West Indies, after a disappointing tour of England in 1957, re-emerged as a cricketing power in their tour of India and Pakistan. They swept through the sub-continent on a flood tide of runs. The Worrell- Weekes- Walcott era may have ended, but young men appeared who promised to equal the achievements of this famous trio.
Pride of place among these went to Sobers, who at one stage hit four centuries in successive matches, three of them Tests. Rohan Kanhai, no longer a wicket-keeper, but purely and simply a batsman of brilliant gifts, was equally impressive. Two hitherto unknowns, Butcher and Solomon, enjoyed remarkable success as workmanlike batsmen in the middle of the order. And above all, in Gilchrist and Hall, West Indies possessed two fearsome opening bowlers reminiscent of the days of Martindale and Constantine.
Gilchrist, who often used the bouncer and the beamer, was omitted when the team moved on to Pakistan. He returned to England, and his absence probably contributed to the loss of the three-match rubber against Pakistan. West Indies suffered their only defeats of the tour in the Tests at Karachi and Dacca, but won the last, at Lahore, by an innings.
The Indian portion of the tour was one long tale of success. 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.
Adhikari, recalled at the age of 39 to lead India in the fifth Test, was their most successful captain. In the same match Borde showed himself an all-rounder of real talent. Yet, for the most part, India had neither the batting strength nor the power of attack to subject, or even contain, the West Indies. The leg-spinner, Gupte, laboured long and hard, and his nine wickets for 102 runs in the first innings of the second Test, considering the weaknesses in the field, was a fine performance. Adhikari, too, bowled well, but the West Indies batsmen held the upper hand throughout the series.
Alexander, the West Indies captain, handled his side astutely, and in the first innings of the Kanpur Text, helped to retrieve a lost cause with the bat. Apart from that one setback, the West Indies middle batsmen performed so well that the ineffectiveness of the opening batsmen was off-set. Neither Holt nor Hunte was really impressive. Apart from the fourth Test, Holt was a disappointment, and Hunte's failure to cover the line of flight resulted in many catches to the close field.
West Indies overwhelmed all opposition until losing to Pakistan on the mat at Karachi, after being sent in by Fazal Mahmood. Fazal, the Pakistan captain, converted the second Test at Dacca into a personal triumph, with twelve wickets for 100 runs, and though Hall threatened to equal this performance, the absence of Gilchrist was acutely felt. Rohan Kanhai and Sobers found their touch in the third Test, and Pakistan were forced to bow the knee for the first time in a Test in their own country.
This was the climax to the most successful tour West Indies have undertaken since their glorious achievements in England in 1950. Mushtaq Mohammad, a brother of Hanif, who made his début for Pakistan in the third Test at the age of 15 years and 125 days, became the youngest player to appear in Test cricket.
Matches--Played 22, Won 12, Lost 2, Drawn 8
TEST MATCHES IN INDIA
Matches--Played 5, Won 3, Drawn 2
TEST MATCHES IN PAKISTAN
Matches--Played 3, Won 1, Lost 2