Cricket: India 1971

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The Times of India

Ajit Wadekar and his boys pose for a portrait at Lords in 1971. The team won it’s first ever series in England 1-0

Away triumphs against the West Indies and England in 1971 ensured India was no longer a cricketing backwater. The tour to the West Indies, regarded as a watershed in India’s cricket history, saw India compete in all five Tests. The win in the second Test, which resulted in India’s first series win in the Caribbean, was followed up by other, no less tangible, performances against the world’s most-feared cricket team.

The West Indies tour was special not only because India won but also because it saw the emergence of Indian cricket’s biggest star-Sunil Gavaskar. A man who rewrote almost every batting record and played the West Indian quicks better than any of his contemporaries. Victory in the West Indies was followed by a series victory against England in England.

Says B S Chandrasekhar, the chief architect, “We won the match, if I’m not wrong, on Chaturthi day. But it was only when we arrived back in India that we realized the enormity of our achievement. They took us from the airport to the Brabourne stadium in open cars and some of those cheers still echo inside my head even today.”— BM

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