Indian cricket team needs to take inspiration from this yester year stalwart!

The first Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy turned out to be a disappointment for India, not only they lost the match by 8-wickets, but the Asian Giants also registered their name in some unwanted record books. Indian cricket felt humiliated at Lord’s on June 24, 1974 and one could not escape that feeling on December 19, 2020. It was 42, the lowest Indian total back then against England, and it’s 36, the new low that Indian cricket hit on the day against Australia at Adeliade.
On Day 3 of the Day-Night Test, Australian pacer dominated Indian batters to restrict them for just 36 before the dinner break. On that day, the Indian innings terminated at 9 down with B S Chandrasekhar being “absent hurt”. On Saturday, it was Mohammed Shami, who had to retire hurt. The hosts chased down the target ahead of the second sessions with 8 wickets in hands. 
After suffering a embarassing defeat in the first Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Adelaide, Team India will aim to bounce back in the Melbourne Boxing day test match of four-match Test series against Australia.

They can take inspiration from an Indian classic player who played with one good leg and one eye at the same ground of MCG. It is non other than Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi.

When Tiger Patuadi walked in to bat at MCG in 1967-68 India were at 25/5. He was in need of a runner because of a pulled hamstring. He couldn’t play not many front foot shots but he played stirringly despite these problems, in difficult batting conditions. Pataudi attacked the fiery Aussie pace bowlers effortlessly even with his footwork affected by a hamstring injury.

It did surprise many when Patuadi choose to bat on a green wicket when India won the toss. Patuadi knows India did not have much by way of pace bowling, and he must have been hoping that his spinners would come into their own in the fourth innings. As expected, the ball was swinging both ways under the clouds. Indian batting line-up fell apart against Graham McKenzie and company.
Patuadi saw his batters are falling around him on first day. Tiger was bravely waging a lone battle in the middle. Also he was keen to prove that he wasn’t wrong opting to bat first. As the day went on he proceeded to play some thrilling leg-side strokes, including several hooks. Watching Tiger’s batting former Australian cricketer Lindsay Hassett said , “That’s the way Bradman used to attack the bowling.” There came an Indian innings of character, intelligence and respectability.
Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi  had scored six Test hundreds in his career including a double ton, but many cricket pundits considered this Innings at MCG as his finest of his career.

He has showed spirit, lot of courage and a touch of anger and was batting with an injured leg. And in that anger he started middling the ball, lifting it over the inner circle. He was not afraid at all, and in this way he put question marks in the bowlers’ minds as to where exactly to bowl to him. With these unusual methods he pushed the team along from 25 for 5 to 162 with team bundled out on 173.
In the second innings, with India facing an innings defeat, Pataudi scored another half-century, and added 54 with the Number 10, Ramakant Desai. Though, India lost the match by innings and 4 runs, but Tiger had played a glorious innings, taking the Australian bowling by the scruff. Deservedly this innings made it to No. 14 in Wisden Asia Cricket’s list of the top 25 Indian Test innings.

Following the heavy defeat at the Adelaide Oval, India have their task cut-out to stay alive in the four-match Test series. The second test i.e the Boxing day Test will commence on December 26 at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground, MCG.

By Paramdeep Rathee

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