India had not won a Test series in England before but the team arrived with more optimistic than usual after gaining a series victory over the West Indies a few months earlier. Moreover the side was strengthened by the inclusion of Chandrasekhar and, for the Test series at least, of Engineer. To these two players in particular India was in debt for her victory but fitness, fielding and confidence were vital contributing factors, too. The batsmen had the opportunity to practise and adjust techniques to English conditions during the good weather of the second half of the summer. Then, ironically, only rain prevented English victories in the first two Test matches.
However, on an Oval pitch which took spin, Chandrasekhar demolished the English batting for a record low score.On a tense final day the Indian batsmen edged towards their historic victory to the jubilation of millions of Indian supporters listening to their radios at home.
M C C’s reciprocal tour of India and Pakistan in 1971-72 was put in doubt in June 1971 because of a cholera outbreak and then cancelled on 26 August after the Cricket Council took government advice over the political situation in India. The tour was postponed until 1972-73.
Selectors : V M Merchant (chairman), H R Adhikari, H T Dani, M Dutta Ray, C D Gopinath, and A L Wadekar. The convenor was Prof. M C Chandgadkar, secretary of the Board.Major M M.Jagdale was convalescing in Indore.Sq-Ldr Dani, who went to Poona because of a family bereavement, also missed the captaincy appointment meeting on 3 June.
The selectors chose 16 players (including Engineer) and said that Chandrasekhar was back in the team (at Wadekar's urging) "as a calculated risk".They unsuccessfully appealed to the Board to include Mohinder Amarnath as the 17th player.
Unavailable :The Nawab of Pataudi, having been heavily beaten in the elections, now concentrated on his business interests rather than return to cricket.
Tour Party Announced:4 June 1971.
Withdrawal:Farokh Engineer because Lancashire declined to release him at short notice, except for the Test matches.Kirmani took his place, putting paid to Amarnath's chances.
Not selected:S A Durani, M L Jaisimha.
Time between selection and departure from India
(4 June - 18 June)
The departure was delayed by two days because the cricket kit was not ready (Prasanna writes about astrological portents being the reason).The delay allowed more time for practice at the nets in Bombay, where six Ranji Trophy medium-paced bowlers including Ghavri and Mohul, gave assistance.
The team flew out of Bombay in the early hours of 18 June 1971, via Kuwait, to Heathrow Airport, London.
•India won her first Test match in England which was sufficient for its first series win.
•Chandrasekhar’s six wicket haul in the second innings of the Oval Test
•Short-leg fielder Solkar was worth his place in the team for his catching alone but his batting - scores of 67, 50 and 44 - came at vital times in each Test.
Other first-class matches
Return to India
The victorious team flew from London Airport to Bombay but their flight was diverted to Delhi to enable the Prime Minister, Mrs Indira Gandhi, to greet the team immediately on arriving home. The following day they flew to Bombay where the city Mayor and Minister for Sport received them at Santa Cruz airport. Wildly enthusiastic crowds of more than a million people cheered the open-top motorcade carrying the players along the 20-km route from the airport to the Cricket Club of India.
Three matches were played in the 1971-72 between the victorious touring team and the Rest of India.
A concrete bat structure* was built at Vijay Balla in Indore to commemorate the names of the team that won the 1971 series against West Indies and England.The bat used to stand at Indore Zoo but has now been shifted to Nehru Stadium.
* From Wikipedia: permission is granted to copy and distribute this image under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2