London Event Lauds Legacy of Indian Cricket

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The commemoration was preceded by a moving moment when the guests were asked to observe a minute’s silence for the seven players who participated in the match, but are today no more … reports Asian Lite News

Here and Now 365 and Ray Events held a memorable event at the Taj St James Court Hotel in London to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of India’s first cricket test and series victory in England in 1971. 83-year-old Farokh Engineer, who was top scorer for India in the match, attended in-person. 

Bhagwath Chandrasekhar, 76, who bowled India to the historic win with haul of six for 38 in England’s second innings, appeared, as did Sunil Gavaskar, who opened the batting for India in the game. John Jameson, who is now 80 and scored 82 for England, represented the home side.

Ravi Shastri, head coach of the Indian cricket team currently playing a test at the same venue, also took part.

Shastri was just nine-years-old when the landmark moment in Indian cricket occurred. He said he had sitting in Mumbai listened avidly to the radio commentary on the BBC World Service.

The audience were shown highlights of the 1971 Oval test, including a sound bite from the late Ajit Wadekar, who captained the Indian side.

The commemoration was preceded by a moving moment when the guests were asked to observe a minute’s silence for the seven players who participated in the match, but are today no more. They are, apart from Wadekar, Dilip Sardesai, Ashok Mankad and Eknath Solkar of India, and Brian Luckhurst, John Edrich and Basil D’Oliviera of England.

Appreciation from the 100-odd attendees and sponsors (ICICI Bank, West Midland India Partnership and East African Foods) who witnessed proceedings at first-hand have effusively ranged from “fantastic” to “magical”, including posts on Twitter. 

Veteran cricket broadcaster and journalist, Ashis Ray, who presented the show, appealed to businessmen present, namely Dr Kartar Lalvani of Vitabiotics, Lord Karan Bilimoria of Cobra Beer and Lord Rami Ranger of Sun Mark, to initiate a benefit fund for the heroes of 1971, who never received due compensation for their efforts.

He added: “Already a first pledge of a contribution has come in. We intend to in due course make an announcement about this. The players concerned as well as the widows of those who have departed will be taken into account. I am reliably informed the 1983 World Cup winning squad were generously rewarded by the then BCCI president Sharad Pawar. A similar gesture has sadly not been deemed fit by the present leadership of the Board.”

Manish Tiwari, co-organiser of the occasion, remarked: ‘’It’s important to remember and keep record of our beginnings and remember the players, because that’s what inspires and creates momentum for younger players. And for me personally, this was an attempt to try and bring the past glory and also to look at the forgotten stars. In some way we want to contribute and its important because then you get a sense of what your beginnings were, how you are going and collectively we can leverage our strengths better.’’