Meet the person who was a part of India’s first take a look at win

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The lone survivor amongst Vijay Hazare’s males who triumphed by an innings and eight runs over a Donald Carr-led England to register India’s first Take a look at victory on February 10, 1952 at Chepauk, tall and erect Chingleput Doraikannu Gopinath wears his 90 years flippantly. Blessed with a razor-sharp reminiscence, he remembers with quiet delight the enjoyment of that historic second within the annals of Indian cricket. It was maybe the primary time that Indian cricketers realised their means to compete on equal phrases with their worldwide rivals, even when the guests they’d simply defeated weren’t at their full energy, with stars like Peter Might, Colin Cowdrey and Fred Trueman not making the journey.

An image of Chingleput Doraikannu Gopinath from his enjoying days

Whilst Virat Kohli’s workforce, heady from the latest expertise of its personal “second eleven” defeating Australia in Australia, takes on Joe Root’s England at full energy, it’s good to recognise the euphoria Gopinathandhis teammates will need to have felt again then.

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Whereas Welshman Alan Watkins was the main scorer for England with 450 Take a look at runs on the tour, and off spinner Roy Tattersall picked up 21 wickets, batting stylist Tom Graveney and quick bowling workhorse Brian Statham had been to emerge afterwards as world class cricketers. For India, bespectacled Pankaj Roy (387 runs) high scored and left arm spinner Vinoo Mankad led the bowling with 34 wickets within the collection.

The Madras Take a look at was the fifth match of the rubber, with England going into that ultimate Take a look at with a 1-Zero lead. Gopinath, a pure strokemaker and a prolific scorer in home cricket, had entered the Madras Take a look at stuffed with confidence after an excellent 50 not out and a combating 42 (entering into at 77 for six) on debut within the second Take a look at at Bombay. He had batted at no. 8, adopted by the nice all-rounder Mankad at 9.

The Indian team of 1952 lead by Vijay Hazare that beat England. Gopinath is third from the left top row

The Indian workforce of 1952 lead by Vijay Hazare that beat England. Gopinath is third from the left high row

Regardless of amassing 485 for 9 declared within the first innings and gaining a 29-run lead, India had been at risk of dropping that Take a look at, earlier than a 71-run stand between Gopinath and Mankad (41) for the ninth wicket made the sport protected for India because it reached 208 and set England a goal of 238 in 100 minutes. “The captain, Vijay Hazare, will need to have been happy with my effort. With the match completely protected, he unexpectedly threw me the brand new ball within the second innings, although I used to be within the facet as a pure batsman. And to my nice shock, I really had the opener Lowson caught at slip by Sohoni for my solely Take a look at wicket.”

How did Gopinath deal with the quick bowling of Ridgway and Statham, by no means having confronted real tempo in home cricket? “I used to be fairly comfy having already encountered related bowling from touring the Commonwealth workforce in unofficial Checks a yr earlier. I even hooked and minimize short-pitched bowling efficiently.” In actual fact, his sq. minimize had been described as the very best in India by George Duckworth, the visiting workforce’s supervisor in a newspaper column.

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Batting first, England was restricted to 266 all out, because of an incisive spell of left arm spin by Mankad (Eight for 55). In reply, India declared at 457 for 9, with Polly ‘Palm Tree Hitter’ Umrigar topscoring with an unbeaten 130, Pankaj Roy (111) and Dattu Phadkar (61) additionally making runs, whereas skipper Hazare and Lala Amarnath had been dismissed early. Whereas the tall and athletic Umrigar entertained the capability crowd together with his attacking strokeplay, Roy had been stable and fearless on the high. Receiving a hero’s welcome from his house crowd, Gopinath made a most pleasing 35 with seven boundaries in a partnership of 93 with Umrigar, however threw his wicket away in search of fast runs earlier than the declaration. “The declaration was delayed a bit, and I missed what may have been one other half century.”

Within the second innings, with Mankad (four for 53) and Ghulam Ahmed (four for 77) engineering a collapse, it was throughout for England at 183, when Gopinath caught Statham off Mankad on the boundary line to uproarious applause from the stands.

Whereas there was a lot pleasure within the dressing room, with handshakes and backslapping throughout, there was no uncorking of champagne bottles. The gamers collected their package luggage and went house, native boy Gopinath to his parental house, and the others to the visitor lodging the place they’d been billeted. Even the England gamers did so, for resort stays had been nonetheless a factor of the long run. The BCCI was maybe the poorest cricket physique on this planet then. Naturally, no bonus was introduced for the India gamers who every needed to be content material together with his match payment of Rs 250 — ‘smoke allowance’ because it was known as.

The match ball of the 1952 Test is a treasured souvenir at Gopinath’s home

The match ball of the 1952 Take a look at is a treasured memento at Gopinath’s house

It was the primary milestone in Indian cricket, worthy of unrestrained celebration, however to place issues in perspective, India was to lose a 4 Take a look at collection 0-Three whereas touring England in 1952, regardless of Mankad’s heroic 72 and 184 plus 5 for 196 within the well-known “Mankad Take a look at”.

It took 16 extra years for India to win a collection abroad – in New Zealand. Not earlier than 1971 did India beat the West Indies and England on their soil. The final frontier, Australia, was solely crossed in 2018.

The writer is a cricket historian and former first-class cricketer


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