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WisdenExtra No. 5, November 2012

India v England

Time to embrace India England went 24 years without winning in Australia. But their last Test series victory in India was in 1984-85, which was 28 winters ago. And although we’re talking about only four tours to India since then – two of them lost by a single Test, one drawn – this remains England’s longest winless streak in international cricket. Actually, the most embarrassing part of that stat may be the four tours. Is it any wonder England have won just the single Test in India since the triumph of David Gower’s side when they could manage only one visit there in the 16 winters that followed? (England planned to go in 1988-89, it’s true, only for South African connections within the squad to scupper the trip on political grounds; this time, the South African connections may prove vital in a different way, but I promised myself not to dwell on KP…) The truth is that England have feared India in more ways than one: not just their cricketers, but the country itself. In the days when some still considered it acceptable for the English to patronise India, Delhi belly – that gastric amalgam of all things mysterious and eastern – captured the mood. Now, the very use of the phrase hints at an old-school narrow-mindedness. Tyers & Beach poke fun at the unreconstructed view of India later in these pages. Alastair Cook’s team will prosper only if they avoid falling into the same trap. Step forward Graeme Swann, a cricketer who rarely plays with fear or suspicion. Impertinently, this orthodox finger-spinner removed Gautam Gambhir and Rahul Dravid in his first over of Test cricket, at Chennai four years ago. Now, he needs only two wickets to overtake Jim Laker and become England’s most prolific Test offie of all. It took Laker 11

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years to claim 193, yet the two bowlers’ strike-rates are similar: no wonder, perhaps, that Swann’s sore elbow could cut short his career. Richard Gibson has the full story in our Big Hit interview. If Swann looks like England’s best bowling hope in the weeks ahead, then who on earth is going to stop Virat Kohli? Wisden India’s Anand Vasu looks at a 24-year-old who may eventually go down as an alltime great. Thirteen one-day international hundreds in 87 innings is frightening enough but – ominously for England – he is starting to work out his Test-match tempo too. If and when Sachin Tendulkar calls it a day, here surely is his successor. In one sense, Kohli embodies the new India: dynamic, fearless, occasionally combustible, endlessly fascinating. But in this edition of Wisden EXTRA, we’ve tried to capture something of the pre-boom India as well. Patrick Eagar’s lens does the job superbly, evoking a less opulent but equally captivating era. Here he chooses ten images in which the country and her people – rather than the cricket – is his focus. If time travel’s your thing, be sure not to miss out on the chance to enter our Moments in Time competition. The 2013 edition of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, our 150th, will name the ten most seminal moments or episodes in cricket history during the Wisden years (1864 onwards), and we’re inviting you to guess the list. For more details of your chance to win £100 of Bloomsbury vouchers, please visit our website. And do let us know what you think of Wisden EXTRA. Your comments really are appreciated. Lawrence Booth p10

Patrick Eagar has been photographing cricket for 50 years. In the following pages, he picks ten from the thousands of images he has taken in India – here training his viewfinder further from the action than usual.

© John Wisden & Company Limited 2012

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Wisden EXTRA • India v England

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The Big Hit

Graeme Swann is on the brink of an England record. And he could not have chosen a more appropriate country in which to break it, says Richard Gibson

India calling

Facial recognition: Graeme Swann puts everything into another off-break. Pic: Andrew Yates, AFP/ Getty Images 2

Wisden EXTRA • India v England


One sensational over is all it would take for Graeme Swann to surpass Jim Laker as the most successful offspinner England have produced. So a reprise of his first in Test cricket would do very nicely, thank you. You see, Swann needs two wickets to overtake Laker’s haul of 193 victims. And as in all good stories, he now returns for his potential fanfare to the country where it all began. That start in Chennai four years ago is one Swann will never forget, for two reasons: the dismissals of Gautam Gambhir and Rahul Dravid in the six balls he sent down just before tea on the second day – and the feeling that consumed him after Kevin Pietersen had tossed him the ball. Spend just a couple of minutes in Swann’s company, and the inherent confidence is tangible. Yet on the afternoon of December 12, 2008, he was racked by self-doubt. “I have never been one who has suffered with nerves, either pre-match or during a game,” Swann tells Wisden EXTRA. “But when I got thrown the ball I stood at the end of my mark, and the magnitude of the occasion and what was about to happen, struck home.” “I had waited my whole life for this moment. I had stuffed things up in my early tours, and used the wilderness years after that to get my game into a shape good enough for the highest level. So even though I had played for the previous 14 months in one-day internationals, it was still a unique feeling. Not to put too fine a point on it, I was shitting myself, and to get hit for four by Gambhir first ball was actually the best thing that could have happened to me – because it just got things out the way, and settled me down. ‘Right, it’s time to get him out,’ I thought.” Two balls later, Gambhir padded up fatally. And three balls after that – to general astonishment – Dravid went lbw too. It had been an epic slog to overnight success. Swann’s career has featured more twists and turns than Michael Vaughan’s average Saturday night on Strictly Come Dancing, and his straight-out-of-sixth-form attitude contributed in part to his exile both from the England squad, following his tardiness on the 1999-2000 tour of South Africa, and from Northamptonshire, his home county. In fact, his one triumph, through a decade of scrapes, was managing to mask ambition. Contrary to his image, Swann has always regarded cricket as an extremely serious business. Acting the clown was merely a self-preservation tactic: if he was not seen to be trying, how could he be judged a failure? It is said Laker was equally difficult to get to know. The comparison goes further, for the two men share virtually identical career records – each having appeared in 46 Tests. Although Laker has a far superior average (21.24 to Swann’s 29.58), the change in pace of the game over half a century has to be taken into account, and Swann’s strike-rate of 60 is marginally better. “I’ve never been a cricket badger,” says Swann. “Quite the opposite, actually. For me, statistics never tell the whole story, so I don’t tend to give them much credence. “Yes, when you get near a milestone or someone else’s personal record, comparisons are flattering. But our

records are only comparable on a piece of paper, because we played in different eras, and it would be arrogant to claim that you were as good as or better than those who went before you. He bowled in completely alien conditions to those I bowl in now.” Yet when it comes to his craft, Swann is a conformist, and something of a throwback to Laker’s era. Just as Shane Warne single-wristedly made leg-spin fashionable again in the 1990s, so Swann has shown that traditional finger-spin has a place in the 21st century. Jim Laker’s Test career... O

M

R

W

BB

Avge

5I

10M

SR

ER

2,004.3

674

4,101

193

10-53

21.24

9

3

62.31

2.04

...and Graeme Swann’s O

M

R

W

BB

Avge

5I

10M

SR

ER

1,932.2

374

5,681

192

6-65

29.58

13

2

60.38

2.93

Swann has also taken 98 wickets in one-day internationals (at an average of 26.31 and economy-rate of 4.47), and 51 in Twenty20 internationals (16.84 and 6.36).

The basic components of art, guile, flight and kidology were passed like a baton from John Emburey at Northamptonshire: Swann’s debut, in a one-day match against Worcestershire, happened to be Emburey’s last game for a first-class county. And Swann’s natural ability to turn the ball sharply marked him out as a wicket-taker from his late teens. However, he has also displayed a willingness to learn – most notably when he moved to Nottinghamshire in 2005. Leaving behind a square at Wantage Road that habitually resembled an army scramble net for the green shoots of Trent Bridge encouraged him to think about two things: bowling defensively to complement the seamers, and the differing role spinners play in first and second innings. That willingness revealed itself again earlier this year when Muttiah Muralitharan showed him a mystery delivery. Swann has already used it in an England shirt, but is naturally reluctant to discuss it: “It will be handy in Twenty20 cricket, in particular, and one-dayers. I am not telling anyone what it does, because if I did there would be no point having it. There would be no mystery.” What he will confirm is that it is “not for Test cricket”, his favourite format. “My motivation has never changed,” he explains. “I love playing Test cricket. I love being involved in this team, being the guy that can influence a win. My motivation is to be winning games for England. I want to be Man of the Match, the centre of attention. That’s what keeps driving me on.” So far that has seldom happened in 2012, a year Swann confesses has been “a little bit hit and miss” – not least because of a recurring elbow injury. “It’s worse than it was last year, and something that is chronic by its very continued overleaf Wisden EXTRA • India v England

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nature doesn’t get better: it gets worse over time.” He is resigned to managing it for the rest of his career. Unlike some, he was not disappointed by his 13 wickets in the 3–0 defeat to Pakistan in early 2012, coming as they did at 25 runs apiece, and he revelled in the heat of Colombo to claim career-best match figures of ten for 181 in victory over Sri Lanka. “I just had a very quiet summer, something which is not unusual for spinners in England,” he reflects, with a touch of resignation. “You are not always going to get things going your way when you are playing on batsman-friendly wickets. Sometimes you need the guy at the other end to make a mistake. All credit to South Africa, because they didn’t really make any.” Two significant axings took place either side of the drawn Second Test, before England went on to lose the series 2–0. Headingley’s seamer-friendly reputation duped the selectors into dropping Swann after a run of 43 consecutive appearances, and Pietersen soon followed after the texts story broke. Alastair Cook will need both to be fully focused and in prime form if he is to become the first England captain since David Gower in 1984-85 to return from India with a series win. So can the dressing-room environment return to

its state circa 2010-11, when England swept all before them? “Of course we can be a unit again,” Swann says. “You don’t have to like everyone you play with for the team to do well. But once you turn up, you have to pull together and be professional about things. “I don’t think I’ve played in many teams in which everyone gets on with everybody else. That is just the way of the world. It is like in business: you don’t always choose who you work with – you just get along. The bottom line is that the dressing-room is fine. “Pietersen is always going to be a fairly polarising character because of the way he is. But there is no reason why he cannot be part of a very successful England team, and be a very successful part of that team.” And one – he hopes – that can avoid the ignominy of a third Test series defeat in five since its zenith, at home to India, 15 months ago. “If I didn’t think we could win in India, I wouldn’t be going,” he says bluntly. “The moment I considered that we couldn’t win somewhere would be the day I retired.” Richard Gibson is a freelance cricket journalist, and ghostwriter of Graeme Swann’s autobiography The Breaks Are Off

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1 Govind was a real character. He was assigned to the England team on at least three tours, and he spoiled them rotten. He was like a dressing-room attendant, only much more than that, since he travelled round India with the players, doing all manner of jobs, from fixing boots to washing whites, as he had just done here, at Kolkata in 1993. Govind took his job very seriously, was always immaculately turned out (a sort of Alec Stewart), and was hugely popular.

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When this photo was taken the venue was called the Madras Cricket Club ground. Now known as the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium, in Chennai, it’s become a dull all-concrete affair, but in 1977 there were open sections that had huge temporary stands erected for just five days. The main purpose was to provide a shelter from the broiling sun, though in its way it was a thing of beauty. The screens at the back cast a golden light, and the forest of poles that supported a high canopy of leaves were narrow enough not to block anyone’s view. The crowds in those pre-wall-towall-television days were predominantly a middle-class lot.

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From the Archive

Wisden 1986

In 1984-85, England had to cope with the aftermath of two political assassinations before leaving India with a hard-earned 2–1 series victory. John Thicknesse tells the story

When cricket mattered lots... and not at all England got more than they bargained for on their tour of India, and it was much to their credit that they became the first team from any country to win a series there coming from behind. Within a few hours of their arrival in New Delhi, in the early morning of Wednesday, October 31, they were awoken with the news of the assassination of Mrs Gandhi, the Indian prime minister. The memory of this was still fresh when, on the eve of the First Test, less than four weeks later, the British deputy high commissioner, Mr Percy Norris, a cricket-lover who had entertained the touring party at a reception in his home the previous evening, was shot dead as he was being driven to his Bombay office. Both outrages took place within a mile or two of where the team were staying. In political and world terms, Mrs Gandhi’s assassination of course had the greater impact, and for 72 hours India’s capital city, while safe for those content to obey High Commission advice to stay close to their hotel, was an uneasy place to be. Happily, thanks to a generous gesture from the Sri Lankan Cricket Board, and the sympathetic co-operation of that country’s president, who had flown to New Delhi for the funeral and invited the team to share his plane on the return journey, they found sanctuary in Colombo. There, for the next nine days, they found opportunities for play and practice which would have been impossible in India during the period of official mourning. Mr Norris’s murder affected them more personally, and with a Test due to start next day they felt under threat themselves. Had the decision been left to the team, or more particularly to a majority of the representatives of the British press, there is little doubt they would have taken the first available flight home. But as in Delhi, Tony Brown, the England manager, 6

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retained his sense of perspective, took advice from all relevant bodies, including the Foreign Office, and after consultation with the Test and County Cricket Board at Lord’s, decided the best course was to stay and play. The decision had its dangers, based as it was on an educated guess that there was no connection between the timing of the murder and the team’s presence in Bombay, but in the event there were no alarms during the Test; nor indeed any further political troubles on the tour. Nevertheless, to safeguard the team, the itinerary was revised to postpone until near the end their appearance in the north of India, where because of the large Sikh population there was continuing unrest. Armed guards and escorts also became such a feature of the tour that before long they were hardly noticed. The fixture against North Zone, which was due to have been played at Jammu, was switched to the Wankhede Stadium, Bombay, between the First and Second Tests. With Kapil Dev resting from the North Zone team, it was predictable that spectators for that game would be numbered in hundreds; but the smallness of the crowds was generally a disappointing feature of the tour. Only for the one-day internationals, and an abortive Test in Calcutta, were Ground Full signs in use. England had already been badly beaten by India’s Under-25 XI – their first sight of Laxman Sivaramakrishnan and Mohammad Azharuddin – when they started the series disastrously, losing the First Test by eight wickets despite Mike Gatting’s long-awaited maiden Test hundred. Siva, still 18 at that stage and playing his first home Test, took 12 for 181 with legbreaks and googlies and, in what was to prove his last Test, Swaroop Kishen had an unsatisfactory match as umpire. It all looked depressingly familiar to those who


had been on Keith Fletcher’s tour three years before, and it was tempting to write off England’s chances there and then. However, the expected sequence of dull draws on soul-destroying pitches did not follow. The Second Test, in Delhi, where Tim Robinson scored 160 impressively in eight and three-quarter hours, was snatched by England’s spinners, Phil Edmonds and Pat Pocock, when India succumbed to the pressure of relentless accuracy on the final afternoon; and a month later the series was decided by an exceptional display in the Fourth Test, in Madras. England, losing the toss, were in charge within an hour of the start of the Madras match when Neil Foster and Norman Cowans shared three wickets. Foster, playing his first Test of the series, took six for 104 (his match figures were 11 for 163) to bowl India out for 272, and then Graeme Fowler and Gatting thrust home the advantage by becoming the first pair of England batsmen to score 200 in the same Test. It was necessary to go back to the sixth Test at Sydney in 1978-79 to find the last occasion when England controlled a Test abroad so surely. They won by nine wickets in the final session, a splendid and uplifting match for Peter May to watch on his first overseas trip as the chairman of selectors. When the Kanpur Test was drawn, England had won a winter series for the first time for six years, and also, by 4–1, the one-day internationals. Creditably as they performed, however, they owed a lot to India’s shortcomings. Sunil Gavaskar’s lack of form – 140 runs compared to 500 against Fletcher’s team – was probably the biggest factor in the turnabout: having got his 30th Test hundred behind him, against West Indies 12 months before, and so passed Sir Donald Bradman’s record, he seemed short of motivation. Following a quarrel about division of prize money, there were signs, too, of disharmony within his team, of which a foolhardy stroke by Kapil Dev, helping England win the Delhi Test, and his subsequent dropping were symptomatic. The minimum 80-overs-a-day playing condition cut out the petty time-wasting that had marred Fletcher’s tour, while the emergence of a topclass umpire in V. K. Ramaswamy in the last two Tests was a relief to all concerned. Leadership did not seem to come naturally to David Gower. However, he developed a good team spirit and it was an advantage for him that Gatting, his vicecaptain, and Edmonds, another forceful character, had the self-confidence and drive to influence matters on the field, their stature bolstered by personal success. Gatting, coming into his own at last, fell only 19 runs short of K. F. Barrington’s record Test aggregate for England in India, while Edmonds bowled well throughout the tour, despite being at sixes and sevens with his run-up. (His Test average of 41.71 was a travesty of justice.) Robinson, Fowler and Foster were the other main successes, and it was not until the team reached Australia and went badly off the boil, losing all three matches in the so-called World Championship of Cricket, that Ian Botham’s absence was an obvious disadvantage.

Ah, I do like this one. Just look at the formality of it all – the white tablecloths and matching teapots and cups! For a cricket tea! This was taken at the Bombay Gymkhana, one of the most exclusive sports clubs in India, in November 1984. At the time, it was a men-only preserve but, like another establishment with a long waiting list, they moved with the times, and women can now join. In fact there’s even been a women’s one-day international staged here. I can’t remember who was playing when I turned up between Tests, whizzing round the city looking for a game to photograph, but I do recall the pitch was a good one.

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Wisden EXTRA • India v England

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Anand Vasu profiles Virat Kohli, the most exciting property in world batting

Lighting up the way ahead

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If imitation really is the sincerest flattery, it’s a miracle that Virat Kohli still fits into the helmet he used when he first played for India a little over four years ago. At 24, Kohli is still a stripling, but the fact that he has already inspired several copycats, at least one of whom has gone on to play first-class cricket and lead his country to an Under-19 World Cup title, shows how far he has come. It doesn’t seem too long ago that Kohli himself was India’s Under-19 captain, and naive enough to post some rather forgettable remarks on Orkut, the social-networking website popular in India. And it doesn’t feel like a lifetime away that Kohli exited the Indian team at least as quickly as he had entered it, faulted for letting the trappings of success get to him. But if Kohli has shown one thing, it is the ability to adapt and learn; above all, he has demonstrated a keen knowledge of his place in the scheme of things. It’s no surprise that he has already played 90 one-day internationals and ten Tests, and is a fixture in both teams. And it’s no surprise that, to someone like Unmukt Chand, he can do no wrong. Chand led India to glory in the recent Under-19 World Cup in Australia, and to look at him – on or off the field – is to wind the clock back and meet a young Kohli. There’s the half-centimetre designer stubble, the hair carefully gelled to spikiness in just the right places, the rasping slash on tiptoes over extra cover, and the falling hook shot. “I look up to Virat for inspiration,” says Chand, his Delhi team-mate. “He is a role model for all young cricketers. He has shown us that we all can work hard and move up the grade. From being an Under-19 World Cup captain to becoming India vice-captain, he has been phenomenal. “Just after Virat scored that brilliant hundred at Hobart against Sri Lanka [133* off 86 balls in the CB Series in February], I called him up to know about certain aspects of my batting. I was getting out for 30s and 40s and was really worried. So I asked Virat what exactly should I do? Is it mental thing that I need to sort out? Virat told me I should plan for the next ball rather than looking too far ahead.” If it seems a bit odd that Chand, who at Delhi has also played alongside Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, would instead call Kohli for advice, that’s because of the unique position Kohli finds himself in. He is not merely the future of Indian cricket, but a bridge to its past, a symbol of continuity in a team in transition. When Kohli took his baby steps in international cricket, it was understandable that he spent a lot of time with a friend in the team. That person was Yuvraj Singh, who was not dissimilar to Kohli. Yuvraj, too, had entered the team via the Under-19 route; like Kohli, he had become an instant success in the marketplace; most importantly, he had also

found that success trickier to deal with than failure. “If I had the same work ethic and understanding of things as Kohli when I first played for India, things might have been different for me,” admitted Yuvraj. “To see the manner in which Virat has taken to the game is just phenomenal.” But while Yuvraj was Kohli’s sounding board initially, it was not long before Kohli overtook his one-time mentor. While Yuvraj struggled to come to terms with Test cricket, Kohli has settled in nicely. And as he grew into his own man, Kohli ensured he was not seen to be a part of any clique. Although from Delhi, he was not closeted in the company of Sehwag and Gambhir. Despite being part of the youngest generation of currently active cricketers, he did not hang out only with Suresh Raina and friends. And while he had the ear of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, it was Sachin Tendulkar with whom he was most associated. In March this year, Kohli wrote a letter to Tendulkar, who had finally scored his 100th international century, and held little back. “You have a million fans and I am one of them,” he began. “In fact, I started playing cricket because of you. Simply watching you play motivated me. People crave to shake hands with you, get your autograph, have a picture clicked, and here I am, so lucky to be sharing a dressing-room with you. “To get to know you personally has been a huge honour. I have never said this to you, but I actually connect with you very easily. I feel comfortable and reassured when I speak to you about my game and, invariably, you tell me what I am actually thinking. I consider it an honour to be on the same page with you.” The last two years have been good to Kohli. In 2011, he scored more runs in one-day internationals (1,381) than anyone. Two months ago, he was named the ICC’s One-Day Cricketer of the Year. Kohli was also appointed Indian vice-captain, a clear indication that the selectors believed he had gone past more senior cricketers in the long-term race for the No. 1 job. Already, Kohli – who has the highest contract the BCCI can offer – is on top of the popularity charts. He endorses more brands than established stars such as Dhoni and Tendulkar, and does so with a light touch. The future is bright, and Kohli is not shy. He knows he was born to play this game, and understands the power this bestows in a cricketcrazy country. This combination of talent and cultivated self-awareness is as scary as it is unique for someone so young. Kohli, though, knows no fear, is nearing the peak of the game, and getting better each day. What can possibly stop him? Anand Vasu is managing editor of Wisden India and tweets at @anandvasu Wisden EXTRA • India v England

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This is what cricket in India is all about: Azad Maidan in the heart of Mumbai has innumerable games merging and overlapping so that square leg in one bumps into cover in another. The formality of the Bombay Gymkhana is also situated on the maidan, yet it’s a world apart. That said, games at both can be taken pretty seriously, and you can see quite a few wearing whites. I don’t suppose the Gymkhana often had a cow at third man, though.

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Sport and television are as intertwined as politics and money, but it wasn’t always that way. In his new book for Wisden Sports Writing, Martin Kelner follows the relationship from first embrace. Here he recounts county cricket’s tentative steps towards a format quickly lapped up by television

One-day, and not before time... For the terminally ill county game, its life support system came courtesy of a young county secretary trying to save his club from financial ruin. Unlike the rest of the nation, in the spring of 1962, Mike Turner was not worrying about the Cuban missile crisis, or queuing up to see John Wayne and James Stewart in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, but burning the midnight oil in his office at Grace Road, Leicester, scratching his head over the balance sheet of his county, Leicestershire, trying to calculate how long the club could survive. He reckoned that if all went exceptionally well, the county he had just taken over might just have about five years of life left. The “creeping paralysis” Neville Cardus had [in 1953] spotted in the county game had spread to all areas. It was dying on its feet. The format of the County Championship had been little changed since 1890 and excited almost nobody. Seventeen teams played between 28 and 32 fixtures, all three-day games, producing the county champions in late August or early September. Turner’s eureka moment came when he examined that season’s fixtures, and noticed there were three days in May when neither Leicestershire nor neighbouring counties Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, or Derbyshire were playing. “I had a word with the chairman of the club, and we agreed it would be a really good idea to play a regional knockout tournament that weekend. So I phoned round all the secretaries, we agreed a format, and the Midland Counties Knockout Cup was born.” The tournament¸ involving one-day games with a novel limited-overs format, was an instant success – “Champagne Cricket” was the headline over the Leicester Mercury’s report of Northamptonshire’s triumph in the inaugural competition. It was an idea whose time had come – frankly, it had probably come several years before – and by November 1962, contracts 12

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were being signed for a national 65-over knockout tournament the following summer, which mutated into the Gillette Cup. The BBC got involved, and it delivered healthy audiences. In fact, so popular was it that Peter Dimmock [a pioneering sports broadcaster at the BBC] suggested – not with a huge degree of confidence – that it might be worth trying to sell it to the United States. The number of overs per side was soon cut down to 60 in the interests of everyone getting home before midnight, and two memorable matches established the competition as a firm favourite: Yorkshire’s victory over Surrey in the 1965 final, featuring an innings in which Geoffrey Boycott shed all his inhibitions to score 146, and the remarkable semi-final between Lancashire and Gloucestershire at Old Trafford on 28 July 1971 which, long before floodlights on cricket grounds, went on until almost 9pm. “It’s my view that it was that match that put oneday cricket on the map,” says David Lloyd, Lancashire’s opening batsman of that evening. “I vividly remember the ground being packed, with kids right up to the boundary rope. I think there were 24,000 in there, and in the gathering gloom David Hughes scored 24 in one over to put the teams level. There were kids running all over the place, and we had to wait while they were all ushered back behind the rope to score the winning run.” Lloyd says that when he raised the problem of the fading light with the umpire Arthur Jepson, the official pointed to the sky, and asked, “What’s that up there?” The baffled batsman replied, “The moon”, to which Jepson responded, “Well, how far do you want to see, then?” Nick Hunter, one of the BBC’s producers that evening, remembers Points of View, the programme scheduled for 8.50pm, being dropped after telephone calls from the scanner van, while another producer, Jonathan Martin, later the BBC’s Head of Sport, had a more fevered conversation about the possibility of the


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You might struggle to identify who’s doing the scoring for England in this 1993 photograph. It’s Monica Reeve. The official scorer, Clem Driver of Essex, had been taken ill during the First Test and flown home, so Dermot Reeve’s mum took over. We were at Visakhapatnam, a naval base on the east coast, for a game between the Rest of India and an England XI, and the England wickets were falling rather too quickly for comfort. For some reason there was no board for Ian Salisbury, and the sign-painters set to work in a tearing hurry – so much so that they forgot his “I”.

nine o’clock news being delayed. “We’ve got to go to the news now,” he was told. ‘This is the fucking news,” he replied. As it turned out the winning run was scored, as darkness descended, in the nick of time. Hunter recalls that when it was all over, both he and the commentator, Jim Laker, were bursting for a pee. “The pair of us made a desperate dash for the loo when it finished and if anybody got in our way, then God help them. It was pitch black, and I thought, ‘ten minutes ago people were still playing cricket’. It was unbelievable.” “We got letters at Lancashire from irate wives,” said David Lloyd. “They said their husbands had rolled in last thing at night claiming to have been at a cricket match, asking us to confirm this was true.”

My brother, who would have been 12 at the time, went to the match, and I remember him coming home singing “Lancashire la la la, Lancashire la la la la”, to the tune of the theme from the TV show The Banana Splits, which must have been the first time exultant footballstyle chants had taken hold at cricket grounds. Another favourite was “Ooh Lanky Lanky; Lanky, Lanky, Lanky, Lanky, Lankysheer”, adapted from Chicory Tip’s hit song, “Son of My Father”. Cricket had truly joined the modern age. Martin Kelner is the author of Sit Down and Cheer, A History of Sport on TV, and writes the Screen Break column for The Guardian Wisden EXTRA • India v England

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The Grand in Kolkata really was one of the best hotels in the world. In 1977, both the India and England teams stayed here, just a short walk from Eden Gardens – not that they’d be able to go anywhere on foot… This was the sight that greeted the players as they left for the Test each day. There’s a real Indian-morning feel to the photo: the hazy light slanting in, the curious faces, the busyness of the streets, even a hint of the din. I think it was the England cricketers who were about to emerge – Tony Greig, who hit the only century of the match and led his team to a ten-wicket victory, had become quite a personality.

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Wisden EXTRA • India v England

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Benedict Bermange rustles up the statistical highlights at the four grounds where India and England will do battle in the weeks ahead

Kapil’s world record, Shastri’s sixes – and a sellout at Eden Gardens way to the fastest-ever first-class double-century, from 123 balls, in January 1985. India defended a target of 107 against Australia in In November 1983, in the first Test at the Gujarat November 2004. After Michael Clarke had taken six for Stadium, Kapil Dev took nine for 83 in West Indies’ second innings – still the best Test figures against them. nine, Harbhajan Singh claimed five for 29 to bundle the More than ten years later, at the same venue against Sri Aussies out for 93. Only two sides have ever defended a smaller fourth-innings target: Australia at The Oval in Lanka, Kapil would go past Richard Hadlee’s world 1882, when England were set 85 and bowled out for 77; record of 431 Test wickets. and West Indies at Port-of-Spain in 1999-2000, when On 7 March 1987, Sunil Gavaskar late-cut Pakistan Zimbabwe were skittled for 63, chasing 99. off-spinner Ijaz Faqih through the slips for a single – a Five players have made their Test debuts and played “delectable” stroke, said Wisden – to become the first their 100th Tests at the same ground. Four have done player to score 10,000 Test runs. so at home, but West Indian Carl Hooper did so at the Six South Africans were dismissed for ducks in their second innings in November 1996, which equalled Wankhede. Twelve different players scored fifties in the the Test record (there are only two other instances). November 2011 Test here between India and West Chasing 170 to win, they crumbled to 105 all out. Mahela Jayawardene’s innings of 275 for Sri Lanka in Indies – a record for a Test involving India, and one November 2009 is the highest individual score against short of the overall record, set in the timeless Test at Durban in 1938-39. India in India. His partnership of 351 with namesake Prasanna is the Test record for the sixth wicket. • I ndia’s record: P22 W9 L6 D7 Only one of the 11 captains to win the toss in Tests •E  ngland’s record: P6 W2 L3 D1 (the scene, in March here has chosen to field: Kapil Dev, in 1983-84, when 2006, of England’s only win in India since 1984-85) West Indies were reduced to 27 for three in the first Test played there. But they recovered to score 281 – and win Kolkata by 138 runs. The India v Pakistan Test at Eden Gardens in February • India’s record: P11 W3 L2 D6 1999 had an estimated attendance of 465,000 over the • England’s record: P1 D1 (Craig White made his only Test five days – the highest for any Test. century here, in December 2001) Inspired by VVS Laxman’s 281, India beat Australia here in 2000-01 after following on – only the third such Mumbai (Wankhede) instance in Test history. In that Test, Harbhajan Singh took the first Test In the Golden Jubilee Test at the Wankhede Stadium in hat-trick by an Indian bowler, while Adam Gilchrist February 1980, Ian Botham became the only player to is believed to have become the first Australian to be score a century and take 13 wickets in a Test. Playing for Bombay against Baroda, Ravi Shastri hit continued overleaf six sixes in an over off left-arm spinner Tilak Raj on his

Ahmedabad

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dismissed for a king pair. Ryan Harris emulated him against England at Adelaide in 2010-11. The West Indies scored 463 in their second innings in November 2011, yet still lost by an innings. It is the highest Test total in an innings defeat. • India’s record: P37 W10 L8 D19 • England’s record: P9 W1 L3 D5 (their only win here came in 1976-77, when captain Tony Greig made a century in a ten-wicket victory)

Nagpur (Jamtha) Australian Jason Krejza made his Test debut at Nagpur in 2008, taking eight for 215 in India’s first innings – the most expensive eight-wicket haul in Test history. He also conceded 358 runs in the match, second only to Jamaican leg-spinner Tommy Scott’s concession of 374 for West Indies against England in a timeless Test in Kingston in 1929-30. But Krejza did take 12 wickets in the match – a

number surpassed by only two Test debutants: Bob Massie (16 for 137 for Australia against England at Lord’s in 1972) and Narendra Hirwani (16 for 136 for India against West Indies at Madras in 1987-88). Krejza has won only one Test cap since. Hashim Amla’s unbeaten innings of 253 in February 2010 is the highest by a South African against India. Amla’s third-wicket partnership of 340 with Jacques Kallis in that match is a South African record for any wicket against India. • India’s record: P3 W2 L1 • England’s record: England’s only taste of Test cricket in Nagpur came at the old Vidarbha Cricket Association Ground in 2005-06, when Alastair Cook made 60 and 104* on Test debut in the last of the nine Tests played there. Benedict Bermange is the cricket statistician for Sky Sports

I’ve not been to India for around 15 years, and in that time India has become a powerhouse of the world economy. There’s always been a can-do attitude there, even if things were sometimes left to the last minute. This is Kolkata again, the day before the 1993 Test, and an early version of the rotating-triangular-strut sightscreen is getting a lick of white paint on the side that doesn’t have advertising. It could well have been wet when play started, so the person whose job it was to turn the handle and change the screen would have had to be careful.

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England v India 1

Who scored India’s first Test century, against England in Bombay in December 1933?

2 3

When India toured in 1946, their captain had previously played for England. Who was he?

4

Which journalist and broadcaster was put on standby to play for England when several players fell ill during the 1963-64 tour of India?

5

Who scored a double-century against India in only his second match, at Edgbaston in 1974, but never reached 50 in the rest of his Test career?

At Headingley in 1952, India crashed to nought for four, a unique scoreline in Test history. Which bowler, making his debut, took three of those wickets?

QUIZ

By Steven Lynch Answers on page 22

6

Why was the rest day in the India–England Test at Bombay in February 1980 brought forward?

7 8

What feat – unique in first-class cricket – did Graham Gooch achieve at Lord’s in 1990?

9

Who made his maiden century in his 118th Test match, at The Oval in 2007?

10

Which Indian batsman carried his bat in the 2011 Oval Test?

Who hit four successive sixes to avert the follow-on at Lord’s in 1990?

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From the Archive

Wisden 1953

After 24 attempts spanning almost 20 years, India finally won their first Test to secure a series draw against Nigel Howard’s Englishmen

A young nation flexes its sporting muscle Scorecard:click here

India v England, Fifth Test, at Madras (Chennai), February 6, 8–10, 1952. India won by an innings and eight runs. Toss: England. India made history by recording their first Test victory, and they did it in emphatic style. Undoubtedly India were the superior all-round side, and they went all out for success from the first ball. Their hero was Mankad, who bowled superbly in each innings, taking 12 wickets in the match for 108. His performance of eight for 55 in the first innings has seldom been bettered in Test cricket when it is considered that the pitch gave him little assistance. Mankad’s bowling inspired the whole side, the fielding being far better than in previous matches and the batting possessed a more adventurous spirit, necessary for the occasion. England disappointed badly. There was no real reason for the batting collapse in the first innings which virtually decided the match. Hopes that they could stage one of their renowned recoveries were dashed when the pitch turned difficult after the third day. Yet again India made five changes from their previous side. Manjrekar, Nayudu, Shinde, Joshi and Adhikari stood down for Mushtaq Ali, Amarnath, Gopinath, Divecha and Sen. As originally chosen the side included Adhikari and omitted Umrigar, but a wrist injury due to a fall gave Umrigar another opportunity which he seized splendidly. Carr led England for the first time, Howard standing down with pleurisy, this being the one change from the Kanpur side. Carr won the toss, giving England a 3–2 advantage in the series, but they were soon in difficulties, Lowson being bowled by a splendid break-back with three scored. Spooner and Graveney looked like bringing about a recovery, but the advent of Mankad at 65 changed the course of the match. Two or three times Mankad almost lured Graveney out of his ground before the batsman could resist no longer and moved forward 18

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to a ball well on the off and was stumped. Spooner and Robertson added 60 for the next stand, but again just when England looked to be getting themselves out of trouble a wicket fell, Spooner, who stayed two hours 50 minutes, being caught at cover off Hazare’s second ball. For a change, Watkins failed and Poole was never comfortable. With half the side out for 197 only two recognised batsmen, Robertson and Carr, remained. They made a good effort with a partnership of 47 before Robertson was brilliantly caught and bowled after a stay of four and a half hours. Mankad followed this by taking the last four wickets which fell for 22, three of them stumped when lured forward by the flight. During the afternoon the death of King George VI was announced and arrangements were changed, the second day being made the rest day. Subsequently India batted consistently, with Roy again in fine form. Fourth out at 191, he scored his second century of the series and hit 15 fours in 111, made in three hours 50 minutes. India really took control after the fall of the fifth wicket, Phadkar and Umrigar adding 104 and Umrigar and Gopinath 93 in 80 minutes. Umrigar took out his bat for 130 after four hours 35 minutes, a splendid effort following a run of disappointing scores in the Tests. England, 191 behind, survived the last quarter of an hour on the third day, but with the pitch wearing they were soon struggling next day. Robertson again batted well and made top score for the second time, Watkins showed he was still full of fight, but they were almost alone in their resistance, and the match ended before tea on the fourth day. The scenes at the finish were surprisingly subdued, but the Indian officials and players were delighted at the first victory by their country at the 25th attempt to win a Test match.


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The grandfather of Indian cricket photography was K. Narayanchari, better known simply as Chari. He was a great friend, and on the wall behind my desk there’s a picture of him perched on a tree platform at Eden Gardens during the 1952 India v Pakistan Test. It was tricky to get hold of the right equipment way back then, and there was a decent market for the lenses that had seen service in World War Two reconnaissance planes. (The best ones were made by Carl Zeiss and came from the German aircraft.) Then it was up to you how you cobbled together the lens and the camera body… This picture dates from 1977, when he was chief photographer at The Hindu. It could still be difficult to get hold of the right film in those days, and anyone going out from England would be asked to take a tin or two of bulk film for Chari. Here he’s using a well-worn Nikon F and a Novoflex lens. We’ve moved on a bit since then. He died in 2008, aged 85.

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England have come to regard a tour of India as their final frontier. Crispin Andrews reports on their efforts to give themselves the best chance of ending the drought

In search of the magic formula If Kevin Pietersen hadn’t batted like Viv Richards in Colombo in April, England’s Test record in Asia in 2012 ahead of the India series would probably read: played five, lost five. Their struggles have not been confined to the fiveday format. In October 2011, they lost five one-day internationals in India. And in September’s World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka, England were again found wanting, particularly against top-quality spin; only Afghanistan and New Zealand were seen off. So should we expect more of the same this time, or can Alastair Cook’s men learn from previous England teams who have prospered on the subcontinent? Believe it or not, there have been a couple. Nasser Hussain’s side beat Pakistan and Sri Lanka in 2000-01, despite coming up against the likes of Mushtaq Ahmed, Saqlain Mushtaq and Muttiah Muralitharan. The fabled spin quartet of Bedi, Chandrasekhar, Venkat and Prasanna were in the Indian team beaten 3–1 by Tony Greig’s England in 1976-77. And in 1984-85, legspinner Laxman Sivaramakrishnan took 12 wickets to help India win the First Test at Bombay, before David Gower’s side came back to win 2–1. This time England will be up against Ravichandran Ashwin’s off-breaks and the slow left-arm of Pragyan Ojha – both still relatively inexperienced at international level, but carving out impressive records. None of these England sides was close to being the best in the world. Gower’s and Greig’s had come off hidings, from West Indies. Hussain’s would soon get one, courtesy of Australia. But they did have one advantage over more recent tourists. And it is an advantage the ECB hope to have tapped into this time. “Three three-day warm-up games before the First Test gave us time to get used to playing in unfamiliar conditions,” says Neil Foster, the Essex fast bowler who toured in 1984-85. Gower’s team didn’t actually win any of their warm-ups, but Mike Gatting, Tim Robinson and Graeme Fowler – who all scored heavily in the Test 20

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series – made runs. And Richard Ellison, Pat Pocock and Phil Edmonds, whose bowling helped England win the Second Test, all got overs under their belt. Going back to the 1976-77 warm-ups, and Mike Brearley, Alan Knott, Keith Fletcher, Greig and Chris Old each scored hundreds. Peter Lever, on his first tour, took 13 wickets, and Derek Underwood bowled 93 overs. England won the first three Tests. This year, England arrived in India on October 29 after a three-day training camp at the ICC Global Cricket Academy in Dubai, and started the first of three warm-ups the next day. In Dubai, earlier in 2012, England had played only a couple of lowkey preparation games, and had just a few days to acclimatise before their Test series against Pakistan. They lost 3–0. “You need enough time for hard practice, in tough conditions,” says Graham Thorpe, the ECB’s lead batting coach and a key member of Hussain’s successful side who famously hit only one four en route to a Test century at Lahore. “In India, first-innings practice – when the ball skids on – is not the same as second-innings practice on fourth- and fifth-day turners. When a player goes out in that First Test, they need to know their method, their footwork, and what their shot options are at different stages of the game. On the 2000-01 tour of Pakistan, our roughed-up net surfaces turned so much that it was harder playing the local net bowlers than it was playing Saqlain and Mushtaq in the Tests.” Broad, Swann and the other Test players involved in the World Twenty20 took two weeks off before jetting out to Dubai for the training camp. Ahead of the trip to the UAE earlier this year, though, these players would have been going into a Test series without any first-class cricket for two months. While his team-mates were losing in Sri Lanka, Ian Bell had some batting sessions with Graham Thorpe at the ECB National Performance Centre in


Loughborough. There, players have access to Merlyn, a bowling machine that simulates different bowling styles, and a specially designed indoor artificial pitch that offers real turn thanks to twisted and longer-than-average pile. But however much coaches turn up the heating, indoor practice in England is no substitute for the real thing. “Tests start at nine in India, so you have to adjust your body clock and your pre-match routine,” says Bell. “You’re up at 6.30 and in the nets for seven. In England you can have a lie-in until eight.” For English seam bowlers too, India can be a daunting place: slow pitches, with little bounce or sideways movement, and a ball that loses its shine and seam very quickly on the abrasive wickets and outfields. Reverse-swing is sure to come into play. According to the ECB bowling coach, Kevin Shine, who will be in India with the England Performance squad during the Tests and Twenty20s, English bowlers can be successful on Indian pitches with a slight adjustment in mindset and strategy. “Once the ball has lost its hardness you have to sit in for long periods with maybe one slip and a ring field,

try and dry up their scoring,” he says. “Indian batsmen hit the ball in different places, particularly backward of square on both sides of the wicket, so a conventional English field can be pierced easily.” England’s leading wicket-takers on their last two victorious India tours troubled the home batsmen with conventional swing. “They tend to play from the crease and let the ball come to them, so you could get a bit fuller and be a threat,” says Neil Foster, who took 14 wickets in two games for Gower’s team. John Lever, who managed 26 on Greig’s tour, adds: “It swung more than we expected, but we still had to be patient and bowl lots of dot balls.” Shine has seen Indian pitches that seam and swing – even a green seamer alongside a dry turner on the same ground. Will conventional swing play a part in this series? Shine laughs: “I can’t see them preparing much other than slow turners, can you? It’s a difficult place to bowl – but not something our bowlers are afraid of.” Crispin Andrews is a freelance writer

This hoarding seemed to go up overnight just a few yards from the team hotel in Chennai. I think it’s advertising a margarine that’s meant to taste of butter, but why they chose Graham Gooch wasn’t clear. In fact, this was during the dodgy-prawn tour of 1993, and Gooch wasn’t able to play in this Test – which India won by an innings – because of food poisoning… Gooch suffered a bit on this trip, and I have a picture of him, taken just before the Kolkata Test a couple of weeks earlier, in bed with another bout of illness. The duck is an unkind touch, though, as he never did fall for nought on the tour.

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10 Eagar’s Eye

I’m not sure whether these are family, friends or fans of Sunil Gavaskar – maybe all three. The woman to the right of him, perhaps hoping for an autograph, is holding a book, and there are several hands with pens in them. In 1984, Gavaskar, one of the first Indian players to have a real media presence, cut quite a figure, yet there were no minders or officials around, and this was taken in the public foyer of a posh Delhi hotel. Imagine trying to do that nowadays with Sachin!

QUIZ Answers See page 17 1 Lala Amarnath. 2 The Nawab of Pataudi, senior, who scored a century on his Test debut for England, in the 1932-33 Bodyline series; he did less well for India.

6 Because there was a total eclipse of the sun which would have interrupted play on the originally scheduled day. 7 He scored a triple-century (333) and a century (123) in the same match.

3 Fred Trueman.

8 Kapil Dev (off Eddie Hemmings).

4 Henry Blofeld.

9 Anil Kumble.

5 David “Bumble” Lloyd.

10 Rahul Dravid.

The winners of the two pairs of tickets for the Saturday of the Lord’s Investec Test between England and South Africa were: Vince Hussey from Birmingham and Mike Snook from Sheffield. 22

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THE ENGLAND CRICKETER’S ROUGH GUIDE TO

India

The challenges facing England cricketers in India are legion (or so they like to think). Homesickness – the great really good cheese and pickle sandwich, that infuriating habit the natives have of bowling their devious spinners, and other assorted historical prejudices to make this the most challenging tour of the lot. Guidance is called for...

Delhi Birthplace of Delhi Belly. (Nothing to do with attractive Warwickshire middle-order bat. Nothing attractive about it at all, in fact. Probably best to bring own tinned food from home for duration of trip)

Agra The Taj Mahal is one of India’s many fascinating spectacles. Avoid in favour of Championship Manager in hotel room Assam Your favourite biscuits from home may not be available :-(

Man-eating tigers Batsman-eating spinners

Black Hole of Calcutta Cannot get reception for tweeting or text messages (this might be good for team morale)

Newdadabad No England cricket tour can be complete without at least one player missing a crucial match to

Cartography by Tyers & Beach Wisden EXTRA • India v England

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Wisden Extra 5