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It hardly seemed satisfactory that a tour by England to India should be followed almost immediately by one by India to England. But that is as it was, and it gave England the chance to avenge their defeat, suffered on the subcontinent, a few months earlier. Of the three Test matches, England won the first and drew the last two. Although poorly attended, the series contained some good and interesting cricket, to which Sunil Gavaskar's Indian side, the tenth to visit England in an official capacity, made a generous contribution.
Of the sixteen players, three, Ghulam Parkar, Suru Nayak and Randhir Singh, arrived uncapped. Ashok Malhotra and Pranab Roy had each played in only two Test matches. The others were widely experienced. Besides Gavaskar himself, the world's most prolific opening batsman, they included a glorious all-round cricketer in Kapil Dev, whose jousts with Botham were among the features of the summer, two seasoned batsmen of high quality in Dilip Vengsarkar and Gundappa Viswanath ( Gavaskar's brother-in-law), a top-class wicket-keeper in Syed Kirmani, and a successfully teasing orthodox left-arm spinner in Dilip Doshi.
That they managed to win only one of their twelve first-class matches was because of their bowling, which was very short of depth. Madan Lal, at medium pace, occasionally moved the ball about effectively, and Ravi Shastri, only nineteen, showed promise as a tall spinner (orthodox left-arm). At Lord's in the first Test and at Old Trafford in the second they had England at 166 for six and 161 for five respectively, without being able to press home their advantage.
By his own exceptional standards, Gavaskar had a lean tour. This was partly due to his wanting, in the matches outside the Tests, to make sure that he did not deprive his supporting batsmen of the chance of a good innings. He was also unable to bat in the third Test at The Oval, after being hit on the shin by a drive from Botham while fielding at silly-point. Despite this India, needing a massive 395 to avoid following on, added a total of 410 to the 379 for eight they had made, also when under pressure, at Old Trafford. Of the 24 Test hundreds Gavaskar had made when the series ended, only four had been against England.
Vengsarkar scored a brilliant 157 in the first Test and made more runs on the tour than anyone else, though still fewer than three of the Pakistanis who followed the Indians to England. At his best, as he was at Lord's, Vengsarkar has few superiors. The failure of two of the specialist openers, Roy and Parkar, to adapt easily to English conditions led to Shastri being sent in first in the last two Tests. By making 66 in India's first innings at The Oval, he responded well to the challenge.
One of the outstanding innings of the whole of the 1982 season was Sandeep Patil's 129 not out in the second Test. An unexpected selection for the match, because of poor form, he rivalled Botham with the power and range of his strokeplay. Malhotra, like Roy a diminutive, quick-footed newcomer, showed what he was capable of in a dazzling innings of 154 not out against Kent at Canterbury.
There was much less bowling potential. Shivlal Yadav, the only off-spinner, despite having had success against Australia, paid dearly for his few wickets. The tireless Kapil Dev was too often the only real hope of an early break. After taking eight wickets in the first Test he picked up only two more in the series, a likely sign of his being overworked.
The side was admirably managed by Raj Singh, a former player for India's Central Zone with a strong sense of history and tradition. They could field very well, with Parkar a sparkling cover-point, and they were never to be taken for granted. Their one victory came in a chase against the clock against Hampshire at Southampton. Their only defeat, other than in the two one-day internationals and their warm-up match at Arundel, was in the first Test.
Test matches - Played 3: Lost 1, Drawn 2.
First-class matches - Played 12: Won 1, Lost 1, Drawn 10.
Win - Hampshire.
Loss - England.
Draws - England (2), Essex, Gloucestershire, Kent, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, MCC, Warwickshire, Yorkshire.
Non first-class matches - Played 5: Won 1, Lost 3, Drawn 2. Win - Ireland. Losses - Lavinia, Duchess of Norfolk's XI, England (2). Draws - Oxford & Cambridge Univs, Ireland.
Match reports for