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Thread: Fire in Babylon - The Prelude

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    Cricket Web Staff Member fredfertang's Avatar
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    Fire in Babylon - The Prelude

    Fire in Babylon - The Prelude

    In the wake of the publicity surrounding the recent release of "Fire in Babylon" Martin looks back to the first stop on the West Indian road to dominance.

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    Cricketer Of The Year wpdavid's Avatar
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    Brilliant article, well researched and well written. I enjoyed it hugely.

    I remain ambivolent about both parties. Bedi was no stranger to having a very public moan of course, as we saw 9 months later when John Lever was so successful in India. Perhaps he felt the pressure of his side slipping from their position in the early 1970s and the public criticism he was likely to face as a result. As for Lloyd, Sabina Park was hardly the only occasion when his statesmanlike captaincy amounted to doing not a thing when his quicks overdid it or, as in NZ four years later, completely lost the plot.

    One question - when researching this piece, did you come across any references to several beamers as well as the short-pitched stuff in the Jamaica test? I remember reading about that somewhere, and, for me, it puts a whole different slant on matters from the line that the Indians simply didn't want to get in line against the bouncers.

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    Cricket Spectator aaryanth's Avatar
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    Movie was really really good,saw it last week.
    There are 2 secrets to stay the best : 1) Don't give all of your knowings

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    International Captain Himannv's Avatar
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    Fascinating read. The 70's and 80's had a good amount of entertainment I'd say.
    "I will go down as Darren Sammy, the one who always smiles" - Darren Sammy


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    Cricket Web Staff Member fredfertang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wpdavid View Post

    One question - when researching this piece, did you come across any references to several beamers as well as the short-pitched stuff in the Jamaica test? I remember reading about that somewhere, and, for me, it puts a whole different slant on matters from the line that the Indians simply didn't want to get in line against the bouncers.
    Thanks for the kind comment - I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    I recall hearing about beamers as well and I did find the odd reference to them while I was going through various books, although not anywhere I felt was particularly authoritative

    As far as the actual play is concerned as well as the books by or about the various participants there was an account of the tour published in India which was very helpful and, I felt, very fair. The author (a bloke called Kishore Bhimani who was one of the three journos following the team round) was clearly unimpressed by the WIndies tactics but he made no mention of beamers and I felt sufficiently sure he would have done had there been any not to need to refer to the issue.

    It's actually amazing just how different accounts can be. I did read somewhere that Madan Lal was told to and did bowl a beamer in that over in the WIndies second innings, and the Viv Richards retiring hurt/runner incident has almost as many versions as there are people who have written about it

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    Cricketer Of The Year wpdavid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Himannv View Post
    Fascinating read. The 70's and 80's had a good amount of entertainment I'd say.
    Would have done if we'd gotten to see much of it.

    But it was an absolutely fascinating period - Lillee & Thomson for a couple of years, the emergence of the great WI team, also the emergence of Pakistan as a world force, India with their world class spin attack. There's a number of series from around then that I'd absolutely love to see prolonged footage from - India vs WI in 1974, Aus vs WI in 1975/76, WI vs India in 1976, Aus vs Pakistan in 1976/77 and WI vs Pakistan in 1977 all look to have been unbelievable watching.

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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend smalishah84's Avatar
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    add Pak vs WI 1988. Absolute gun series. Arguably the finest of the 1980s
    And smalishah's avatar is the most classy one by far Jan certainly echoes the sentiments of CW

    Yeah we don't crap in the first world; most of us would actually have no idea what that was emanating from Ajmal's backside. Why isn't it roses and rainbows like what happens here? PEWS's retort to Ganeshran on Daemon's picture depicting Ajmal's excreta

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    Cricketer Of The Year wpdavid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smalishah84 View Post
    add Pak vs WI 1988. Absolute gun series. Arguably the finest of the 1980s
    I agree. Of course, we never got to see a single delivery in England though.
    There were other great series in the1980s beteen those two sides, weren't there?

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    International Captain Himannv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wpdavid View Post
    I agree. Of course, we never got to see a single delivery in England though.
    Was there any particular reason behind that?

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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend smalishah84's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wpdavid View Post
    I agree. Of course, we never got to see a single delivery in England though.
    There were other great series in the1980s beteen those two sides, weren't there?
    Yep there was the 1986 series b/w WI and Pak in Pak which was tied at 1-1 as well IIRC.

    from wisden on the 1986 series "The series was evenly fought. Pakistan won the first Test by 186 runs, bowling out West Indies in their second innings for 53, their lowest total in Tests. But retribution was quickly forthcoming: an innings defeat in three days. The third Test was drawn after Imran and Tauseef Ahmed had defied the West Indians' attempt to end Pakistan's unbeaten record at Karachi. The limited-overs series, however, was one-sided, with West Indies winning 4-1."

    Quote Originally Posted by Himannv View Post
    Was there any particular reason behind that?
    Cricket in the caribbean wasn't really telecast too much before the 90s

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    I think a bit of context is needed here....

    1) Thomson and Lillee had just brutalised the Windies batting, sending quite a few of them to hospital, and the Windies took it basically without complaint. Lillee and Thomson bowled to deliberately hurt the batsmen, so Lloyd realised that this was a legitimate tactic, and used it against the Indians at Sabina Park.

    2) This passage you quoted from Gavaskar's book gives an idea of the antipathy that existed between the teams: "Gavaskar, in a passage from an early volume of autobiography, "Sunny Days", made the inflammatory comment, when dealing with the vocal encouragment given by the locals to their quick bowlers, 'All this proved that beyond a shadow of a doubt that these people belonged to the jungle and forests instead of a civilised country.'"

    3) Michael Manley was present at the match, and he made this observation about Gaekwad's injury in 'The History of West Indies Cricket'. "Gaekwad's injury was exactly a replay of England's captain, Bob Wyatt, facing Martindale forty-one years before on the same ground and batting at the same end. Both the England captain facing Martindale and now the Indian batsman facing Holding assumed a ball of great pace would lift. Both ducked. Neither ball lifted and both might have been killed. Happily both survived."

    4) "Vishwanath had suffered a broken left hand when caught at leg slip off Holding."

    5) "The case of Patel was completely different. He jumped down the wicket to hit Holder out of the ground and, having taken his eye off the ball, it flew from the top edge and he was struck in the mouth. At this stage Bedi declared to ensure that neither he nor Chanderasekar would have to face the bowling." Let's not forget that Vanburn Holder was little more than a medium pacer....

    6) "Bedi and Chandrasekar had hurt their hands attempting return catches during the West Indian innings."

    7) In his autobiography, Holding says that on reflection, he felt that their tactics were not in the right spirit of the game, and that they shouldn't have bowled around the wicket to the Indians.

    8) Lloyd is understandably unapologetic in his biography by MacDonald: "We had a whole lot of problems, but the main one was that our batsmen were frequently exposed to Lillee and Thomson, still fresh and still raring to go with a relatively new ball. Our players all round were put under constant pressure by sheer pace on some very quick wickets. And many of us were hit. I had a double dose. I got hit on the jaw by Lillee in Perth and by Thomson in Sydney. Julien's thumb was broken, just when we felt he might help solve the problem about our opening batsmen; Kallicharran's nose was cracked by Lillee in Perth and everyone at some stage during the tour felt the discomfort and the pain of a cricket ball being sent down at more than ninety miles an hour. But that's the game. It's tough. There's no rule against bowling fast. Batsmen must cope to survive." Basically, Lloyd's saying the WI put up with this in Australia, so they were just dishing it out to India, and you can see the logic.

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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend smalishah84's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shivfan View Post
    I think a bit of context is needed here....

    1) Thomson and Lillee had just brutalised the Windies batting, sending quite a few of them to hospital, and the Windies took it basically without complaint. Lillee and Thomson bowled to deliberately hurt the batsmen, so Lloyd realised that this was a legitimate tactic, and used it against the Indians at Sabina Park.

    2) This passage you quoted from Gavaskar's book gives an idea of the antipathy that existed between the teams: "Gavaskar, in a passage from an early volume of autobiography, "Sunny Days", made the inflammatory comment, when dealing with the vocal encouragment given by the locals to their quick bowlers, 'All this proved that beyond a shadow of a doubt that these people belonged to the jungle and forests instead of a civilised country.'"

    3) Michael Manley was present at the match, and he made this observation about Gaekwad's injury in 'The History of West Indies Cricket'. "Gaekwad's injury was exactly a replay of England's captain, Bob Wyatt, facing Martindale forty-one years before on the same ground and batting at the same end. Both the England captain facing Martindale and now the Indian batsman facing Holding assumed a ball of great pace would lift. Both ducked. Neither ball lifted and both might have been killed. Happily both survived."

    4) "Vishwanath had suffered a broken left hand when caught at leg slip off Holding."

    5) "The case of Patel was completely different. He jumped down the wicket to hit Holder out of the ground and, having taken his eye off the ball, it flew from the top edge and he was struck in the mouth. At this stage Bedi declared to ensure that neither he nor Chanderasekar would have to face the bowling." Let's not forget that Vanburn Holder was little more than a medium pacer....

    6) "Bedi and Chandrasekar had hurt their hands attempting return catches during the West Indian innings."

    7) In his autobiography, Holding says that on reflection, he felt that their tactics were not in the right spirit of the game, and that they shouldn't have bowled around the wicket to the Indians.

    8) Lloyd is understandably unapologetic in his biography by MacDonald: "We had a whole lot of problems, but the main one was that our batsmen were frequently exposed to Lillee and Thomson, still fresh and still raring to go with a relatively new ball. Our players all round were put under constant pressure by sheer pace on some very quick wickets. And many of us were hit. I had a double dose. I got hit on the jaw by Lillee in Perth and by Thomson in Sydney. Julien's thumb was broken, just when we felt he might help solve the problem about our opening batsmen; Kallicharran's nose was cracked by Lillee in Perth and everyone at some stage during the tour felt the discomfort and the pain of a cricket ball being sent down at more than ninety miles an hour. But that's the game. It's tough. There's no rule against bowling fast. Batsmen must cope to survive." Basically, Lloyd's saying the WI put up with this in Australia, so they were just dishing it out to India, and you can see the logic.
    wow...........gun post...........interesting comment there from Gavaskar that you quote from Sunny Days. Difficult to imagine Gavaskar saying out something like that but yeah I would be pretty pissed at something like this.

    love the part from Lloyd's biography. Ready to take it on the chin like a man.

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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend smalishah84's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fredfertang View Post
    Fire in Babylon - The Prelude

    In the wake of the publicity surrounding the recent release of "Fire in Babylon" Martin looks back to the first stop on the West Indian road to dominance.
    Just went through your article Fred............all I can say is fantastico

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    Cricketer Of The Year wpdavid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smalishah84 View Post
    wow...........gun post...........interesting comment there from Gavaskar that you quote from Sunny Days. Difficult to imagine Gavaskar saying out something like that but yeah I would be pretty pissed at something like this.
    Wasn't Gavaskar's comment written after the series in question? I'm not saying that justifies it - only that it couldn't have contributed the WI approach at Sabina Park.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member fredfertang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shivfan View Post
    I think a bit of context is needed here....

    1) Thomson and Lillee had just brutalised the Windies batting, sending quite a few of them to hospital, and the Windies took it basically without complaint. Lillee and Thomson bowled to deliberately hurt the batsmen, so Lloyd realised that this was a legitimate tactic, and used it against the Indians at Sabina Park.

    2) This passage you quoted from Gavaskar's book gives an idea of the antipathy that existed between the teams: "Gavaskar, in a passage from an early volume of autobiography, "Sunny Days", made the inflammatory comment, when dealing with the vocal encouragment given by the locals to their quick bowlers, 'All this proved that beyond a shadow of a doubt that these people belonged to the jungle and forests instead of a civilised country.'"

    3) Michael Manley was present at the match, and he made this observation about Gaekwad's injury in 'The History of West Indies Cricket'. "Gaekwad's injury was exactly a replay of England's captain, Bob Wyatt, facing Martindale forty-one years before on the same ground and batting at the same end. Both the England captain facing Martindale and now the Indian batsman facing Holding assumed a ball of great pace would lift. Both ducked. Neither ball lifted and both might have been killed. Happily both survived."

    4) "Vishwanath had suffered a broken left hand when caught at leg slip off Holding."

    5) "The case of Patel was completely different. He jumped down the wicket to hit Holder out of the ground and, having taken his eye off the ball, it flew from the top edge and he was struck in the mouth. At this stage Bedi declared to ensure that neither he nor Chanderasekar would have to face the bowling." Let's not forget that Vanburn Holder was little more than a medium pacer....

    6) "Bedi and Chandrasekar had hurt their hands attempting return catches during the West Indian innings."

    7) In his autobiography, Holding says that on reflection, he felt that their tactics were not in the right spirit of the game, and that they shouldn't have bowled around the wicket to the Indians.

    8) Lloyd is understandably unapologetic in his biography by MacDonald: "We had a whole lot of problems, but the main one was that our batsmen were frequently exposed to Lillee and Thomson, still fresh and still raring to go with a relatively new ball. Our players all round were put under constant pressure by sheer pace on some very quick wickets. And many of us were hit. I had a double dose. I got hit on the jaw by Lillee in Perth and by Thomson in Sydney. Julien's thumb was broken, just when we felt he might help solve the problem about our opening batsmen; Kallicharran's nose was cracked by Lillee in Perth and everyone at some stage during the tour felt the discomfort and the pain of a cricket ball being sent down at more than ninety miles an hour. But that's the game. It's tough. There's no rule against bowling fast. Batsmen must cope to survive." Basically, Lloyd's saying the WI put up with this in Australia, so they were just dishing it out to India, and you can see the logic.
    Personally I have no problem with the tactics the West Indies adopted and I don't think the piece suggests that I do. Cricket history is littered with examples of the team without fast bowlers complaining about those who do but, like Larwood/Voce, Lindwall/Miller, Hall/Griffith, Lillee/Thomson and the like as long as the quicks operate within the law then to my mind that must be legitimate.

    What I do think is unfair and is quite clearly wrong is to question the courage of the Indian batsmen.

    .......... and yes "Sunny Days" was published after the tour ended - but not long after so it was doubtless still a little raw - the relevant chapter was titled "Barbarism at Kingston" - as I said in the piece it was understandable Lloyd was unhappy

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