Thursday, July 05, 2007

On paying adequate homage

Mukul Kesavan pens a lovely piece on Dilip Sardesai. I managed to avoid some of the blindsight that Kesavan describes (in our ignoring Sardesai's contributions during that magical year (1971)) largely because one of the first descriptions I read of that year was in Ajit Wadekar's autobiography. Wadekar was extremely generous in his tributes to Sardesai, pointing out something that most discerning fans have agreed with in their analysis of the win in the West Indies: that it was Sardesai's double-ton in the drawn Kingston test (the first of the series) which was the crucial Indian performance in that series win. For that double-ton enabled an Indian total of 387 (the next highest scores were 61 and 25), which enabled a sizeable 150-plus lead, which led to India asking the West Indies to follow-on (one days play had been washed out, and the great Garfield Sobers, unaware of the laws of the game in this regard, was surprised and shocked when Wadekar asked the Windies to bat again). A crucial psychological blow had been struck; a cricketing Rubicon had been crossed, and India never regarded themselves as inferior to the Windies for the rest of the series.

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