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Monday, August 27, 2007

99 and more

Sir Don BradmanThe man with an average in excess of 99 would have been 99 today.

Generally acknowledged as the greatest batsman ever in the game of cricket, Don Bradman was born on 27th August 1908 at Cootamundra, New South Wales, Australia. His records are legendary: 117 first-class hundreds, 12 Test double centuries, two Test triple hundreds, 6996 runs at the famous average of 99.94.

Bradman practised batting incessantly during his youth. He invented his own solo cricket game, using a stump and a golf ball. A water tank stood on a curved brick stand behind the Bradman home on paved area and when hit into this stand, the ball would rebound at high speed and varying angles. This form of practice helped him to develop his timing and reactions. At the age of 12, he hit his first century, playing for the Bowral Public School against Mittagong High School.
In 1996 the Bradman Museum located on Glebe Park adjacent to the Bradman Oval, Bowral was opened by John Howard, the Prime Minister of Australia, on the Don's 88th birthday. A commerartive gateway was built to honour Sir Donal Bradman on his 90th birthday just near the gateway that the original clubhouse for the Bowral Cricket Club stood. Honouring Sir Bradman, the Prime Minister called him the "greatest living Australian".
The BCCI, much criticized for its inability to find a coach for the Indian cricket team may find comfort in Sir Don's words.
" I was never coached; I was never told how to hold a bat. "
If you liked this article, you may like this too - Today in Cricket History

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Reinventing the Power Plays

Rahul Dravid seems to be a nice sort of bloke - the kind of guy who won't trouble you or demand much. Now India's gentleman captain is very happy with the peanut of a modification to the powerplay fielding rules. The ICC has made an amendment to the rule allowing an extra fielder outside the 30 yard circle beyond the first 10 overs. Dravid rightly thinks that it will allow him and other captains to bring in a spinner within the powerplay overs and has welcomed the change - but it begs a question which my captain didn't ask. Is that all that can be done?
Even the ICC would agree, albeit grudgingly that the move to increase the powerplay duration from 15 to 20 overs has been a complete failure. The bowling captains have been very risk-averse, mostly choosing to go for the 2nd and 3rd powerplays in succession after the 1st and one can hardly blame them for it. In the few cases where an enterprising captain has taken the risk of postponing the decision, he has mostly ended up ruing the adventure. You might have seen Brian Lara who having deferred the final powerplay in the World Cup match against South Africa never got an apt opportunity to take it and ended up looking really silly when he was forced to take it in the 44th over. Fleming, arguably the best ODI captain of recent year did try experimenting but never really with much success. The fact is that the dice was loaded against any experimentation by the fielding captain.
But the batting captain? Did anyone think of that? Pass the buck to him and the situation changes dramatically. Imagine the batting captain's predicament! Should he let his rampaging openers continue unabated or wait for a cracker of an end? If he waits, he may lose the momentum. If he doesn't wait, he is letting the fielding captain - he is not hanging in suspense anymore and can rotate his bowlers freely. Noticed that? Suddenly the fielding captain is now forced to take decisions, to experiment. More decisions and more drama. Isn't that what the ICC wanted in the first place?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Down the memory lane

A Cricket Match at the MCG in 1864 Those were the days.
( A Cricket Match at the MCG, 1864)
Source: Wikipedia

End of bad hair days

Guess what's common between Harsha Bhogle and Virender Sehwag?
'A Balding Pate'!
I don't know if either of them have heard of Dr. Shapiro, but if you are facing a problem of a 'regular bad hair day' and if you happen to leave in Florida or closeby then Dr. Shapiro's Hair Institute might just be the perfect solution you were looking for, for the problems on the top! Dr Shapiro has been in practise since 1989 and has performed in excesss of 1,00,00 micro mini-graft procedures. He specialized in hair-transplant surgery and for hair transplants in florida that's the place you should be headed for - he has developed a state-of-the-art method while others are still using outdated methods.
There's another unique advantage over there: they will arrange for you to talk to one of his ex-patients, so that you get to know exactly what you are getting into and expecting - talk to someone who was in the same predicament as you are right now.
Harsha, are you listening?!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Herrr Warne

shane warne playing cricket for germany?

"I don't know if he would even come here, but we will try and get him over....It might be something amusing for him to do, to come over and see cricket in Germany.....I have heard he is pretty generous with his time and it would be a massive boost for us even if he just came to have a look around....He might want to trace his ancestry over here, help us with some publicity or just come and have a beer...Of course, it would be incredible if he played for us, that is clearly a long way off...But I think there is more chance of him playing for Germany than England!"

- Utterances of the excited coach of the German national Cricket Team, Keith Thompson.
( Warnie, whose mother is a German was looking to acquire a German passport to help Hampshire free the slot of an overseas player)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Tendulkar's Magic Bails

In a most bizarre incident today during the 1st ODI between India and England, Tendulkar survived after the ball hit his off-stump on the full. The ball passed Tendulkar's pads, hit the top of the off stump ( no, no brushing but a proper hit - a clear sound on the stump mike), yet the bails didn't dislodge! Sunil Gavaskar, commenting for ESPN/Star Cricket remarked he had never seen such a thing before - yes, he said, the ball has in the past rolled onto the stumps harmlessly, but an impact of this force - it was a fast bowler bowling - not being able to disturb the bails was most surprising. Watch this video: ( not the best i'm afraid but it will give you a fair idea )

Monday, August 20, 2007

Yes, Yes, Yes to Indian Cricket League

Lara had said YES a while back, now Dinesh Mongia and Inzamam-ul-Haq have amongst many other currently active cricketers, LG & Videocon have expressed interest, Railway Minister Laloo Yadav has pledged support, and the NewZealand Cricket Players' Association have requested ICC to recognise ICL. The Indian Cricket League has well and truly taken off, and with the announcements by the Chairman of the ICL Executive Board, Kapil Dev in a press conference today, the world of cricket seems to be headed for a controversial yet exciting phase in the near future. Hopefully it should be good for cricket and cricketers - for now I am just happy to see the BCCI in some pain!
Let's look at the ICL's kitty till date:
Overseas Cricketers signed up by ICL:
Brian Lara, Lance Klusener, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Abdur Razzaq, Mohammad Yousuf, Nicky Boje
Indian Cricketers who have signed up for the League:
Deep Dasgupta, Dinesh Mongia, JP Yadav, Reetinder Singh Sodhi, Ambati Rayudu, Avishek Jhuhjhunwala, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, T Kumaran, S. ShriRam, Dheeraj Yadav, Shalabh Srivastav, Shreyas Khanolkar, Abbas Ali, Hemanth Kumar, Avinash Yadav, Inder Shekar Reddy, Ishan Malhotra, Kaushik Reddy, Manish Sharma, Ibrahim Khaleel, Monish Mishra, Robin Morris, Alfred Absolem, Ali Murtaza, Shashank Nag, Shibsagar Singh, Abhijit Shetye, Devendran, Sumit Kalia, Dakshinamoorthy Kumaran, Taduri Prakash Sudhindra, Sarabjit Singh, Ganapathi Vignesh, Devishetty Vinay Kumar, Yashpal Singh, J Hariesh, R Satish, Rajesh Sharma, Ranjit Khirid, Sachin Dholpure, Subhojit Paul, Sumit Kalia, Subhomoy Das, Raviraj Patil
While the overseas player like Inzamam don't face an immediate threat from their boards, BCCI has made it clear that players who join the Indian Cricket League risk being banned by the Indian Board and in that light, the decision of someone like Dinesh Mongia, who was in the India Team this May is pretty surprising and would be a big jolt for the BCCI. There are quite a few other cricketers amongs the signatories to the ICL, who still had a chance of making it to the India XI. The ICL plans to have six teams of atleast 12 players for its inaugural Twenty20 tournament, and of its requirement of 72 cricketers, the ICL now has over 50 already.
Big advertisers on cricket like electronic majors Videocon and LG have a shrewd commercial reason to back ICL. While a 10-second commercial during a cricket match involving India would have cost upwards of Rs.1 lakh, they have every reason to believe that media planners will now be able to reach out to the cricket audience for half that cost. Every penny that comes to the Zee-Sports ICL ad kitty is more than a penny lost for the BCCI. (explained: If Star Cricket pays BCCI Rs.100 for TV rights, it would expect to at least make a little more than Rs.100 from the ads)
What will ultimately hurt BCCI is when the ICL starts luring away budding cricketers early - if that begins to happen on a larger scale, and there is every indication it will, the BCCI may be in trouble in as soon as 4 to 5 years from now. Even without the ICL in picture, chief selector Dileep Vengsarkar bemoaned the lack of talent in the country - what now, with whatever there is, being shared.
If you have been following cricket in England, you would have noticed that the English cricket fan who were never the biggest supporters of the One-Day format took to the domestic Twenty20 tournaments, filling up the county stadiums. In the Caribbean, Texan Millionaire Allen Stanford's Twenty20 tournament was a huge success, in spite of being a localized affair. India, home to more cricket fan than the rest of the world put together, would therefore be a very attractive proposition for Subhash Chandra and Zee, and if the England and the West Indies experiments are anything to go by, the Indian Cricket League promises to be a huge success - and to my great satisfaction, a huge pain-in-the-you know where for the BCCI. Kudos Zee!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A most special Draw

india beat england test series 2007Congratulations Rahul Dravid and to the rest of the team and the country. What a fine team performance to break a 21 year old drought! Kudos to Karthik, Kumble, Dravid, Saurav, Zaheer, Sachin, Dhoni, R P Singh, Jaffer and just about everybody else. Don't even bother to think about the could have been 2-0 barrage of nonsense. While I myself never supported Dravid's move to not enforce the follow-on, but if Dravid had even an iota of doubt and just wanted to seal the series, I am all with him. When you have seen your country being battered overseas for ages, a series win is special. Losing hurts, looking at past history, even a draw is great, but a series win - that's special, something to be savoured, not to be dissected - at least not for now.

Andrew Miller at Cricinfo has summed up my emotions and that of the team beautifully, when he writes:
"India's fans may not appreciate it right now, as they quibble about the reasons behind Rahul Dravid's safety-first approach, but this draw will one day be looked upon with similar fondness."
Miller also points out what even Dravid's rival captain agreed to:
If I'd have been in his position I'd have done exactly the same," said Michael Vaughan. "They were 1-0 up and they want to make sure they win the series."

And we did win the series, didn't we? So cheers and thank you Team India for this most wonderful 60th birthday gift to the nation.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Live Streaming Cricket - One more place

I forgot to mention in the previous post on Live Streaming Cricket one really good place - BBC. While their streaming live audio coverage of cricket is available to audience across the world, the video streaming is available to UK broadband users. Enjoy.
India's further schedule in England:
India vs England Lions at Northampton, August 18 2007, Start Time GMT 0945
India vs England ODIs: Look for the schedule on the blog's the right panel
(for live streaming links, see main post - link given above)

Live Streaming Cricket Sites: India-England One Days & Twenty20 World Cup)

Ever since the India-England series started, I have been receiving quite a few e-mails from readers asking for quality sites which will webcast Live Streaming Cricket action from the India vs England series and also for the coming Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa. These are cricket fans living outside of the major cricket nations - mainly Indians, Pakistani and Bangladeshi cricket fans living in the United States; as they don't get live TV telecast of the cricket matches in their cities. While I had always provided a link to few sites webcasting live cricket action or providing live streaming action, I thought it would benefit a lot of cricket fans if a post could be done on "Live Cricket Streaming Web Sites".
I did a fair bit of research on the net, googling google with various keyword including "live cricket streaming", "live streaming cricket", "live streaming cricket sites", "links to live cricket videos", "live streaming India-England cricket", "live streaming Twenty20 Twenty World Cup" and god knows many more such permutations and combinations. Though I have come up with a number of results for you, but the bad news is that I didn't come up with any one site that I could genuinely recommend for live cricket webcasts. These sites are all unorganised, of shoddy quality and I guess also illegal or if not illegal, at least unauthorised. However, if you are not getting your favourite game of cricket live on TV, legalities can be damned with for a while, can't it? Willow.TV is the one exception to the rule, however this site is not accessible from all geographical locations. So here goes:
1. Willow.TV
Well the tagline on the site is very clear on one thing: "The Leader in Live Cricket Video
Streaming". Among the current 'live cricket' on offer are 'India in England', 'India vs Pakistan
in Scotland' , 'Bangladesh tour of Sri Lanka', and 'West Indies tour of England'. Now, some of
these tours are well and over, and I hope for the fans that Willow.TV will give you the live
streams from the Twenty20 World Cup, because these guys look the best, and more
importantly, the others don't look good at all.
2. Action8Cricket.com
India - England 7 One-Day Package for 14.95 $
Twenty20 World Cup Package not yet announced, but i guess you can expect it here.
Review at "Richie's Blogs": "The quality ain't as good as Willow TV and after installation I
got a couple of annoying ads, but generally I am pretty happy."
The blog also recommends that for best live streaming quality, opt for Exploerer over Firefox.
3. ESPNStar.com
While this site doesn't give you streaming live cricket, it gives you good quality flash
animation of the live cricket action. More importantly, this is at least a quality and legal
source for viewing cricket.
4. LiveSportsOn.TV
Interesting and apt usage of the domain extension .TV, ain't it? Well, you will have to shell out
8.62 $ for each day of live action from the India-England series (test as well as ODIs) and
funnily enough to catch the live streaming action from the likely less engrossing India-
Scotland one-day in Glasgow on the 16th August, you need to pay almost twice that. But there
is more interesting pricing coming up: the Twenty20 World Cup action is the cheapest. Catch
live streams of cricket from South Africa on your desktop for just under 4 $ per day. That one
sounds like a good deal, what say?

5. ApnaITV.com
How much they care for accuracy and quality I could gauge from the 8 India-England ODI
package they are selling. I am assuming it's a live streaming package for the 7 India-England
one-dayers and the one between India and Scotland. This bouquet of "Live Cricket for 8
ODIs" comes for 25.98 $.
The one good thing about the ApnaITV guys was that they bothered with telling the benefits
or features of their 'live video streaming' packages. Noteworthy among the features were: 'TV
like quality at 600 kbps', 'view at full screen', ( if they had instead written 'view on small
screen' I would have surely promoted them to no.4!), 'connect to tv simply with s-video',
'no extra hardware or software required' et al.
Now there are quite a few other websites that claim to provide 'live cricket streaming videos' - some paid, some free and yet others who ask for donations only. Here are a few more that you may check out:
6. DaruChini.Com
The Bangladesh-Sri Lanka series was being webcasted live by Daru Chini, so you may like to check this site out again, though they currently make no mention of the Twenty20 World Cup or any other 'live-streaming cricket' action for that matter.
7. Watch-Live-Cricket.com
This webcaster also claims it will give you streaming live action from the Twenty20 Cricket action as well as the current India-England series.
8. Live-TV-Net.com
9. TVandSportsStreams.com
10. Last but not the least should you feel like recording the live streaming cricket videos that you are getting on your desktop, check out WMRecorder.Com
Lots of Warnings:
a) This blog is in no way connected to any of these sites, nor has it been sponsored by any one or more of them. This is just a compilation of websites which provide 'live streaming cricket' action and you are advised to check out the veracity of the claims these sites make on your own before your proceed to purchase any package they are selling.
b) I have tried my best to be as accurate while mentioning the prices and the URLs, should there be any mistake, we shall not be held responsible for it.

Live Streaming Cricket and Highlights of the India-Australia Series

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Enforce the Follow On

My first instinctive reaction to India's decision to not enforce the follow-on was Geoffrey Boycott's 'rubbish'. A lead of 319 runs, but with just under 6 sessions left in the test, on a wicket which still favours the bat over the ball, I don't understand the no follow-on strategy much. Let's look at the various option possible situations.
Scenario 1: Objective Win
India plays about 2 more sessions, declares half an hour after tea and bat at about 4.5 an over and get 270 runs. England needs an impossible 589 runs to win but India needs to get 10 England wickets in about a 110 overs, on a wicket which is unlikely to favour the ball much, even on the 5th day of the test.
Scenario 2: Objective Draw
India play on till close of play, may be even a bit tomorrow morning, play the way tests are played and match peter outs into a dull boring draw.
Scenario 3: Objective Win
Dravid is seriously looking at a 2-0 verdict. India bats for about 40 more overs, at an average of 5, one-day style, and give England a still-realistic chase of about 500. India too have over 6 sessions to bowl out England.
Now, let's add one more scenario, now a hypothetical one:
Scenario 4: If India had enforced the follow-on
Scenario 4.1
England bat solidly, losing just 3 wickets on the 4th day and reaching a healthy 250 or so.
Scenario 4.2
England bat like they did in the 1st innings, are at 250 or so for 5 or 6, at close of play on Day 4.
Out of the 5 scenarios we just discussed, where would be the highest probability of a win? I guess in Scenario 4.2, we are best off. Realistically England can go on to score about 350-400, leaving us to chase a smallish 50 - 70. Even if we look at Scenario 4.1, realistically England can go on to score about 500, still leaving us with a chance of getting the 200 odd in some 30 overs or so. Worst case, it would be a draw.
On the other hand, the follow-on has opened up a lost English cause - a chance to level the series. If we go defensive like in the first 2 scenarios, we lose the chance of winning. If we go aggressive, we allow England a chance to come back, however faint the chances may be. And there is the other possibility, the one which is happening as I write this: what if we don't bat well, and get out too soon? Unlikely, but not impossible na. And there was that other possibility, which can't happen now - England might have folded in meekly. Unlikely, but not impossible na - afterall, India are 10/2 already!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Chak De India

Kumble scored a century, every single Indian batsman made it to the double digits, Matt Prior gave away more byes than any wicket-keeper has in the last 30 years, Dhoni fired big and India piled up a mammoth 664 at the Oval. What's more, England have lost one of their openers already and things don't look too good for the home side. India have all but won the series. Can they emulate 1986 and make it 2-0?

King Khan is in London for the promo of his soon-t0-be released "Chak De India". I captured this video of my telly: Gautam Bhimani got hold of SRK and Sunny somewhere in London, and hear the two masters as they form a mutual admiration club.

Download your Monty Mask

monty panesar photo, english cricketerI'm not sure myself if a craze to wear masks of your favourite cricket stars is sweeping the globe, but BBC thinks so, and if one is a cricket fan you can't ignore the BBC, can you? Anyways, it sounds interesting. So here's the link to download the mask of England's most popular cricketer.

And if you agree with the BBC about the world-wide craze for sports masks, do check out this BBC story which also has the links to downloads for Flintoff, Lara, Murali, Pietersen, Tendulkar, Vaughan, Hoggard, Warne and Akhtar.

Is that an unofficial list of the English cricket fan's favourite cricketers?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

400 aint enough at the Oval

It’s 2:40 in the afternoon in London and the players are back in the dressing room for tea on the first day of the 3rd Test at the Oval. Michael Vaughan must surely be enjoying his tea unlike the lunch which was taken with India at 113/1, both Karthik and Dravid looking good and solid. In a space of 10 runs, half an hour before tea, the game changed. Both the batters unbeaten at tea, one nearing his century and the other having just completed his half-century, were dismissed leaving two new batsmen at the crease. India are still at a very healthy 211/3, but Oval is unlike many other grounds in the world.

As recently as 2003, South Africa lost the test after piling up a mammoth 484 in the first innings, batting first. On 25 occasions have teams batting first scored 400 or more in their first innings and yet lost the match on as many as 7 occasions. The last 5 times a team scored 400+ in the first innings of the match, twice the match was lost. So even if India reaches 400, it’s not a guarantee of security and coupled with India’s habit of frittering away their 1-0 leads in test series abroad, things don’t look the brightest. Yet, Sachin Tendulkar is still at the crease and so is Saurav Ganguly and if they bat like they did in the last test at Trent Bridge, Michael Vaughan’s blemishless record in 11 series at home may be under some serious threat.

The Kennington Oval Trivia:

Trivia 1: Did you know that the stadium’s tapered crescent shaped Vauxhall stand end was so designed to amplify the crowd noise within the stadium!

Trivia 2: The first cricket test on English soil was played at the Oval. (September 1880)

Cricinfo describes the Oval as the world's most important general sport venue in the world.

Friday, August 03, 2007

India's Test Cricket Victories Abroad - Part 2

Since the first post of this series on India's test wins abroad, the Indian team has improved upon its miserable overseas record posting an emphatic win at Nottingham. I was surprised that not a single commentator on Star Cricket, including the likes of Ravi Shastri and Sunil Gavaskar made a mention of the fact that India was playing its 200th Overseas Test - that small but glaring omission when contrasted with much discussion and news surrounding Sachin's 11,000 runs points to the Indian cricket fan's obsession with individual feats and records.
I remember the awe and pride with which the elders in my home used to discuss the feats of Salim Durrani and Eknath Solkar - his catches and the sixers he hit for the galleries, not refraining from poking fun at Gavaskar's reluctance to 'get going'. While Sunny and then later Ravi Shastri and for some time Rahul Dravid were made fun of by 'such cricket fans', they worshipped Solkar, Srikkanth, Sehwag and for quite some time Sachin before things changed. Now, i'm no critic of the movers n shakers, but the fact remains that Sunny did more for Indian cricket than did Solkar. Only today, I saw Sunny making an apt point in the Star Cricket Commentary Box: "I was happier when my innings was applauded by my dressing room rather than the crowd."

7. Continuing with our series on India's test wins abroad, we now move to Victory # 7, where one of the heroes of our victory was none other than Sunil Gavaskar. Chasing a mammoth 406, it was the combined patience of Gavaskar, Amarnath and Vishwanath which saw India home. The trio took their own sweet time, especially Jimmy who took a good 440 minutes to compile his 85. The magnitude of this chase can be gauged by the fact that it took a very long 27 years for the record to be broken! The batters were ably supported by the spinners, with Chandra taking 6 wickets in the first innings and Venkat 3 in the second.

West Indies: 359 & 271, India: 228 & 406/4. Ground: Queen's Park Oval, Port-of-Spain, 7-12 Apr 1976

In the larger context of the history of Test Cricket, this match would be remembered for another very important reason. This match marked the beginning of WI's complete dependence on pace, a strategy which would reap them huge dividends in the next decade and more. Remarked Clive Lloyd, "Spin is a luxury I am ready to dispense with."

8. The next win came in the New Year Test at the MCG. On the morning of 4th January 1978, the Australian tail tried its best to stretch India. But it was a case of too little, too late; the damage had been done the previous day as the spin duo of Chandra and Bedi ripped apart Simpson and Co., with Chandra doing the maximum damage. He finished with a pair he is unlikely to ever forget: 52 for 6 in both innings. Bedi claimed 6 of the remaining 8. Sunil Gavaskar scored yet another century and there were important contributions again from the men who did it at Trinidad - Vishy and Amarnath.

India: 256 & 343, Australia: 213 & 164. Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground, 30th December 77 - 4th Jan 1978
Did i mention that this was India's first test win against Australia in Australia, exactly 3 decades since India's first test in Australia. ( Playing in Brisbane against Bradman's Invincibles, the entire team, batting twice failed to overtake Bradman's 1st innings score of 185. India were dismissed for 58 and 98.)

9. That last test we discussed was the 3rd test of a 5 match rubber. Australia had won the first two and the series now stood at 2-1. In the 4th test at the SCG, Bobby Simpson, the Aus captain won the toss and chose to bat. In less than 50 overs, his team surrendered against the guiles of Chandra and Bedi, for a paltry 131. In reply, Gavaskar and Chetan Chauhan provided India with a solid opening partnership, at one time threatening to overtake the Aussie score on their own, before they were both dismissed in quick succession around the 100 run mark. However Vishwanath, Vengsarkar and Karsan Ghavri rose to the occasion and India took a massive lead of 265 runs. Australia batted more purposefully in the second innings but they fell short and India won the match by an innings and 2 runs. The series was now tantalisingly tied at 2-2, one match remaining.

Australia: 131 & 263, India: 396 for 8 declared. Ground: Sydney Cricket Ground, 7-12 January 1978

The next match turned out to be a thriller with India taking a slender lead in the first innings. But the rare away failure of B.S. Chandrashekhar who failed to take a single wicket in the second innings cost India the match and the series. However, these 3 victories, beginning with the 406 run chase at Trinidad heralded the decline of Australia's supremacy at the top of world cricket. Clive Lloyd's West Indies , which had now dispensed with the luxury of spin, was getting ready to rule supreme - with the most fearsome pace battery ever.
10. Both Chandra and Bedi retired from tests in 1979, bringing to a close world cricket's most glorious era of spin bowling. Fortunately for India, a young man excelling with the cricket ball, though in a wholly different way, begun his career a few month before the spin duo brought theirs to an end. This man, Kapil Dev Nikhanj, who would be later voted as 'India's Cricketer of the Century' did something almost unthinkable of in the Australian summer of 1980-81. For the first time ever a pacer would lead India to victory in Australia, demolishing them in the second innings of the 3rd Test for just 83. Kapil's second innings bowling figures read 16.4 - 4 - 28 - 5 . Kapil had bagged a fiver in the 1st Test at Sydney too, but this was more special. It gave India a rare test win abroad, and what's more, it meant India didn't lose the series.

India: 237 & 324, Australia: 419 & 83 Ground: MCG, Melbourne, 7-11 February 1981

Of course, Gavaskar and Vishwanath too played very important roles, underlining the importance of this duo to Indian cricket. While Gavaskar got his due importance, his brother-in-law Vishy is often forgotten.
11. From 1981 to 1986, Indian cricket had its most memorable run in popular imagination with Kapil's Devils leading the team to a most unexpected World Cup Victory at Lord's in the summer of 1983. If that crown was described as a fluke, the Benson & Hedges World Championship win in 1985 was anything but that. Led by Gavaskar, India won the cup comprehensively, not losing a single match.

Surprisingly, India's ascendancy in Limited Overs Cricket was accompanied by miserable failures on the test front. In the 25 away tests that India played since the MCG victory, the team failed to win even one. This 5 year long drought finally ended at Lord's in June 1986. Spin had truly made space for pace in Indian cricket's scheme of things. While skipper Kapil himself took 5 wickets in the match, his pace partners and Haryana team-mate Chetan Sharma wreaked the maximum damage on the English. Sharma took a fiver in the first innings dismissing 4 of the top 5 English batsmen. Putting thing in perspective is the fact that the English spinners took more wicket than the Indian! Yet another difference in this win was that India did it without any major contribution from Gavaskar. (Vishy was already gone by then) India's batting hero at Lord's was Dilip Vengsarkar, who scored a fine 126 in India's first essay.
England: 294 & 180, India: 341 & 136-5 Ground: Lord's, 6 - 10 June 1986

This was the 1st of the 3 test series and India were now up 1-0.

12. That English loss at Lord's cost David Gower his captaincy. Replacing him was Mike Gatting, who would have his moment of glory against India next year, but not immediately. This was going to be Indian cricket's moment of glory, Indian Test Cricket's pinnacle of success. The chief architects of the Indian win at Leed's were again Dilip Vengsarkar and the pacers. Roger Binny finished the match with 7 wickets, but a description of this match would be incomplete without a mention of the young spinner who decimated the English side in the second innings. Maninder Singh claimed 4 for 26 and England were dismissed for a mere 128. India won the match by a huge margin of 279 runs and claimed the series 2-0.
India: 272 & 237, England: 102 & 128 . Ground: Headingley, Leed's . 19 -23 June 1986

Mention must also be made of another new skill-set that contributed to this famous win - for the first time the Indian team comprised a number of players who were adept at making contributions with both the bat and the bowl. The all-round skills of Kapil Dev, Roger Binny, Madan Lal and Ravi Shastri gave the team a fine balance. While these all-round skills had already brought home laurels in the ODI format, these was the first time that they succeeded in the biggest test - Tests Abroad.