Notwithstanding a traditional strength in spin bowling, the second Indian team to tour New Zealand was far from convincing, and the tourists were somewhat fortunate to come out of the series level, at one-all.
The bowling talents of the captain, Bedi, and of Chandrasekhar and Prasanna were the side's principal assets and they performed splendidly on most occasions.
The Indians' fielding, too, was of a rather better quality than New Zealand had been led to expect. But the batting was distinctly frail and looked vulnerable even when it was prospering.
Of the established players, the most successful was Gavaskar, but when the ball was new he usually chose to hook and cut dangerously, as if he felt his batting life was going to be brief.
The same applied to the elegant young opener Vengsarkar, and to the left-handed Surinder Amarnath, one of two sons of Lala Amarnath in the touring team. The other brother, Mohinder, looked one of the best and safest players in the side, and the talented Viswanath, after a wretched start to the tour, played two fine fighting innings to save the Second Test.
With only six first-class matches on the tour programme, three of them Tests, there were few opportunities for some of the players. India were unfortunate to lose the services of Solkar, a good all-rounder, in the first match.
Much of the batting was of very inferior quality and sometimes it seemed that the New Zealand pace bowlers had only to get the ball to stump height to have the tourists in trouble. In the minor matches there was some attractive batting, but the two Test century-makers, Gavaskar and Mohinder Amarnath, were both dropped three times comparatively early in their innings.
Indian spin was nearly always a problem for New Zealand, as pace was to the tourists, not that New Zealand could mount an attack to compare with Australia's present bowlers. If both sides showed deficiencies, they engaged in a close, tense three-match series.
Prasanna spun India to victory in the first match at Auckland after Chandrasekhar had held command in the first innings. Bedi, out of the first Test through injury, bowled ably in the other two.
New Zealand introduced only one new Test player, Roberts, who did little of note. Turner, leading the side for the first time, was the outstanding batsman, although the man he replaced, Congdon, scored half-centuries in each of his four test innings. When there was something in the pitch for the seamers, Collinge and Richard Hadlee attained spectacular success; Hadlee's match figures of eleven for 58 in the final Test set a New Zealand record.
The Indian team was managed by the friendly Mr Polly Umrigar, and he must have been happy that India's tour guarantee was met. Wet weather at Christchurch and Wellington ruined week-end gates in both centres and the New Zealand Council made only a very small profit, if any, from the tour.
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