The eerie similarities were inevitable when the Indian innings ended at 36/9 (considered all things considered) when the number 11 batsman Mohammed Shami was eliminated after hitting a short ball from Pat Cummins on his bowling forearm . And so India had registered the lowest number of tests ever.
If, for those who can rewind their memories, an equally shameful series of events resulted in India registering its lowest total at Lord’s at the time – 42 against England – over 46 years ago. By then the Indian innings had also ended at 42/9 with the last man, BS Chandrasekhar, “absent-injured”.
If English pacemen Chris Old and Geoff Arnold claimed five and four in an inspired swing bowling spell on a green top at Lord’s, it was Saturday’s Josh Hazlewood (five) and Pat Cummins (four) who did a lovely stitching exhibition -Bowling featured a bouncing Adelaide oval course.
“I never thought that I would ever see another day like this,” complained GR Viswanath, who was a victim of Arnold that day. “But unfortunately after 46 years I had to. I still remember the day we all got off for 42, it was a terrible feeling. The whole team was down. We had this sinking feeling as a team. I can relate to how they (the current players) would feel now, ”said Viswanath DH.
However, the former Indian captain paid tribute to Australian bowlers. “It’s one of those days when everything you play takes the edge. Of course they bowled well (Arnold and Old), it was great swing bowling on a green wicket. And when I saw Hazlewood and Cummins picking wickets, it was like that. You’ve rolled excellent lines and lengths throughout, but you would have missed those balls another day. “
Sunil Gavaskar in his autobiographical work Sunny daysrecalls how Wadekar’s team, particularly the late Skipper Wadekar, was humiliated at the Indian High Commissioner’s residence.
“… Our bus was delayed in traffic and we reached the entrance to Kensington Gardens at around 7pm. The entrance was too narrow for the big bus to go in and we all had to get off and hurry past a few houses until we got to the residence of the High Commissioner …
“… When Ajit went in, we were still in the driveway of the house. When we reached the porch, Ajit returned dejected and grim. When we asked what was going on, Ajit replied: “He (High Commissioner) asked us to get out.”
The manager Lt. Col. Hemu Adhikari literally had tears in his eyes when he “ordered the boys” to come back as everyone felt offended and refused to go back. After some persuasion, they gave in.
“The high commissioner hugged Ajit and apologized for the loss of temperament …” the maestro recalled.
The 42 all-out was in the second Test and India lost the next in Birmingham to lose the series 0-3.
Wadekar was sacked as captain and dropped not only from the national team, but also from the western zone.
Wadekar could not stand this humiliation and announced his retirement from all types of cricket.
However, Kohli can rest assured that he would not even see half the light weight of Wadekar.
(With entries from PTI)