Sunil Gavaskar was demoted from the captaincy and Syed Kirmani left out of the party altogether. In some quarters these facts were linked to them taking an option for the 1978-79 season with Kerry Packer, although neither of them ever played in World Series Cricket.
In a World Cup year Venkataraghavan was again asked to lead the side and again failed to reach the final stages. The team then started its full tour of England. The first Test at Edgbaston was lost by an innings after England had amassed 633 runs and then let loose their fast bowlers in helpful conditions. The second Test at Lord’s would also have been lost had it not been for centuries scored by Viswanath and Vengsarkar who added 210 runs in a record third wicket partnership.
But the Indians held a master card, their opening batsman Gavaskar. After being set 438 runs to win at The Oval they came desperately close to winning the fourth Test. Gavaskar played a phenomenal innings of 221 (after an opening stand of 213 with Chauhan) and India ended undefeated and only 9 runs short of their target.
P R Umrigar (chairman),M L Jaisimha, V L Mehra, C D Gopinath, D G Phadkar.
Venkataraghaven was appointed skipper.
Not included : Syed Kirmani
Tour Party Announced : 8 February 1979.
Time between selection and departure from India
(8 February - 29 May)
Gavaskar and Bedi arrived on 19 April for the Chubb World Double Wicket tournament at Wembley. The main touring party flew from Bombay to London on 29 May 1979.Because the World Cup sponsors Prudential provided for only 14 players and hotel places were hard to find, Chandrasekhar and Chauhan who would not be taking part in the World Cup flew in later.
•Viswanath (78 and 51) and Gavaskar (61 and 68) were the only ones to resist in the first Test defeat
•A stand of 210 between Vengsarkar and Viswanath saved the Second Test at Lord's
•India were set 438 to win at The Oval and the match finished with them only 9 runs short of victory,
•Gavaskar scored 221 in eight hours at The Oval, to end a series in which his scores brought 577 runs.
Other first-class matches
ϯ Minor matches
Return to India
The team flew from Heathrow Airport, London, to New Delhi, where Bedi, Chauhan, Kapil Dev, Khanna and Yashpal alighted; and on to Bombay, by which time the Indian Board had replaced Venkat with Gavaskar for the captaincy in the forthcoming series against Australia. Unfortunately, the plane’s pilot announced it during the flight before Venkat had been notified.