Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Team India: Then and Now

So injury and team India do go hand-in-hand! Even for the first ever test match for India, it was true.

Nayudu, team India’s captain for the first ever test match, had hurt his hand in the first innings. The injury happened while he unsuccessfully tried to catch Ames in the gully.

So how he was selected as the captain is quite an interesting story. The tour captain, the Maharajah of Porbandar, did not select himself as the captain because he was well aware of his dire form. And so, he selected Nayudu as the captain because he was the best batsman of India and had relevant experience of being able to play in the English conditions. What’s important to remember here is the fact that in those times, only a prince could become the captain. This was because only a prince could be unbiased towards issues likes caste, creed and sectionalism.

Nayudu was lucky in that sense. He would have never had become the captain of the match as the team did not approve of him. But again, the reason was injury (not himself)! Prince Ghanshyamsinghji of Limbdi, the then vice-captain, was unfit to take over the charge of team India. He had played a lot of cricket against Eastern Counties and sprained his back! (And we complain about IPL!)

Too much of cricket was a curse then, and a problem now! And if that was not enough, S Nazir Ali and PE Palia, members of the playing XI, also strained their leg muscles while fielding. This left the bowling department injured and ineffective.

As we know, we lost that match by 158 runs. The only notable performances were given by M Nissar– 5/93 and M Jahangir Khan – 4/60. A special mention for L Amar Singh for his superb all-round performance: 2/75, 2/84, and the only half century scored by team India – 51 runs.

All-in-all, injury has a remarkable connection with cricket in India. Since the first match till the recent one, our players are struggling. What do you think is the problem: Negligence or Avoidance?

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