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Sunday, June 30, 2013

India - West Indies clash at Sabina Park, Kingston today.

India plays West Indies in Tri Nation tournament today… India has hit the crescendo – the Champions Trophy win adding to the win WC 2011.. giving rise to speeches that this Team is by far the best…
The venue was found way back in July 1962 reportedly  as a place for refugees and survivors of the 1692 earthquake that destroyed Port Royal. Before the earthquake, this place was used as agricultural land.  The town did not begin to grow until after the further destruction of Port Royal by the Nick Catania Pirate Fleet's fire in 1703. The government sold land to people with the regulation that they purchase no more than the amount of the land that they owned in Port Royal, and only land on the sea front. Gradually wealthy merchants began to move their residences from above their businesses to the farm lands north on the plains of Liguanea.
There were times when teams used to fear to tour West Indies and India has a bloody memory of this place.  In 1976, India toured West Indies under Bishan Singh Bedi.    WI won the first test at Bridgetown, by an innings and 97 runs.  The second one at Port of Spain was drawn and the third one on Apr 1976 was historic.  Indians chased 405 in the fourth innings and won by 6 wickets with Sunil Gavaskar and Vishwanath making centuries, ably supported by Mohinder Amarnath, Brijesh Patel and Madanlal.  In the fourth  Test no. 776 in April 1976 - score card would read  India 306/6 decl !! ; WI 391 all out.  India 97 all out and West Indies making the 13 runs required without losing a wicket.  Statistics will never reveal the real story. WW Daniel made his debut in a bloody test, where Indians were intimidated with crowds calling for blood.  The short pitched bowling was overdone and Holding from round the wickets caused most damage to the bodies of Indians.  Gaekwad’s innings was one of raw courage taking several blows on the body and arms – the gears were not so protective those days.  Gaekwad was forced to retire bleeding in his ears ~ that was the test when one player after other had to be escorted to hospital with bleeding injuries.  In the Second essay, Gavaskar failed to Holding and half of the team was not fit to play.   With 5 batsmen absent hurt – it was recorded that Indians were all out for 97.

It took place at Kingston, the  capital and largest city of Jamaica, located on the southeastern coast of the island.  Two parts make up the central area of Kingston: the historic Downtown, and New Kingston.  Sabina Park, the home of the Kingston Cricket Club, is situated in the driest part of Kingston and for many years the pitch was one of the hardest and fastest in the Caribbean. But in recent years the surface slowed, despite attempts to restore life by relaying it on more than one occasion.
Six months ago, Indian cricket was supposed to be at its nadir. On the back of those eight successive overseas Test defeats came a shocking home Test series loss to England. MS Dhoni  was severely criticized.   Things have changed so fast ! now it is  No. 1 ranked ODI side, the World Cup and Champions Trophy holder. India's opponents, West Indies, showed against Sri Lanka in the opening game why an ODI ranking of No. 8 does them no justice, especially when they actually use some of their enormous potential.
India has won 47 of its matches against the once formidable West Indies representing a win % of 43 and you will not be surprised to know that most of these have come in this century.  Prior to 1990, India clashed 32 times and won a mere 6 losing the rest 26.  The first ever win came in its 3rd encounter in 1983 at Berbice. 1983 was so good for Indians as they beat WI twice in WC 1983 – the most important one coming at Lords in the Finals on 25th June 1983, which is part of history now. Krish Srikkanth top scored there – later India won once at Calcutta in Jan 1988 and twice at Sharjah – Srikkanth scored a century in one of that becoming the MoM and 40 in the other. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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