The tour was under threat of cancellation because Indira Gandhi’s
government objected to Geoff Boycott and Geoff Cook who were both on the
United Nations blacklist for playing in South Africa. The Test &
County Cricket Board (T C C B) would not countenance withdrawing either
player from the team and it looked unlikely that the tour could be saved. The
impasse was resolved less than a week before the team departed when the two
players concerned let it be known they were opposed to apartheid.
The tour went ahead
without demonstrations. However, Boycott then returned home with a stomach illness.
Under intense publicity, it was suggested that he had lost interest in the
tour after beating the Test run-scoring record.
Mike Brearley was
unavailable to continue as England
captain and the selectors again turned back the clock, calling on Keith
Fletcher who had last played for England in the 1977 Centenary
thrived in his role as a defensive opener, while David Gower showed
consistency at last, and Ian Botham maintained his magnificent standard from
1981.But overall the cricket provided
poor entertainment and, after Bombay where England were ill-prepared and soundly beaten, India
slowed down the progress of the games and ensured that all the remaining Test
matches would be drawn.
Sri Lanka was admitted to the International
Cricket Conference in 1981 and the first-ever Test match played there
resulted in a comfortable victory for the tourists.
Geoffrey Boycott went home onManager Raman Subba Row said “He was not sent home under any sort of
disgrace. He was unwell and not in the right frame of mind to play cricket.
With the short period of time left on the tour it was mutually agreed that it
would be better if he went home and got himself well.” (The Times)
England left India for Sri Lanka on 6 February 1982.
After the Sri Lankan tour they flew to Trivandrum to play a limited-overs benefit
match on 23 February. The match raised £3000 for the trust fund of the long-serving
baggagman Govind Bawji.
Returning to Sri Lanka,
the tourists made their final flight home on 24 February 1982 from Colombo to Gatwick
In March 1982 it was revealed
that twelve players had arrived in South Africa
to play a series of matches in contravention of the 1977 Gleneagles agreement
which discourages sporting links with South Africa. Several of the
“South African Breweries XI” had just been to India, including Geoffrey Boycott
who had been accepted for the 1981-82 tour only after making statements
expressing his disapproval of apartheid.
The British government
condemned the tour as “a total deception which had undone a tremendous amount
of goodwill.”The T.C.C.B. banned the
players from playing Test cricket for three years.