|English tours are never without some drama|
|by Gulu Ezekiel|
|Feb 19, 2006|
England's tours of India have rarely been free of
controversy. Here is a list of some of the stormiest
1972-73: Captain: Tony Lewis. India 2/1.
England sent a second-string team as had been the
practice right from the 1950s. Lewis had never played
a Test match before this tour.
For the first time, the tourists were guarded by heavy
security following death threats from the PLO
(Palestine Liberation Organization). This just a few
months after the massacre of Israeli sportspersons at
the Munich Olympics.
1976-77: Captain: Tony Greig. England 3/1.
England's victory was marred by allegations from
Indian captain Bishan Singh Bedi that England's pace
bowlers, particularly debutant John Lever had used
Vaseline on the ball to make it swing. Lever was the
most successful bowler and he and the team management
have continued to deny the allegations for three
1980: Captain: Mike Brearley. England won by 10
England made a short trip on the way back from
Australia for the one-off Golden Jubilee Test at
Mumbai, commemorating 50 years of the BCCI. India were
led for the second and final time by GR Viswanath. He
withdrew the appeal after Bob Taylor had been given
out caught behind. Taylor and Ian Botham rescued
England from 58 for 5 and spoilt the host's birthday
1981-82: Captain: Keith Fletcher. India 1-0
The tour was almost cancelled by the Indian government
due to links between opener Geoffrey Boycott and
apartheid South Africa. However, Boycott's public
condemnation of the racial system saw Prime Minister
Indira Gandhi giving it the green signal. Ironically,
Boycott and others throughout the tour were hatching
plans to take a rebel England side to South Africa.
Boycott was sent home after being caught playing golf
during the Calcutta Test, having skipped the day's
play as he claimed he was unwell.
1984-85: Captain: David Gower. England 2/1
The day the side landed in New Delhi, Mrs. Gandhi was
assassinated by her bodyguards. The players were stuck
in their hotel while the city burned. They then flew
to Sri Lanka for a few days. On their return, another
tragedy struck on the morning of the opening Test at
Mumbai. British High Commissioner Percy Norris, who
had hosted the team the night before, was gunned down
by a terrorist.
1988-89: Tour cancelled. Captain: Graham Gooch.
The tour was cancelled as the Indian government
refused to grant visas to eight of the team, including
captain Gooch as they were on a UN blacklist for
having played in South Africa.
1992-93: Captain: Graham Gooch. India 3/0.
This tour had it all. It began with the nation in
turmoil following events in Ayodhaya. This forced the
cancellation of the first ODI at Ahmedabad. Due to a
strike by Indian Airlines' pilots, the tourists had to
travel by train for the first few weeks. The
Englishmen came under heavy criticism from their own
media for their sloppy appearance off the field. On
the field, they were whitewashed 3-0. Chairman of
selectors Ted Dexter blamed the smog in Calcutta for
the first Test trouncing. Then captain Gooch and Mike
Gatting were forced to miss the second Test at Chennai
due to food poisoning apparently brought on by eating
too much prawns.
2001-02: Captain: Nasser Hussain. India 1/0.
The tour was almost cancelled due to security fears
following the 9/11 attacks in the US. Hussain's
negative tactics, bordering on Bodyline, to bottle up
Sachin Tendulkar was attacked in the British media.
Andrew Flintoff tearing off his shirt and charging
round the field at the Wankhede Stadium after England
won the final ODI to level the series would have
repercussions a few months later in England.