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Visiting West Indies for the first time early in 1953, India undertook their fourth Test series inside eighteen months and, although their cricket showed signs of staleness, they did better than many people expected. From the winter of 1951-52, when M.C.C. visited them, to the end of the West Indies tour in April 1953, India met England in nine Tests, Pakistan in four Tests and West Indies in five Tests. Of these, India won 3, lost 6 and drew 9. They failed to gain a victory over West Indies, but lost only one match, the other four being drawn. That was the only game of the tour in which the Indians were defeated. Their solitary first-class success came against Jamaica.
By far the most impressive feature of India's cricket was their ground fielding, which reached great heights. The catching was not always in the same class, but there was little doubt that their brilliant out-cricket had much to do with maintaining interest on the tour. Also the fact that West Indies found it difficult to establish a mastery helped, and the crowds were larger than anticipated. Twice the gates had to be closed in the first Test at Port of Spain, and the ground record was broken for one day when 22,000 watched the cricket. As a satisfactory profit was forthcoming, the decision of India to undertake the tour, which at one time looked like being cancelled, was justified.
From a playing point of view the big successes were Gupte, a little leg-break and googly bowler, and Umrigar, the hard-hitting batsman. Gupte, who was unlucky to he omitted from the tour of England, flighted and spun the ball so cleverly that few of the West Indies' batsmen faced him confidently. During the tour Gupte took 50 first-class wickets, only seven less than the number obtained by the rest of the bowlers put together. Umrigar, with plenty of power behind all his strokes, averaged over 62 both in Tests and in all matches. He received good help from Apte, Manjrekar and Roy, but the captain, Hazare, disappointed in the Tests. In ten innings he scored only 194 runs.
The batting of the West Indian, Weekes, stood above every-thing else. He scored 207 in the first match, 161 in the third, and 109 in the fifth, averaging 102 in the five Tests. Walcott also shone, but until the last Test, when he scored 237 in the first innings, Worrell was out of touch.
West Indies possessed more variety and all-round strength in attack, with Valentine's left-handed spinners most effective. Ramadhin seemed to have lost much of the skill which made him so menacing in England, but King, a fast-medium bowler, showed promise, although he used the bumper a little too often for it to be a surprise ball. Few of the pitches helped bowlers, the matting at Port of Spain being particularly lifeless, but batsmen, with one or two exceptions, concentrated on safety play. The tour was capably managed by Mr. Ramaswami and the Indians left behind a good impression.
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