It seems that the voting has become exhausted. Therefore, I will call a halt to proceedings (in Mankad's and Prasanna's favour) at 10 pm Sydney time unless there is a sudden flood of conflicting votes.
It seems that the voting has become exhausted. Therefore, I will call a halt to proceedings (in Mankad's and Prasanna's favour) at 10 pm Sydney time unless there is a sudden flood of conflicting votes.
Last edited by watson; 09-01-2013 at 11:59 PM.
The only way to have two leg spinners in the side is if we have Gupte and Chandra which would be like the few years when Australia had Grimmett and O'Reilly - completely different type of bowlers. One round arm, one ram rod straight, one coming from a height one from a lower level, one a genuine slow bowler the other a medium pacer, one who spun a vicious leg break and the occasional well disguised googly while the other did not turn the leg break much while the googly was a potent weapon. One relied on turn and the other on bounce. Then they, between them would cover a lot of different conditions and opponents.
The reason why Warne and MacGill played so little together is basically because they were similar bowlers. If Australia had a Kumble besides Warne, we might have seen many more Aussie attacks with both.
I am a big fan of Chandra, have no doubt about that but there is only so many we can include. Its like having to leave out one from Hammond and Headley in an inter-war ATG side with Bradman already in or choosing a West Indian side with its riches in both fast bowling and middle order greats. It is here that one needs to look beyond one's emotional response.
By the way, there are quite a few who rank Chandra ahead of Kumble.
Geoff Armstrong who assembled the very interesting 100 Greatest Cricketers and then divided them into the 1st, 2nd to the 9th all time great Test sides with a 100th Man,writes in the introduction . . .
. . . just because a modern day player as accumulated a lot of runs or wickets does not automatically win them a place. Anil Kumble has taken over 500 (till then) Test wickets but I beleive this is proof of his enormous tenacity and durability rather than greatness. In my view, Kumble is not entitled to be ranked ahead of bowlers such as Bhagwat Chadrashekhar, Hugh Trumble, Johnny Briggs and Arthur Mailey, who all make this top 100 or even Derek Underwood and Abdul Qadir who did not.
He then goes on to write another very important thing about the selection of ATG sides.
It is important . . . not to fall into the trap of picking players just because it has become fashionable to rate them highly. It is actually quite astonishing how many men's reputation has grown as memories of their playing days recede, while (those of) other more accomplished or important cricketers have been all but forgotten. Don Tallon the much acclaimed Australian wicketkeeper in Bradman's 'invincibles' of 1948, is a classic example of this. From the day Sir Donald first said that Tallon was the greatest wicketkeeper he ever saw, the Queenslander became everyone's choice as Australia's No 1. But in reality, to rank Tallon ahead of Blackham, cricket's first great wicketkeeper, who played his last Test 14 years before Bradman was born, is absurd.
Similarly, as it has become almost a habit to talk up the virtues of Clarrie Grimmett (a campaign led for the best part of fifty years by Grimmett's old spin-bowling partner Bill O'Reilly), everyone forgot that no less than Sir Jack Hobbs though Arthur Mailey was Grimmett's superior.
Finally remember . .
. . . it is not the intention . . . to settle friendly arguments so much as to start them . . .
I think that it's time to call time on the voting for the CW ATG Indian XI. Prasanna is the last man into the team after edging out Bedi by one vote;
01. Sunil Gavaskar
02. Vijay Merchant
03. Rahul Dravid
04. Sachin Tendulkar
05. Vijay Hazare
06. Vinoo Mankad
07. Farokh Engineer
08. Kapil Dev
09. Anil Kumble
10. Javagal Srinath
11. Erapalli Prasanna
I think that it's an excellent team with solid openers, a classy middle order, and good batting depth with Kapil Dev coming in at No.8. There is great variety in the attack with 2 quicks, 1 off-spinner, 1 leg-spinner, and 1 left-arm ordodox.
Obviously the team would be at it's best on the subcontinent because of the strike power of Anil Kumble on home-grown wickets. But if Prasanna were to repeat his efforts made during the 1967/68 tour of Australia then he and Kapil Dev could make life uncomfortable for any opposing batting line-up in an away series.
Thanks everyone for their participation! Let the post-mortems begin......
Last edited by watson; 10-01-2013 at 04:34 AM.
If SJS comes back on here, can he tell me what he knows of Ghulam Ahmed, who had a fairly brief but decent test career. He and Gupte did well against the Commonwealth xi tourists as well I believe. How is he viewed in the ranks of Indian spinners?
Also, did anyone - wanting to include Bedi but not wanting two left-arm orthodox bowlers - consider having Ashwin in the side as the second allrounder? He can bat, you know....
I am scared Ashwin may meet the same fate. Ashwin is good enough to bat at number five/six for India (in Tests) NOW and might only get better. Then his bowling can be seen as a big bonus instead of cribbing about his diminishing returns while continuing to play him at number eight. Whispers have already turned louder on "why shouldn't he be dropped"
Having said that, until he plays at a batsman's spot and scores big runs, to compare him with Mankad (as a batsman) is unfair to both. As a bowler, he is not in Mankad's league. If that changes great for India. But to talk of someone with a year and a bit in international cricket for a side that has been playing for 70 years does appear a bit strange, don't you think?
Coming to Ghulam Ahmed.
One has not seen him but I have heard of him from older cricketers. Apparently he was phenomenally accurate, something, had he been a left arm orthodox spinner, may have given his an even more miserly economy rate but more importantly, a bit more than the 22 tests he played during the decade of the 1950's.
In India, in those days, off spinners were treated with contempts. The leg spinners were considered the wicket takers who might be a bit more expensive but have higher strike rates while the left arm spinners the one's to keep the batsmen tied up and they may either throw their wickets away wildly or fall to the other bowlers. Off break was something most top batsmen also tried their hands at and many would bowl a fastish variety at a pinch.
Ghulam, thus, always played second fiddle to Gupte and Mankad, who were, of course, superb bowlers at all levels.
He started his career with a series against West Indies at home and ended with another against them where he was one of four captains tried in the five Test series. Of course, the change os leadership did nothing to prevent the 3-0 drubbing India got from a vastly superior side but Ghulam, who played and led in two, left the game in disgust after being dropped.
In between these two series against the West Indies, in which he did not do particularly well, he played 17 Tests and took 59 wickets at just over 25 each. Not a bad show really but it was Prasanna, who made his debut two years after Ghulam's departure who is remembered, rightly so, as India's greatest off spinner. Even Prasanna faced the bias against off spinners, albeit to a lesser extent with the result that although his career span was longer in terms of years from debut till last match, he played far fewer games than the leg spinner Chandra and the left armer Bedi.
While no one talked of Bedi and Chandra's being rabbits with the bat and nincompoops on the field, it was only Prasanna who was droppped on these grounds to include a far inferior off spinner in the form of Venkatraghvan.
So I guess some of Ghulam's troubles are explained by this bias. Although, as in the case of Prasanna versus Venkit, it has often been suggested that 'selectorial' (is there such a word?) bias and 'other considerations' were in play and these were just excuses. I suppose the truth lay somewhere in between. Unlike Prasanna, however, Ghulam appears to have been a very mild and soft character where as Prasanna was slightly more temperamental - nowhere near what Bedi was though :o)
As a bowler, Ghulam had a classical action and was even compared to Laker at times (high praise indeed) with fabulous control. He was also endowed with great staying power. The 92 odd overs he bowled in an innings in a Ranji semifinal in 1951 was a world record till Sonny Ramadhin bowled 98 in a Test match 7 years later.
Ghulam had superb control over the flight and the line and length. It is best to conclude with his obituary in the Wisden
GHULAM AHMED, who died on October 28, 1998, aged 76, was a harbinger of the great Indian spin bowling tradition. He bowled off-breaks with a high, handsome action, sometimes compared to Jim Laker's, and on the right wicket could be just as effective. Ghulam made his Test debut at Calcutta in 1948-49, when Everton Weekes scored twin hundreds. But Ghulam dismissed him both times, and took four for 94 in the first innings. Against England in 1951-52 he was highly successful, and was instrumental in India's maiden victory at Madras, before becoming by far the most potent member of a weak attack on the 1952 tour of England. "He had days when he looked in the highest world class," said Wisden, "but on other occasions he lacked bite."
Later that year he helped Mankad bowl India to victory in Pakistan's first Test match, at Delhi, and - improbably - scored 50, sharing a last-wicket stand of 109 with H. R. Adhikari, still an Indian record. His subsequent career was deeply involved with shifts in local cricket politics. In 1955-56, Ghulam captained India against New Zealand in his home town of Hyderabad, then mysteriously resigned. A year later, he bowled Australia out at Calcutta, taking seven for 49, only to be eclipsed by Richie Benaud. In 1958-59, against West Indies, he was captain again but, after two hefty defeats, he stood down for reasons that never became clear.
"By his action," wrote one Indian observer, "he strengthened the belief of his critics that he was not a fighter." This belief does not wholly accord with his record: he took four for 245 in 92.3 overs for Hyderabad against Holkar in 1950-51, and bowled 85 overs in an innings three years earlier. Ghulam became a prominent administrator: he was secretary of the Indian Board from 1975 to 1980, and served twice as a selector; when India won the 1983 World Cup he was chairman. Asif Iqbal, who played for Pakistan, is his nephew.
© John Wisden & Co
Last edited by SJS; 10-01-2013 at 07:43 AM.
The batting is a major strength. The opening combination stands comparison with any pairing other than England's while the 3-4-5 in my opinion stands behind Australia and the West Indies but loses nothing to anyone else. There is fantastic depth too with the two great all-rounders, Engineer and even Kumble at number nine.
The bowling, however, concerns me. Kapil Dev was a truly superb all-round cricketer and a very fine bowler, but up against the other teams selected so far his new-ball partnership with Srinath is colossally outmatched. The spin attack is obviously world class and offers great variety too, but I fear might struggle to translate its effectiveness across all venues and conditions.
My biggest worry for this team - remembering of course the other teams it will be up against - is its ability to consistently take 20 wickets.
READ THIS IT IS AWESOME !!
While on Ghulam Ahmed, here is a superb article on that last series and the captaincy woes of India towards the end of the 1950's
India's selectors during the 1958-59 series against West Indies spent more time on political infighting than addressing the team's problems
November 19, 2011
For much of the time cricket selectors have an unenviable job: ignored when their picks do well and lambasted when they do not. Often the criticism can be over the top, but at others it is fully justified. India's selectors during the series at home against West Indies in 1958-59 would without question fall into the latter category, although, as Wisden noted, the players hardly helped. In the five Tests four different captains were used, while behind the scenes civil war raged.
In early November, West Indies arrived for a gruelling three-and-a-half month tour of India and Pakistan on the back of a hard-fought series win against Pakistan in the Caribbean earlier in the year. They possessed a powerful batting line-up and a bowling attack led by two fearsome fast bowlers, Wes Hall and Roy Gilchrist. India had not played a Test for two years, when they had lost a three-match series to Australia.
West Indies looked impressive in their five warm-up matches. Although they only won one, their batsmen quickly adapted to the conditions, and Hall and Gilchrist proved too fast for most provincial opponents.
Even before the first ball of the series, India had problems, almost entirely resulting from behind-the-scenes machinations. Lala Amarnath, who had been chairman of selectors since 1957 and was pushing for players to be picked on merit, as opposed to regional lobbying, found himself at odds with his colleagues from the start.
The trouble started when Amarnath used his casting vote to pick 36-year-old Ghulam Ahmed as captain for the opening Test. A good cricketer, his best years were behind him and his fielding was questionable. Critics pointed out he was a friend of Amarnath's. There was also a bitter row over whether to include Pankaj Roy to open, and again Amarnath used a casting vote to secure his place.
A week before the first Test in Bombay, Ghulam Ahmed withdrew with a knee injury. Amarnath cabled the BCCI suggesting Manohar Hardikar be drafted in to replace him, and was livid to find LP Jai, one of the selectors from the home city, had instead acted unilaterally and called up local spinner Bapu Nadkarni. Amarnath's anger was exacerbated when he found Jai, in the absence of a formally named vice-captain, had announced Polly Umrigar would lead the side.
Under Umrigar, India drew the first Test. Jai sat alone in the pavilion while the rest of the selection panel fumed in a committee box. At the end of the match they finally got together but within minutes Jai had stormed out of an acrimonious meeting, subsequently reporting Amarnath to the BCCI for using abusive language. The Bombay newspapers attacked Amarnath for what they portrayed as his anti-Bombay behaviour. Jai, meanwhile, refused to resign, but he also boycotted the selection meetings.
A fit-again Ghulam Ahmed returned for the second Test, but India lost by 203 runs and the selectors made four changes for the next match, at Eden Gardens. However, India were crushed by an innings and 336 runs, bowled out for 124 and 154 in reply to West Indies' 614 for 5. The players needed a police escort from the ground back to their hotel.
Despite these defeats, Ghulam Ahmed, whose own performances had been poor, and who had been subjected to personal abuse by the Calcutta crowd, was named captain for the fourth Test, only for him to announce his retirement a few days later to "make way for a younger man".
The selectors then turned on each other, as some of them sought to use the unrest to blatantly push their own regional favourites. They did at least manage to agree that Umrigar would be restored to the captaincy.
Then Vijay Manjrekar withdrew from the squad with an injury, prompting the BCCI secretary - not a selector - to contact Umrigar and inform him the board president favoured Jasu Patel, an offspinner. A furious Umrigar refused to accede to the suggestion, insisting a batsman and not a bowler would replace a batsman. The conversations were long and acrimonious.
The dust seemed to finally settle only for Umrigar to resign after the eve-of-match dinner. The selectors frantically tried to persuade him to reconsider but he refused, saying he had had enough. Bizarrely, he remained in the side.
With no time to summon anyone else, Vinoo Mankad, who had missed the first three Tests because of a pay dispute with the BCCI, was hastily appointed captain. Given the backroom chaos, it was no surprise India lost by 295 runs.
Amarnath announced the team for the final Test, in Delhi, would be one aimed at planning for the forthcoming tour of England, and immediately vetoed retaining Mankad as captain, as he felt Mankad was too negative. Yet another row ensued and eventually Gulabrai Ramchand emerged as the favourite.
Unanimity could not be reached but the panel was getting closer to a decision when the selector who had initially proposed Ramchand withdrew his support for him. A frustrated Amarnath then put forward 39-year-old Hemu Adhikari's name, and despite the panel again failing to agree, he forced through the appointment. Such was the chaos by this time that Ramchand, who had come within minutes of leading the side, was not even named in the squad. Under Adhikari, India rallied and managed to draw the match, but the public's anger remained and Adhikari immediately said he would not tour England. Nine days after the series ended, India's parliament held a debate on what was described as a "national catastrophe". The cricketers were dismissed as "unfit ambassadors", the BCCI was singled out for criticism, being accused of "terrible rot and corruption", and one member said the trip to England should be cancelled.
Later that week, and seemingly oblivious of the need to put regional bias behind them for the national good, the selectors met to pick the side for the England trip. Within minutes the meeting had descended into a bitter argument. It was clear nothing was going to change in the short term.
What happened next?
India were whitewashed 5-0 in the series in England, Wisden noting "one of India's biggest problems, that of captaincy, has been with them for many years"
Amarnath remained chairman of selectors until the end of the victorious home series against Australia in 1959-60
Umrigar toured England in 1959 and continued to play Tests for India for another three years. Mankad continued playing for another three years but was not picked for his country again. Adhikari and Ghulam Ahmed retired at the end of the 1958-59 season
Source : ESPNcricinfo
Last edited by SJS; 10-01-2013 at 07:47 AM.
This is fascinating stuff - as always - SJS.
It was a terrible day for the game when that happened.
I remember a quote attributed I think to Len Hutton in the early 1970s, to the effect that there was no fast bowler in the world at that time who he would have rated ahead of Amar Singh. High praise indeed, considering some of the quicks who were getting about in the '70s.
I've wondered about him too. I had previously thought he was an out-and-out quick. According to Wikipedia Wally Hammond said that "as dangerous an opening bowler as I have ever seen, coming off the pitch like the crack of doom" and Wisden's report of his Test at Lord's said "Amar Singh bowled almost as well, making the ball curl in the air either from leg or from the off and causing it to come off the pitch at a tremendous pace".
Others have said he was a swing bowler, though - his obiturary in Wisden (1940 - he died aged 29) says "A very good right-hand fast-medium bowler with easy delivery, he swung the ball; and pace from the pitch made him difficult to time".
And we still haven't walked in the glow of each other's majestic presence.
Two of the best Indian pace bowlers came on their very first tour of England in 1932 - Mohammad Nissar and Amar Singh. Nissar was, probably, certainly for the first few overs, the fastest of all Indian bowlers, while Amar Singh, who was fast medium with a short run and moved the ball was, arguably, the best.
~ Trevor Bailey in From Lillee to Larwood
Fazal Mehmood, Pakistani great, considers Nissar better, He writes in his recently published autobiography From Dawn to Dusk (2003)
In the sub-continent, the most outstanding fast bowler was undoubtedly Mohammad Nissar. He was the fastest bowler EVER produced in our part of the world. He caused a sensation inthe English cricket camp when he visited England in 1936. Throughout his career he never bowled a bouncer. Whenever his captain asked him to do so against a well set batsman, Nissar declined saying, "This is not my style"
Of the fast bowling of these two in the first ever Test match of India at Lord's in 1932, Swanton in his definitive History of Cricket wrote
They lost the Test but their defeat left them , by no means, without honour and better bowling on a good wicket has not often been seen at Lord's than that of Nissar and Amar Singh . . . Nissar, a youthful heavyweight with a long bounding run, bowled really fast and could move the new ball either way, but the greater of the two was Amar Singh, at his best the most dangerous opening bowler in the world at that time.With his broad shoulders, strong tapering frame, and elastic delivery, Amar Singh made the ball move late in the air and like lightening from the pitch, These two were a nightmare to Holmes and Sutcliffe in both innings and but for Jardine, there would have been only one result to the match
On Amar Singh's aggressive and unorthodox batting, Neville Cardus wrote after the 1936 Manchester Test
I shall never forget the innings played by Amar Singh. India were still losing when he came to the crease and he at once began to cleave the bowling with a bat apparently transformed into a scimitar. This was primitive cricket., yet glowing with a style of its own, a beauty which had its own mysterious axis and balance. Amar Singh's off side strokes were like shooting stars - all wrong in our English astronomy, but all right splendid in some other dazzling solar system. Most cricketers would have gone into protective sheaths.
Most England batsman agreed with that assessment that Amar Singh was the most dangerous new ball bowler in the world at that time . . . and remember, Larwood was at his prime and ready to unleash bodyline in a few month's time . . .
to be continued . . .
Last edited by SJS; 10-01-2013 at 10:43 AM.
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