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Friday, August 30, 2019

WI pick big burly Rahkeem Cornwall ~ India .. leaves out Ravi Ashwin again

20.3 – big burly Cornwall to Kohli, no run, big appeal for lbw and West Indies have reviewed this! It did appeared close – full ball, hitting Kohli pretty low – pitched outside off .. .. .. and Jason Holder went up for review.. results showed that ball had spun so much that it would have 3rd or 4th leg stump ! .. Heavyweight allrounder Rahkeem Cornwall  handed debut  has already held a catch and then dismissed Pujara too .. .  The 26-year-old off-spinning allrounder, who is 1.98 metres tall and weighs in at 140 kilograms, did not play in the first test in Antigua when the West Indies were crushed by 318 runs inside four days. He has been a consistent performer for Leeward Islands and West Indies A and offers sharp turn with the ball and depth to the batting. Cornwall comes in for medium-pacer Miguel Cummins while wicketkeeper-batsman Jahmar Hamilton becomes the first cricketer from the US Virgin Islands to play at senior level for the West Indies. He replaces in place of Shai Hope, who failed a late fitness test.

India have retained the same team which won so convincingly at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium  that means the star bowler with 342 wickets is still not playing.  On a ground, where Indians once had blood bath in 1976 – WI is bowling an offie so early and India is dropping the World best off spinner – Ravichandran Ashwin – what is happening ?   If premier spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, had played here, he could easily have got his chance to equal  spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan's record of being the fastest to 350 Test wickets in 66 Tests. Ravichandran Ashwin has picked up 342 wickets from 65 matches so far  at an average of 25.43. He has  incredible 26 five-wicket hauls to his name in the longest format.  Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar, who is a part of the commentary panel for the broadcaster of the series, was stunned at Virat Kohli's decision to leave Ashwin out in the 1st test. "[The selection] astonished me," Gavaskar said during the commentary. "A man with that kind of record, especially against the West Indies. He doesn't find a place in this playing XI. That is stunning. Astonishing."  .. .. and what will he say now !! Ashwin's last Test appearance came during India's tour to Australia in 2018. After that he continues to be overlooked in the side.  

The scene is at Jamaica.  The Jamaica Govt recently said it is committed to holding referenda to decide on a number of issues of national importance, including replacing Queen Elizabeth 11, as head of state and the island joining the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). The CCJ, established in 2003 to replace the London-based Privy Council as the region’s final court, also serves as an international tribunal interpreting the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the regional integration movement. While most of the CARICOM countries have signed on to the Court’s original jurisdiction, only Barbados, Belize, Dominica and Guyana are signatories to the appellate jurisdiction.

Kingston was founded in July 1692 as a place for survivors of the 1692 earthquake that destroyed Port Royal. Before the earthquake, Kingston's functions were purely agricultural. The earthquake survivors set up a camp on the sea front.  Kingston is the capital and largest city of Jamaica, located on the southeastern coast of the island. It faces a natural harbor protected by the Palisadoes, a long sand spit which connects the town of Port Royal and the Norman Manley International Airport to the rest of the island.  Two parts make up the central area of Kingston: the historic Downtown, and New Kingston. Both are served by Norman Manley International Airport and also by the smaller and primarily domestic Tinson Pen Aerodrome. Jamaica has always had a vibrant civil aviation industry with the first flight reported in the island on 21 Dec 1911,  eight years after the world recorded its first powered flight by the Wright Brothers. Nineteen years later, on 3 December 1930, the first commercial flight, a Consolidated Commodore twin-engine flying boat operated by Pan American Airways (which eventually became Pan American World Airways), landed in Kingston Harbour.

Test no. 2359 between India and West Indies in ICC World Test Championship got off to a start today.  India, thus far, has played 12 Tests here, having won only 2 – in 2006 & 2011.  India played their first Test here way back in Apr 1953 – a heavy scoring match.  Pankaj Roy (85) and Polly Umrigar (117) took India to 312 in 141 overs.  Windies replied strongly with 576 – Clyde Walcott 118 and Frank Worrel 237 took them along – Subhash Gupte and Vinoo Mankad claimed 5 apiece. In the 2nd Vijay Manjrekar & Pankaj Roy scored centuries helping India to 444 -  West Indies were 92/4 when it was a draw.

Today , West Indies handed Test debuts to Rahkeem Cornwall and Jahmar Hamilton as their captain Jason Holder chose to bowl in the second Test in Kingston.  A Jamaican government minister has demanded that the British Museum repatriates objects in its collection taken when the island was a colony. The culture minister, Olivia Grange, wants the museum to return artefacts including a 500-year-old carved wooden figure thought to represent Boiyanel, a rain god; and a carved figure of a bird-man spirit found in a cave in 1792. The demand adds to a growing debate over whether institutions such as the British Museum should hold on to objects culturally significant to their country of origin. Grange made her demands in the Jamaican parliament last week. The Jamaica Gleaner reported her as saying the artefacts were taken during early archeological digs when the island was still a British colony. She said the pieces were made by the Taíno, the indigenous people of the Caribbean encountered by the 15th-century western explorers. “They are not even on display,” Grange said. “They are priceless, they are significant to the story of Jamaica and they belong to the people of Jamaica.”

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.

That was the background of the Fourth Test at Kingston – Test no. 776 on 21 – 25th April 1976.  The 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.  Wisden reported that the bounce was uneven and match folded much earlier.  No doubt the WI had class quickies but the strategy was questionable and many batsmen suffered nasty injuries trying to take evasive action.  The short pitched bowling was over done and Holding from round the wickets caused most damage to the bodies of Indians.  The result could not have been dreamt of from the first day.  At stumps on bad light curtailed day one Indians were 178/1; Gavaskar bowled Holding for 66; Anshuman Gaekwad 58* and Mohinder 25* firm at the crease.  Gaekwad’s innings was one of raw courage taking several blows on the body and arms – the gears were not so protective those days.  With the score at 237 Gaekwad was forced to retire bleeding in his ears.  At 273 Brijesh Patel retired hit on the mouth.  At 306 Venkatraghavan got out.  Bedi wished to protect himself and Chandrasekhar from injuries and hence declared at 306/6.  that was the test when one player after other had to be escorted to hospital with bleeding injuries.  Fredericks scored 82 and at one stage WI floundered at 217/6 but recovered to make 391.  Chandra took 5 for 135; Bedi & Venkat two apiece.

In the Second essay, Gavaskar failed to Holding and half of the team was not fit to play.   Mohinder made a gutsy 60.  Only Gavaskar, Vengsarkar, Mohinder, Madanlal, Kirmani and Venkat padded up.  Gaekwad was not in a position to play – so also were Gundappa Vishwanath and Brijesh Patel.  Bedi & Chandra did not bat for the second time and with 5 batsmen absent hurt – it was recorded that Indians were all out for 97.

A sad test it was – and though neither the present West Indies nor the Sabina Park stands anywhere near to that 1976 – it is sad in another way for keeping Ravi Ashwin out !!

Regards – S. Sampathkumar.
30th Aug 2019.

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