Credit should go where it is due and this time it goes to Kapil Dev. He has suddenly emerged as an intelligent. Aggressive, thinking captain I doubt if India would have done better under Sunil Gavaskar's leadership.
It is also strange how completely Gavaskar has been eclipsed in this series. So far hia contribution has been nil and he could as well have stayed out. But I do not want to sound ungrateful and I do not want to belittle Gavaskar's achievements, his contributions to Indian cricket have been over a decade and not just restricted to the last two Tests. In the history of Indian cricket, for all times to come, his place is pre-eminent.
This series, truncated though it is over three Test and two internationals, has been unique in many ways. It has been the series of the bowlers, the much maligned Indian pace attack. Chetan Sharma, cricket's greatest trier, Roger Binny, Kapil Dev himself, even Madan Lal. A set of bowlers who have reveled in English conditions specially prepared for the English team.
It has also been the series of Raj singh Dungarpur. Not too quiet and not too unobtrusive, firm but friendly, he has stood up for the team against the English authorities, the British passport-holding Indians from East Africa (there are no more obnoxious people in England than these, being neither here nor there and not aware of it), the umpires, the conditions of play, the press. All his statements to the press have been judicious and direct, and he has taken over completely this job from Kapil Dev, who still is not quite equipped for it.
And he has guided the team, through encouragement, friendly persuasion, even to pressing Madan Lal into the team, one of the wisest moves in team selection ever made by a manager. I think it would be a good idea if Raj Singh is made a permanent manager. Just as it would be a good idea if he stops functioning as a radio and TV commentator.
And a world about Vengsarkar. Each cricketer has a season, this has been Vengsarkar's season. A lowprofile, man, a loner, quietly efficient, suddenly he has made everybody realise his value. Nothing he can do this English summer can go wrong now.
And the newcomers in the team, those in England on their first tour. There are tow types of experiences of being on a losing team and the experience of being on a winning team. For them it has been the winning team experience, just as for the new men (and new captains) in the English team it has been the experience of losers.
There is only one thing I do not understand. Why should all these politicians congratulate the team. The President of India, perhaps, yes, but why the prime minister and why the minister of state for internal security. And why should the newspapers report their congratulatory messages.