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This tour, including three Test matches and two one-day internationals, initiated what was intended as an annual exchange of short visits between the two neighbouring countries. However, the maiden venture received a disappointingly lukewarm response.
Dogged by bad weather, the three Tests were all drawn. India won both one-day internationals, which, unlike the Tests, were well patronised. Another limited-overs match, played for the Prime Minister's Fund under floodlights at an athletics stadium in New Delhi, built for the previous year's Asian Games, was a sell-out and nearly 100,000 spectators still occupied the vast terraces when the match, interrupted by an electrical fault, finished well after midnight.
Only the last Test, played at Nagpur, drew a full house ever day. The first Test, at Bangalore, a city with rich cricketing traditions, started before a crowd of only 15,000, which, by Indian standards, was very few. There was little more support for the second Test although Jullundur was staging a Test match for the first time. There were various, unconnected reasons for low attendances, the one common factor being the adverse weather. This was not an unforeseen problem, September and early October being a time of year when the monsoons are still active. In Bangalore, the sale of tickets was depressed by the state government withdrawing the exemption of entertainment tax on sporting events. At Jullundur, many would-be spectators were kept away by the political turmoil and violence that was prevalent in the region at the time. A heavy police presence and irksome security measures did not create the ideal atmosphere for a Test match.
Pakistan's box-office appeal, as well as their overall performance, suffered from the absence of Imran Khan, unavailable on grounds of fitness, and Sarfraz Nawaz and Abdul Qadir, who were both at odds with the Pakistan Board. Imran was missed as much as a bowler as a captain. Zaheer Abbas, who led them instead, lacked the same inspiration and initiative. The Pakistanis were, however, match fit, most of them having just completed engagements in England. The Indians, on the other hand, were rusty, most of them having played no cricket since the World Cup almost three months previously. Their club cricket had been brought to a standstill by an especially heavy monsoon.
The first two Tests were so slow moving that they would most likely have been drawn even if rain had kept away. Bowling resources on both sides were too inadequate to dismiss the opposition on such slow pitches as obtained at Bangalore and Jullundur. However, the pitch at Nagpur was a different proposition, and India must be given credit for striving to force a decision there, even though their batting had proved unreliable in the two previous Tests. Pakistan, although never at risk, made no corresponding effort to win. On the whole they rather gave the impression of using the tour as a warm-up for their visit to Australia that followed immediately. Their one gain was the development of a young left-arm pace bowler, Azeem Hafeez. The Indians, too, were on the verge of a full-scale series against West Indies.
Test matches - Played 3: Drawn 3.
Non first-class matches - Played 3: Lost 3, Losses: India (2), India XI.
Match reports for