung in abeautiful balance, tantalizing each of the rival sides, and suspense tugge= d at every heart in the huge crowds which filled the Green Park grounds inspite of the day being a working day.

 

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The first shock of the day came when within 16 minutes from the start Worrell c= lean bowled Hazare, afer he had added only one run to his overnight 7. Looking at Hazare walking away from the wicket, one couldn’t help wondering at t= he strange coincidence that Hazare and Umrigar  had not only frequently batted sho= ulder to shoulder in this Test series, but they had also, like true brothers, giv= en their wickets to identical bowlers. Ridgway claimed both their wickets at <= st1:City w:st=3D"on">Calcutta. It was Shackleton who dismissed both of them in both the innings at Madras. And now here at Kanpur Worrell = had dismissed both of them in both the innings. With the fall of Hazare’s wicket India still needed 295 runs to win, and had only 7 wickets up, with about 284 min= utes of play left. The scales had now slightly tilted in favour of the Commonwea= lth. But it was still within the range of possibility for India to tip the scales back = and win the match. Merchant, now joined by Mushtaque, put all the fire in him in each of his hits, and indulging in his usual cuts and drives  and lovely glides, often manifeste= d a rare confident abandon. And what an unusual&nbs= p; Mushtaque was in evidence today- subdued, quiet, wise, patient, unobtrusively giving support to merchant and scoring only 7 runs in 43 minu= tes! Merchant got his hundred at 11-20. This was the signal for which Mushtaque = had been waiting, and he celebrated it with two consecutive fours off Worrell taking the India score to 207. India<= /st1:place> now needed only 233 for victory.There were nearly 210 minutes of play left. Merchant was playing at his gorgeous best. And, what was even more thrillin= g, Mushtaque had switched to his hurricane hitting. Seven wickets were still in hand. India at this moment floated like an air-plane , touching the blue skies. She cou= ld glimpse the golden turrets and domes in the land of victory below.

 

But the plane crashed all of a sudden at 11-42 a.m. Ramadhin was brought on  by Ames for the first time on this= last day, and with his very first ball he claimed Merchant lbw with a ball that didn’t turn. Merchant’s 107 were a sterling knock, marked by al= l the qualities of perfect batsmanship, except perhaps speed. His 63 on Sunday had taken him 180 minutes, but he made his next 40 today in 65 minutes. It was a grand performance without a blemish, to be weighed in gold for the service = it rendered to the side in the most trying circumstances. It was a  typical captain’s innings in= every sense. It was a matter of genuine joy to see Merchant get the honour which = had eluded him at Bombay and Madras. But Merchant’s departure = was a definite blow to Ind= ia’s high hopes of victory. And when this was followed in three minutes by anoth= er blow by Ramadhin, who claimed Phadkar’s  wicket with

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the last ball of the same over, India simply staggered under it. What a terrific change had these fateful five minutes brought about. Where was India at 10-45 a.m. when she = had seven wickets in hand, and both Merchant and Mushtaque were merrily hitting= up quick runs, and where was she now at 10-45 when she had lost five good wick= ets, and still needed 233 runs to win! The whole majestic brilliance of  red and gold and azure had now bee= n  wiped out of India’s skies ,and the = air became thick and sad under the shadows of clouds, and a gale blew across, suggestive of a gathering storm . The prospects of a victory for India w= ere now almost blown away. The crowd only looked at Mushtaque and told themselves t= hat nothing was impossible so long as this giant was there. He possessed most certainly the magic of a wizard to turn dust to gold.

 

Mushtaque Ali did play like a wizard , getting excellent support from Gopinath. At lu= nch time Mushtaque was 46, Gopinath 14 , and India 246. We needed 194 runs= , with three hours to make them in. Merchant, Hazare, Umrigar and Phadkar were all back in the  dressing room. Bu= t it didn’t matter. Mushtaque Ali was very much there, and so was little Gopinath. If they went on collecting 64 runs per hour, India w= ould still win. On the resumption of play after lunch Mushtaque began to hit all round the wicket like a devil, crossing his individual 50,60,70,in a break = neck speed, and Gopinath too played with incredible confidence and vigour. The <= st1:country-region w:st=3D"on">India s= core was 308 when Mushtaque Ali reached his 80.Mushtaque Ali and Gopinath had out on= 101 runs in 79 minutes. Victory was only 132 runs away. Nearly 140 minutes of p= lay remained. And India<= /st1:place> had still 5 wickets in hand. She was at this moment most definitely in a winning position. Ans Ames must have secretly experienced  a graet chagrin at the thought tha= t his gamble had gone all wrong.

 

But Ramadhin again to the rescue of his side. He dealt two deadly blows to India similar to those which he had dealt before lunch when he had dismissed Merc= hant and Hazare in quick succession. He clean bowled Mushtaque Ali, and dismissed Mankad, caught Emmett , for 7. India now was 322 for 7 wickets down. The pendulum swung swiftly and decisively in favour of the Commonwealth. And when  Ramchand got run out for 0,everything was almost over. Gopinath went= on playing valiantly, and remained unbeaten with 66, but India&#= 8217;s second innings terminated on 362 a little before tea. The Commonwealth won = this Test by 77 runs, and with this match , the “Rubber.”If you ask = me, it was Ramadhin who won this match

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for the Commonwealth. He had lost his glamour in the first and the third Tests.= Our batting giants had laid him to dust But&nb= sp; he fully avenged himself at Kanpur. He got four wickets in the first innings , and 5 in the second,and, what is even more significant, he turned the tide against India every time he was put afresh by Ames. It was he who dismissed a firmly set merchant, and it was he again who sent back  Mushtaque who would have otherwise won this Test for India. Worrell with his 116 and 71 (not out) runs, and Ramadhin with his 9 wickets vanquished India on th= e Green Park grounds. Well done Worrell and Ramadhin. Well done Commonwealth. India , even in moment of defeat, knows how to give a big hand to the victor.

 

Merchant’s decision not to take first knock on a wicket that was suspect may have been= the cause of our defeat. But it is interesting to ask, would it have been possi= ble for us to do what the Commonwealth did even if we had batted first? The Commonwealth scored 413 runs in the first innings in 390 minutes, and 266 f= or 6 in 260 minutes in the second innings. The rate of their run-getting always slightly exceeded one run per minute. That is why they could establish a formidable lead of 439 runs, and Ames could make a declaration at lunch time on the fourth day. Could India h= ave done this if she had batted first? It cannot be said that she could, in vie  w of India’s poor capacity f= or quick runs ,which has been revealed with greater clearness with every Test = in this series. A defeat is after all a defeat, and there is room for the feel= ing that if Merchant had not gambled we wouldn’t have had to accept it. B= ut even if India had batted first, she wouldn’t have won this match as Commonwealth di= d. And in that case the Commonwealth would still have been the winners of the series. We lost the test not so much by Merchant’s gamble as by two o= ther things viz. our feeble batting ,and  our lamentable fielding. We lost the match not in the second innings= , but in the first . In the second innings we made 362 runs in 7 hours, that = is , at the rate of nearly 52 runs per hour .But it had taken India 328 minutes to make 240= runs in the first innings. There was  the excuse of a wet and dangerous wicket on Saturday , the third day, when India lost seven wickets and could add only 97 runs to her score in 143 minutes. = But  what excuse was  there when on the previous day India occupied the crease for 195 minutes and made only 143 runs, losing 4 wicket= s? The wicket was excellent then.The last 4 wickets of the Commonwealth had ma= de 106 runs in 90 minutes on this wicket earlier in the morning, when perhaps there was some dew on it.. The conclusion is inevitable that India b= atted feebly in the first innings and unwittingly laid the foundation of a defeat= . To add to this we gave for ‘lives’

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to Worrell, permitting him to make 116, and also fielded shabbily when Grieves= and  Ridgway took the Commonwealth= first inning score from 318 to 406. Those 77 runs by which India was at last defeated we= re not the margin by which her performance in the second innings fell short, but a hang over of her failure with the bat and the ball in the first innings. If= she had succeeded in retrieving the lost ground fully she would have won the ma= tch. That she failed to do this is a matter&nbs= p; for sadness, but not for shame. Because she went down fighting unto = the last.

 

Merchant, Mushtaque Ali, Umrigar and Gopinath were the heroes of India&#= 8217;s second inniIf she had succeeded in retrieving the lost ground fully she wou= ld have won the match. That she failed to do this is a matter  for sadness, but not for shame. Be= cause she went down fighting unto the last.

 

Merchant, Mushtaque Ali, Umrigar and Gopinath were the heroes of India’s second innings . Merchant laid the foundation of a huge total  by his 107. Umrigar’s 63 wer= e of the best- correct, dashing and most opportune. Gopinath’s  unbeaten 66, made in the most tryi= ng circumstances, were so heroic and grand that even a seasoned stalwart would= be proud of them. His debut in Test cricket was a dazzling success. India f= ound Umrigar only two years ago. She has perhaps found another budding Umrigar <= span style=3D'mso-spacerun:yes'> in Gopinath in this final Test this= year. And Mushtaque Ali’s 80 were a gem of rare brilliance, one of the many thrilling knocks on which his biographer will wax eloquent. We shall forget this defeat at Kanpur as time passes. But we shall always rember this Test as one which Mushtaque= Ali had almost won about an hour before the actual disaster.<= /p>

 

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        =             &nb= sp;            Looking  Back and Ahead.<= /p>

The visitors have lef= t our shores with a ‘Rubber’ in their bag. They  carry with them our sincere congra= tulations on their proud performance, and our very best wishes. They were a grand lot= of sportsmen to meet on and off the field, and it was a pleasure to measure our strength with them. Their visit was a sort of challenge, and we met it as b= est as we could. They were amidst us for a little over four months, and they brought the best in our cricketing stars, old and new, and also all the hospitality and enthusiasm for which our ancient land is famous. While the<= span style=3D'mso-spacerun:yes'>  Tests lasted we were perhaps too n= ear our guests to judge them dispassionately, and also too busy with the actual fight to assess correctly our own strength and weakness. But now that the visitors have departed, and the flush and the noise of the hunt for the hon= ours have died down, there comes a void, and with it a reminiscent mood which is difficult to resist- a mood to sift our recollections and reflections, to l= et our eyes linger on the foot-prints on the road we have traversed, and also = on the road we have yet to go, to look back and ahead.

 

The visit of this tou= ring side which has just concluded was the  third of its kind. The West Indies had paid us a visit in 1948-49, and the first Commonwealth side were with us in 1949-50. Although the Tests against these&= nbsp; three sides were called unofficial Tests, considering the status and standard of men included in them, the seriousness with which we battled, and the country-wide enthusiasm aroused by the tours, the fifteen Tests were as good as official Tests; and India’s doing in them constitute not only important history but also an index of her progress, if she had made any, a= nd to her future potentialities. Of these 15 Tests India won 2 . lost 4, the oth= er 9 being drawn. India did very well against the first Commonwealth side, winning the ‘Rubber’. The West Indies were a formidable outfit, containing = as it did nearly half the West Indies team that later toured and vanquished England= . And yet we had almost the final Test against them on the Brabourne wicket. Our success against the Livingstone’s side had raised the hopes that we w= ould do even better this year. But we couldn’t win a single Test and lost = two. Does this mean that this second Commonwealth side was the strongest combina= tion against which we were pitted? Or does it mean that India was stronger in 1949-50 than in 1948-49 and this teat wasn’t as stron= g as she was against the West Indies? Either = our rivals this year must

 

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have been more formid= able than those in the past two years, or our own standards must have gone below that of two years ago.

 

Each of the three vis= iting sides included some of the world’s top rank players. There were Weekes and Walcott in the West Indies side, Worrell and Tribe in the first Commonwealth side, and Worrel again with Ramadhin in this year’s Commonwealth team.Leaving aside these glamour- boys and box-office attracti= ons and speaking of the teams on the whole my impression is that the West Indies outfit was the most formidable. The bat= ting averages ( confined to the five Tests) of this year’s Commonwealth te= am are Ikin 89.28, Stephenson 76, Worrel 63.56, Dooland 50.00. Those of the la= st year’s Commonwealth were  Worrel 97.71, Pettiford 57.00, Oldfeild 54.56, Livingstone 50.13. Th= e West Indies batting averages were Weekes 111.28, Stollmeyer 68.40, Walcott 64.57, Rae 53.42. This year’s Commonwealth = side registered only 6 individual centuries, and five century partnerships in fi= ve Tests. The first Commonwealth side had registered 7 individual  centuries ( including a double cen= tury by Worrell), and 9 century partnerships. And the West Indies had registered  10 individual centuries, and 8 cent= ury partnerships ( with a record of 239 for one partnership which, I believe, is the highest during the last three years.) The highest total made in a Test = by this year’s Commonwealth team was 457; that of last year’s Commonwealth team was 608 for 8; and that of West In= dies was 631.

 

These statistics clea= rly show that so far as the batting strength is concerned the West Indies were the most aggressive and formidable combination. The bowling strength of this year’s Commonwealth side was certainly not superior to that of the two previous visiting sides.Jones of the West Indies had taken 17 wickets in the Tests with an average of 28.17 runs per wicket,= and Gomez had taken 16 wickets with an average of 28.37. In the first Commonwea= lth tour, Tribe proved devastating, taking 24 wickets with an average of 35.58 = and even Freer took 14 wickets showed an average of 33.57. Compare this with the averages of this year’s  Commonwealth bowlers. The highest number wickets in the five Tests, namely 18, were taken by Worrell and his average was 33.61. Next came Ramad= hin who took 15 wickets securing an average of 28.87. And Ridgway took 12 wicke= ts with an average of 31.08. We cannot therefore conclude that this year’= ;s Commonwealth team possessed a very superior attack.

 


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As to fielding it wou= ld be difficult to pick the best of the three touring sides. Each of the three si= des was a magnificent fielding combination, and included three or four men who = did the most amazing things. Every visiting side was miles and miles ahead of <= st1:country-region w:st=3D"on">India, = so far as fielding was concerned. And  if at all we must choose the best fielding side out of the three that visited = India, I shall vote for the West Indies. Anyway this year’s Commonwealth side  was not by any means the strongest= India had to stand up against. It had been boosted as the most formidable  side ever to visit India, but that was obviously= a publicity stunt meant to draw big crowds. Worrell is undoubtedly one of the world’s best all-rounders  to-day; and Ramadhin is a mystery man. But even with these two giant= s, this year’s Commonwealth side was not, as statistics prove, as great a side as the West Indies team. India&#= 8217;s failure to win even a single Test this year cannot therefore be explained a= way by saying that she met the most formidable foe. The reason for har failure = lies nearer home. It is an ugly unpleasant fact, but a fact proved by actual eve= nts, that India’s Test cricket has gone below the standards of 1948-49.

 

India<= span style=3D'font-size:14.0pt'> won the toss four times out of five this year. = This means that luck favored India as never before. India declared in three Tests at Delhi, Calcutta , and again at Madras. The Delhi declaration was too late to make = the end of the match keenly contested. The other two declarations held some possibilities in them, but they were nullified by the combined effect of Commonwealth’s plucky batting and India’s helpless attack= . The Commonwealth declared only in the Kanpur Test, and  won it decisively. The lowest tota= l of the Commonwealth was 227 at Ca= lcutta. India’s lowest t= otal was 82 in Bombay. ( It’s amusing to note that the Commonwealth registered their highest= as well as the lowest total-457 and 227 respectively- in the same match viz. t= he third Test at Calcutta.)

 

 India’s highest total w= as bigger than that of the Commonwealth. It was 467 for 7 declared at Calcutta. India registered a greater number of individual centuries than the Commonwealth , viz. 7 against 6. The highest individual score in an innings is also claimed  by India viz. 144 not out by Haz= are in the first Test. A greater number of three figure partnerships goes to the credit of India viz. 7 as against 5. And here again the record for the best partnership  is held by = India. Umrigar and Hazare mad= e 225 for the fourth wicket in India’s second innings at Bombay, the highest made by one Commonwealth partnership being 183 by Ikin and Emme= tt for the second

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wicket in the first i= nnings at Madras. India registered three figure partnerships in all the five Tests, while there was= no three figure partnership to the credit of&= nbsp; the Commonwealth  in two Tests viz. the third and the fifth.

 

These are flattering = figures. But only apparently. They have a hidden meaning which shows that as a side India was not as strong as her rival. Excepting the fact that India’s highest total was bigger than = that of Commonwealth, all the other figures prove that  India possessed three or four men = whose scoring capacities were greater than the leading batsmen of the visitors ( = at a much slower rate!- that cannot be overlooked!), that India had to rely too = much on them ( out of 7 three figure partnerships Umrigar and Hazare each figure= d in four!) , and that whenever they failed it spelt disaster. While the Commonwealth score used to mount up to the fall of the 9th wicke= t- occasionally the 10th!-the India score usually ended with the fa= ll of the 6th wicket/ While the last four Commonwealth wickets often showes a capacity to collect a hundred runs – and that too at a quick rate- our tail-end batsmen offered too poor a resistance to the attack. Our batting side gradually became a ‘ three or four men’  outfit. I say became, since it wasn’t so in the Delhi Test.

 

Watching India’s performance in the second innings of the Delhi Test, I got the impression t= hat our batting side  was sound up= to number 8.While  the highest to= tal of this year’s Commonwealth was 427 at Calcutta, India had scored 429 fo= r 6 wickets in the second innings at Delhi. If this performanve had gone on improving we would have, I think, won at least on e Test, if not two. But t= his did not happen. On the contrary, except for Merchant and Umrigar, who impro= ved with each Test, our batting became slower and feebler. Just compare India’s batting averages with those of the Commonwealth: Gopinath’s average is 80, Hazare’s 79.25,  Umrigar’s 62.44, Merchant’s 45.22 and Kishenchand’s 40.00.but none of the others reached even the 30 mark. There are on the oth= er hand 9 batsmen in the Commonwealth side who exceed the 30 mark.<= /span>

 

Apart from the questi= on of averages, another blemish in the Indian batting has been revealed this year= as never before. There are no two opinions that this blemish proved costly to = India.. It brought defeat in two Tests; and it also prevented them from forcing a w= in on two occasions.. I mean the blemish of slowness. The Commonwealth batsmen collected 2943 runs in the Tests, and these were mostly made at an average = rate of 52 per hour.

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They never  slumped below 50 per hour. At Madras they reach= ed the dazzling heights of more than 102 per hour. India, on the other hand , collected 2830 runs in the five Tests. Her average rate of scoring was below  the 45 mark. The most d= ashing rate was achived at Delhi, when in the sec= ond innings Hazare and Adhikari made 89 runs in 60 minutes, and again in the la= st Test at Kanpur when Mushtaque Ali, in partnership with Gopinath, made 101 runs in 79 minut= es. But these were the only two highlights of quick scoring. India’s average was bar= ely 45 runs per hour, and much too often it slumped  down to 30.. This slowness has bee= n a lamentable feature of India’s batting performance this year.

 

Add to this the indiv= idual failures of  India’s sea= soned batsmen.Mankad’s batting average is 28.17, Mushtaque Ali’s 26.7= 5; Phadkar’s 26, Adhikari’s 23.00; C.S. Nayudu’s 20.66 and Modi’s 14.00. How can we escape the conclusion that most of our old batting stalwarts are going off-colour! And excepting Gopinath who played in one Test with an average of 80.00 and Rege , who played in two Tests with an average of 21.66, there are no new batting stars on the horizon.=

 

The story of our bowl= ing is even more disappointing. Phadkar had taken 14 west Indies wickets and secur= ed an average of 29.35 runs per wicket. His performance against the first Commonwealth side was even more remarkable, when he took 21wickets at an average cost of 28.23 runs. But this great = India bowler had a humiliating season this year. He could take only 11 wickets, giving 54.45 runs per wick= et. Hazare, who had taken 10 wickets last year with an average of  35.60, took 9 wickets this year wi= th an average of 28.11. His bowling has thus neither improved nor deteriorated. B= ut what a sad picture C.S.Nayudu’s figures make! While he had taken 10 wickets last year with an average of 52.00, he could take only 5 wickets th= is year, conceding 76.60 runs per wicket.

 

Mankad still continue= s to be the mainstay of Indi= a’s attack. He had taken 17 west Indies wickets with an average of 43.76. He ha= d a poor season against the first Commonwealth, taking only 6 wickets. But he c= ame into his own again this year, taking 22 wickets with an average of 34.36. B= ut with Phadkar showing signs of wearing off, = India had to rely mostly on M= ankad. Chowdhary, who played in three Tests, got 11 wickets with an average of 29.= 18. Why the selectors persisted with Nayudu instead of replacing him with other younger spin bowlers, or why Merchant allowed long spells to

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Nayudu when he was wo= rking out the most lamentable average of 76.00 for himself ( Tribe , whose figures are the worst amongst the Commonwealth bowlers, took 8 wickets with an aver= age of 54.00) are questions beyond our comprehension. But we have to observe th= at the India bowling this tear gave the general impression that the standard of it’= ;s variety and sting and freshness were not as high as it had been last year or two years ago.

 

India<= span style=3D'font-size:14.0pt'>’s fielding continues to be slipshod and s= habby. She dropped several catches in each Test( the first innings of the Calcutta Test this year was an exception, and therefore India dismissed the second Commonwealth team for their lowest total in that innings.) And even apart f= rom dropped catches the general work of India’s players  the field showed sad lack of keenn= ess in and quickness. Excepting Umrigar and Adhikari India doesn’t have anot= her fielder to compare with Weekes, or Pettiford, or Ikin, or Emmett or Worrell= ( who are all great batsmen too.) This is another reason why our rivals can n= ot only pile up huge scores but hit them at a much quicker rate than our batsm= en. Inspite of having seen great fielders from three visiting sides at work, our players have refused to profit by the lesson. Our stalwarts like Mushtaque = Ali, Modi and even Phadkar are getting slacker in the field, even careless. ( Are they suffering from  ‘arteriosclerosis’ which comes with age?); and no younger player has been discovered in these three years who will walk into the India side on the merit of his fielding brilliance alone.

 

The resistance India o= ffered to this year’s visitors was thus of a poor quality than in the last t= wo seasons. And whatever resistance was manifest in India’s first encounter with the second Commonwealth side at = Delhi diminished with each succeeding Test. Hazare was not at Madras and Kanpur the Hazare who played in the first three Tests. Adhikari faded after the first<= span style=3D'mso-spacerun:yes'>  Test. So did Phadkar as a batsman.= In the matter of quick batting and aggressive bowling, and keen fielding the I= ndia side gave the impression of of growing more and more tired with every Test.= It is usually a touring side that is likely to become stale, since they have t= o go round the country playing match after match for four long months. But our visitors of this year gathered more freshness as the tour progressed, and a= lso a greater cohesion and balance as a team. And India seemed to  lose both cohesion and vitality as= a side. India lost two T= ests this year, not because this visiting side was more formidable than the form= er two, but India was not as strong as she was in the last two seasons. Indian Test cricket g= ives the impression of being on the down grade.

 

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This naturally makes = our hearts tremble at the thought of what will happen when India will have to play Offic= ial Tests against the M.C.C. next season. Our batting strength is depleted. Mer= chant, Hazare and Umrigar constitute the backbone of India’s batting. Quantitatively speaking this is a very adequate backbone. Qualitatively speaking Umrigar is the only man in the India side with a capacity to= make quick runs. Hazare and Merchant can make hundreds, but they suffer from a slowness which, as has been amply demonstrated during the present tour, prevents their side from reaching victory. Excepting Gopinath we have not discovered any young batsman of rare brilliance. India’s attack is likel= y to prove exceedingly feebleunless Phadkar strikes his old form. C.S.Nayudu is a fused bulb. Alva didn’t prove a success, although he was given a fair trial. Chwdhary did well, and one wonders why he was not given more Tests. = But  if Phadkar fails again in the comi= ng season India will not have one bowler who can be called really fast, and not one bowler = who can assist Mankad in the spin attack.

 

When  we won the final Test at Madras last year a= gainst the first Commonwealth side we thought that we had discovered a new wicket-keeper in Joshi. But neither Joshi , who played in two Tests this season, nor Rajendranath, who played in three, proved that India’s quest for a you= ng first-class wicket-keeper ( not to speak of a batsman wicket-keeper) was ov= er. Leave aside Walcott or Livingstone who were first class bats as well as magnificent behind the wickets, Joshi and Rajendranath cannot touch even the standard of Spooner or Stephenson, who not only kept wickets brilliantly but also achieved a batting average of 62 and 76 respectively.

 

What sort of India side will then take the field against the M..C.C. this winter? This big question should have guided the selectors throughout this present tour. But= it didn’t. They didn’t try as much as they should have to build th= e future India Test side. The only young men whom they picked up for Test cricket th= is year were Alva, Manjrekar,Ramchand and Rege. Rege proved to be a modest success. Alva failed, but should have been played in more than two Tests. <= span style=3D'mso-spacerun:yes'> Ramchand , playing in one Test fail= ed both as a batsman and a bowler. Manjrekar too couldn’t make any impression.And yet it must be said that Manjrekar was dropped from the Test side too quickly, and Ramchand was given a chance too late. Again there wer= e  a dozen young men who, by their impressive work in first class cricket, were knocking at the door, and shou= ld have received at least one chance to play in

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the Tests. A.Abraham,= Gupte, Shinglu, Jyotindra Shodhan, Deepak Shodhan, Walter Desouza, Jasu Patel, Nas= ir Ali Khan, Nyalchand, D.K.Gaekwad, Pankaj Roy, S. Das, Gadkari, Khanna,Iqbal Karan, Indrajit,Kannan, Adishesh- all these had put a good performance agai= nst this year’s visitors. At least four or five of these young men should have been given the opportunity to don the = India cap. This policy would = have paid cricket dividends .But the selectors seemed to have their eye on other dividends viz. the gate money, and so they assembled the same old bunch of acrobats to make up the circus, even in the visitor’s engagement with= the Governor’s  elevens. Apa= rt from Duckworth’s  in complaining publicly against his side  having to meet the same  India Test players even in other ma= tches, none can deny that he said what really should have been said much earlier. = Not by Duckworth perhaps, and not in the interest of the tourists perhaps, but = by some one of us whose word has weight, and in the interest of our cricket.

 

Three year’s ex= perience of the way the visits of the foreign sides were managed, and the purpose for which they were used, has given rise to&nb= sp; a country-wide dissatisfaction bordering on disgust. Fifteen Unoffic= ial Tests have been played, and not one outstanding player has been added to th= e India s= ide. Old stalwarts have played. And nearly half of them have continued to play in sp= ite of their failures. After all we did not win a single Test this year, and lo= st the ‘Rubber’. Much benefit would have accrued if this business = of losing the Rubber had been entrusted to a thoroughly overhauled and renovat= ed young India side in which not more than five old men of the old brigade were included. = We then would have lost the Tests but gained in other way, finding fresh mater= ial for building a future India side. But this was far from the thought  the Board of Control for Cricket. It’s aim was to make these visits a financial success. It flaunts it’s profits, forgetting that by their quest for ‘cash’ t= hey are only ruining the country’s cricket. They are killing the hen that lays the golden eggs. They have wanted to make hay while the sun shines, failing utterly –and purposely- to provide against the fast approachi= ng day when the sun-already clouded and dim- will set. They are managing Indian cricket in the same spirit in which film producers are standing in queues at the doors of the ‘stars’, wanting to make quick profits. Our Bo= ard of Control for Cricket is like our universities which have degenerated into factories for holding examinations and making huge profits out of them, ignoring completely their main purpose of promoting true scholarship and ta= king learning to the door step of the poor and the humble. Instead of scouting a= nd encouraging new cricketing talent in the

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country, the Board of= Control has wasted three visits of foreign sides .The Control Board has gone down to the level of  financial corpor= ation. It doesn’t control ‘cricket’ in the sense of cultivating = and promoting the nation’s cricketing capacity. It controls only ‘profits’. ”There is something rotten in the state of Denmark= !” Unless something is speedily done to remove from the Board the source of th= is stink, Indian cricket will not emerge from the present state of slump.=

 

We therefore look for= ward to the Official Tests with  the M= .C.C. which are only eight months away, with trepidation and fear. To hope to win= the ‘Rubber’ against the M.C.C would be day-dreaming. But let us ho= pe that we shall at least not lose it.

 

 My love for India’s cricket and respect for those who wear the = India cap are too deep to let= me surrender to a pessimistic mood or dark forebodings. I , therefore, like countless other people, offer sincere wishes of the very best luck to the <= st1:country-region w:st=3D"on">India s= ide which will battle with the M.C.C.. And if wishes were horses, our side may = ride triumphantly to victory. Who knows? Nothing is impossible in this great and glorious game which is cricket!

 

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