official Test-playing tour of West Indies by India
(February – April 1971)
This was only the second (out of twelve) Test tours to date on which
India had won a Test
series, the other occasion being in New Zealand in 1967-68.It was also the first time that India had won a Test match against West Indies
after 24 attempts, and started India on her hat-trick of series
wins (1970-71, 1971, 1972-73).
Veteran selector Dutta Ray, unwell with high blood pressure, was
forced to miss the meeting that appointed the tour captain.After the decision not to appoint Chandu
Borde as captain because of his lack of form and fitness, Merchant used his
casting vote to discard 'Tiger' Pataudi and appoint Ajit Wadekar to lead the
To the disappointment of many commentators, Chandrasekhar was
left out of the tour party while Engineer and Surti were not considered
because of a ruling that they must have played during the season's Ranji
India’s victory owed an enormous
debt to Sunil Gavaskar's spectacular record-breaking achievements, among them
topping 1000 runs on tour. He received exceptional support from Solkar and
Sardesai. When Wadekar was asked what he attributed the vistory to, he
replied: "We had good fun. We played like
a team. Proper planning, strategy, the psychological battle being won by us,
the batting feats of Sardesai and Gavaskar and, not to forget, the
brilliant fielding."(Rediff interview April 18, 2002)
The Indians were the first Test touring team from any country to
The team planned to visit Canada
for a week (the last week in April) after the West Indian tour and go to Washington and Philadelphia
to play Indian student teams but these extra visits fell through.
Vijay Merchant (chairman), Bal Dani, M Dutta Ray, C D Gopinath, M M Jagdale, with Ajit Wadekar included
While Bal Dani urged a change from Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi as
captain after 36 Tests in charge, Dutta Ray, Gopinath and Jagdale favoured
retaining him. The Chairman backed Ajit Wadekar as skipper instead. Dutta Ray
missed the vital meeting at the Brabourne Stadium on 8 January so the vote
was 2-1, but Merchant used his casting vote to ensure that Wadekar was
The team was chosen at a subsequent meeting in Bombay
on 12 January and was announced the next day in Madras, after approval by the Indian
Board.Wadekar insisted on the
inclusion of Dilip Sardesai and he scored a double century in the first Test
and two other hundreds.
The Nawab of Pataudi (Hd), 30, once he was not selected as captain.
He said on the day that the captaincy was settled, he would be entering politics
and contesting Haryana in the elections.
Rusi Surti, 34, was playing for Queensland
and Farokh Engineer, 32, had made his home in Lancashire,
so they were unable to play in the Ranji Trophy tournament, and therefore
deemed not eligible.
Party Announced : 13 January 1971
selected : Bhagwat S Chandrasekhar, Farokh
Engineer, Rusi Surti, Syed M H Kirmani.
Jaisimha's selection was a surprise, the result of scoring two
big centuries in the Duleep Trophy. He scored few runs but gave invaluable
counsel on the field to Wadekar
Time between selection and departure from India
(13 January - 1
Bombay QLondonQNew YorkQKingston
Having convened at Bombay on 24 January,
the team had a week's practice under Sardesai's supervision.They flew out of Santa
Cruz Airport, Bombay, on 1 February, by way ofLondon and New York. Gavaskar
needed to have a septic finger injury lanced at J F K Airport and was unable
to play for a fortnight. The plane left London Heathrow two hours late and
the team missed its connecting flight from New York. They landed at Palisados Airport
in Kingston, Jamaica, on 3 February rather than the evening before.Their equipment had not yet arrived,
however, so they had to miss a day's practice.
batting displays saw him score 774 runs in eight Test innings at a Bradman-like
average of 154.80. Gavaskar made two fifties on his debut when India won the
second Test. He added centuries in each of the next two Tests and then played
innings of 124 and 220 in the final Test.
•Sardesai struck three
centuries, including 112 in the victory at Port-of-Spain.Earlier he had rescued India from 75 for 5 with a double century that
made West Indies follow on in the first Test. Adding a further century at Bridgetown, he
aggregated 640 runs for the series.
•India gained a first Test victory over West Indies after trying for 24 matches.
•Venkataraghaven was India’s highest wicket-taker, with 22, in a
series against the West Indies.
Other first-class matches
ϯ Minor matches
Port of SpainQBombay
The team relaxed for a day on Tobago, then caught the 8 am Sunjet
flight for New York
on 21 April.Wadekar flew direct from London where he met the others on their arrival in New Delhi.The whole squad flew home to a jubilant
welcome in Bombay.
Time away from India
81 (?) days
(1 February - 23?? April)
accounts of the tour
"(1971)by Sundur Rajan[Jaico Publishing House]
"Gone with the Indians"(1974)?by
Brunell Jones [pub Sport/News Service].