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Staged to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India after Independence, and sponsored by the Madras Rubber Foundry, the MRF World Series for the Jawaharlal Nehru Cup brought together all of the Test-playing countries except New Zealand. The tournament also had a secondary purpose in attracting the attention of the Indian population to Mr Ranjiv Gandhi, the current Prime Minister and grandson of Nehru, in the run-up to the country's elections.
The tournament's true significance, however, is perhaps best gauged by the way in which the various competing countries arrived in India for it. When England and Sri Lanka played the opening match, in Delhi before a crowd of less than 1,000, the hosts, India, were playing Pakistan in a different tournament in Sharjah. Indeed, India and Pakistan did not arrive in India until five days later. There had been a time when it seemed that neither Australia nor West Indies would attend, and it was to accommodate them that the tournament was brought forward, so clashing with the Champions Trophy in Sharjah. West Indies' first priority after Sharjah was an indoor exhibition match in Toronto, Canada, on November 6.
Only England and Sri Lanka could be said to have found any value, other than prizemoney, in yet another of one-day competition. For the latter it provided the much-needed stimulus of international competition, while it gave England an opportunity to begin preparations for their forthcoming tour of the West Indies. For Pakistan, the Nehru Cup brought further success to add to their victory in the Champions Trophy. Their defeat of West Indies in the final at Calcutta was their ninth win in eleven one-day internationals, played in the space of nineteen days. But this achievement, in addition to winning the large trophy, they increased their winnings by $US40,000 (£22,850). West Indies received $US25,000 (£14,285) as runners-up, while the losing semi-finalists, England and India, won $US15,000 (£8,570) each. Imran Khan, Pakistan's captain, was the Man of the Series.
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