A chance to better previous results as a strengthened India take on an inexperienced West Indies

Posted on November 6, 2011

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For a recent follower of Cricket, it will be surprising to know that out of the 40 test matches played when West Indies visited India, the former have clinched victory in 14 and faced defeat in just seven games.

The touring West Indian team will face a batsman-bolstered India after eight years. During their last tour in 2002, the Carl Hooper-led team were defeated 2-0. The first test played at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai saw the home team win easily with an innings and 112 runs in hand. The second test yielded a similar result, but less severe. Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble snared 13 wickets, giving the team a victory margin of eight wickets.The final test at Kolkata saw the West Indians dominate after they managed to earn a 139 run lead after the first innings. However this test, unlike its immediate predecessors, ended in a draw. That was the second time in nine tours when the home side tasted victory against the Windies.

Twenty four years earlier, Sunil Gavaskar’s team bettered the team led by Alvin Kallicharan. The likes of Richards, Lloyd, Croft, Holding, Garner, Roberts had signed up for Kerry Packer’s rebel series. The only other recognised name apart from the skipper’s was Larry Gnomes.The Indians won the 4th test played at Chepauk in the six match series. The other games were played at Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Delhi and Kanpur. While the other five games resulted in high scoring draws, the slow wicket at Chepauk tested the visitors who were fielding unknown names. Srinivas Venkataraghavan and Kapil Dev shared 14 of the 20 wickets in the game.

But, apart from these two series victories, the Indians have faltered against the visiting West Indians.

They did achieved moral victory when they nullified 2-0 lead by winning the third and fourth tests in 1975/75. They lost the fifth test. But it would be always regarded as one of the finest displays of fighting back in sport. A team sans Sunil Gavaskar pushed for the extra mile against the menacing West Indians who had just won the inaugural World Cup. With a victory by 267 runs and an innings and 17 runs in the first two tests and Bangalore and Delhi, it was the heroics of Gundappa Vishwanath in the Calcutta and Madras tests which made the scoreline read 2-2. But the prevailing West Indians had the final say. Captain Clive Lloyd led from front scoring 242* in the first innings, inflicting a 201 run defeat.

This was the last tour was Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, he retired leading India in probably their greatest series ever.

In 1948/49 Lala Amarnath’s side batted second in all five tests and conceded a first innings lead in as many. Vijay Hazare (134) and Rusi Modi (112) saved the second test after follow-on was enforced. The combined total (273 + 333) of the home side did not better the 629 runs scored in the first innings. Everton Weekes top scored with 194. The series ended in a stalemate.

The 1958/59 series will be most remembered for Subash Gupte’s 9/102 during the second test at Green Park. West Indies were dismissed for 222 and India replied with the same total. The Windies batted first in four out of the five tests and the Indians who played under four captains failed to get a higher first innings total again. However, the visitors managed to get a first inning lead of 219 after scoring 644 in the fifth test. The first time they chased in ten tests.

Skipper Gerry Alexander’s counterparts were Polly Umrigar, Ghulam Ahmed (second and third tests), Vinoo Mankad and Hemu Adhikari.

The 1966/67 series was an eventful tour. The Nawab of Pataudi Jr.and Gary Sobers were leading the teams. The first test marked the debut of two future illustrious captains. Ajit Wadekar and Clive Lloyd earned their caps at Brabourne Stadium. Bishan Singh Bedi debuted in the second test at Eden Gardens. The famous spin quartet worked in tandem after this series. Not surprisingly, the visitors won 2-0.

The 1983/84 series was payback time. The mighty West Indians were halted in their tracks after India snatched the World Cup from right under their noses a few months back. Needless to say, the six match series was won 3-0 by Clive Lloyd and Co. The Indians dominated only in the final test where Sunil Gavaskar scored 236*. A record which stood for 17 years.

Narendra Hirwani’s debut rocked the West Indians who were on their way to win the 1987/88 tour. The leg spinner’s 16-wicket haul in Madras ensured the series was tied after the visitors won the first test at Delhi. The second test marked the debut of Carl Hooper, who incidentally played his 100th test also at the Wankhede in 2002.

The 1994 series saw the result as the previous one. The home side winning the first while the visitors won the third and final test.

THIS TIME AROUND

This West Indian side is inexperienced under the Indian conditions for the longer format of the game. Only Shivnarine Chanderpaul, in this squad, has played a test here before. His experience would be crucial for their performance.However, Ravi Rampaul who has produced wonderful results with white ball will be keen to get the same with the spinner friendly SG ball.

With India’s batting level in full strength it was wise move by selectors to include new faces in the bowling department. Ishant Sharma and Pragyan Ojha will spearhead the attack which would feature any two among Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron, Rahul Sharma and R.Ashwin.

The three test series will begin today at Delhi.

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