Part One: 1948-1975

India v West Indies: A brief history

Martin Williamson

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Part two 1975-2011

1948-49 India
West Indies broke fresh ground with a visit to India, where their batting strength astonished their hosts, and victory in the fourth match of the series enabled them to win the Test rubber. The other four encounters, like eight more of the tour, failed to produce a definite result, and West Indies, who won six first-class matches, suffered only one defeat. The series was dominated by the bat, with Everton Weekes excelling for West Indies, and Walcott, Stollmeyer, Gomez, Rae and Christiani all hitting maiden Test centuries. Hazare, Adhikari, Mushtaq Ali and Phadkar were all seen to advantage, but rarely did India's batting equal that of their opponents in technique or attractiveness.
Tests: India 0 West Indies 1 Drawn 4

1952-53 West Indies
India went down courtesy of defeat in the second Test in Barbados - their only loss on a tour which produced just one win, against Jamaica - in front of massive crowds. The outstanding players were Gupte, a little leg-break and googly bowler, and Umrigar, a hard-hitting batsman. Gupte took 50 first-class wickets on the tour, only seven less than the number obtained by the rest of the bowlers put together. Umrigar, with plenty of power behind all his strokes, averaged over 62 both in Tests and in all matches. The batting of Weekes again stood above everything else. He scored 207 in the first match, 161 in the third, and 109 in the fifth, averaging 102 in the five Tests. Walcott also shone, but until the last Test, when he scored 237 in the first innings, Worrell was out of touch.
Tests: West Indies 1 India 0 Drawn 4

1958-59 India
West Indies bounced back from a poor tour of England in 1957 with vengeance, with Garry Sobers leading the way with four centuries in successive matches, three of them Tests, backed by the pace of Roy Gilchrist and Wes Hall. Gilchrist, who liberally used beamers and bouncers, was sent home at the end of the Indian leg of the trip for indiscipline. India's cause was scarcely helped by repeated captaincy problems. The team had four leaders during the series, and not once did the eleven men chosen actually take the field. Nevertheless, Gilchrist and Hall established their superiority over the Indian batsmen from the start of the series and never relaxed their grip.
Tests: India 0 West Indies 3 Drawn 2

1961-62 West Indies
India travelled with optimism after a good series against England, but were completely blown away by a side at the height of its powers. The arrangements for the tour lacked common sense. India were rushed into action and never settled - "The Indians took the field under a hot Trinidad sun within twelve hours of arrival from wintry London and New York. A crop of pulled muscles and stomach disorders was inevitable, and throughout the tour the players' nostrils were filled with the odours of drugs and liniments" bemoaned the Almanack, and the life-threatening injury to Nari Contractor overshadowed the second half of the trip. They were outclassed throughout, and their one win on tour came in the final match in St Kitts.
Tests: West Indies 5 India 0

1966-67 India
West Indies were clearly not the force they had been on the previous tours, but with Sobers to the fore, they were still too good for India. Kanhai and Clive Lloyd did well with the bat, the former more than once benefiting from India's dreadful catching, but Hall was injured early on and Griffith looked a shadow of his former fearsome self. Apart from Borde, who scored two centuries and altogether 346 runs in six innings, the Indian batting was too patchy and inconsistent. As in every series he has so far played, Chandrasekhar was the foremost Indian bowler
Tests: India 0 West Indies 2 Drawn 1

1970-71 West Indies
India's best tour to date was also West Indies' fourth straight series defeat, and their second at home. The decisive Test was in Trinidad where Venkat took 9 for 149 in the match, eclipsing Jack Noreiga who returned 9 for 95 in India's first innings. Sobers was in supreme form with 597 runs at 74.62 while Charlie Davis, of Trinidad, playing one Test and two innings less, also totalled over 500 runs and finished at the top of the averages (132.25). But Sunil Gavaskar, who missed the first Test, amassed 774 runs at an average of 154.80. He had to sit out all three first-class games in Jamaica and yet he finished with 1,169 runs (av. 97.41). Sardesai, far from assured of a regular Test place at the start of the tour, also performed admirably in scoring 642 runs.
Tests: West Indies 0 India 1 Drawn 4

1974-75
For the first time, every Test match of a series in India produced a definite result and the fifth Test started against the dramatic background of India having levelled the rubber after being overwhelmed in the first two Tests. Despite India's gallant rally, West Indies deserved to win the final Test and the series, as there was never any question of their allround superiority. Clive Lloyd led with the bat, with more than 1000 runs on the Indian leg of tour alone (West Indies went on to Pakistan) and Viv Richards signaled his arrival with a match-winning 192 in the second Test. Andy Roberts, making his first tour, was the outstanding bowler. India's hopes were dented by internal politics and Gavaskar's absence for three matches. With Wadekar having quit, Bedi and Engineer were the favourites to captain, but the selectors opted for Mansur Ali Khan on flimsy grounds and he struggled. The batting depended on Gundappa Viswanath and Anshuman Gaekwad, but they were left with too much ground to make up.
Tests: India 2 West Indies 3

Martin Williamson is managing editor of Cricinfo

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Martin Williamson Executive editor Martin Williamson joined the Wisden website in its planning stages in 2001 after failing to make his millions in the internet boom when managing editor of Sportal. Before that he was in charge of Sky Sports Online and helped launch and run Sky News Online. With a preference for all things old (except his wife and children), he has recently confounded colleagues by displaying an uncharacteristic fondness for Twenty20 cricket. His enthusiasm for the game is sadly not matched by his ability, but he remains convinced that he might be a late developer and perseveres in the hope of an England call-up with his middle-order batting and non-spinning offbreaks. He is now managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group as well as his Cricinfo responsibilities.
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