Saga of Indian Defeats in England

M G Singh By M G Singh, 3rd Jan 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Sports>Sports

Indian has invariably done badly in England and there is need to blood the team so that it does not lose all the time

England Tours and Defeats

The 2011 series is over and India has hurtled to a defeat. But a hark back to time will show that India has suffered worse defeats on English soil. One of the main reasons for the Indian defeats in England is the inability of Indian batsmen to negotiate the moving ball. It is a well-known fact that the wet and damp English conditions accentuate the property of the ball to swing in the air or move of the seam.

Tours Prior to 1947

The tours prior to independence (1947) were not as big a disaster as this tour. In fact the first test in 1932 saw India play creditably. India also was not badly trounced in the 1936 and 1946 tours. In fact on the 1946 tour India lost only one test match and Vijay Merchant hit over 2000 runs on the tour.

The 1952 Tour

After India gained independence a saga of defeats commenced. The 1952 tour of England under Hazare is worth a look. India played 4 test matches and lost 3 of them by huge margins, with one match washed out by rain. Except for one test at Lords when Vinoo Mankad hit 72 and 184 and took 5 wickets the Indians had scores of 0-4, 5-6 etc against Fred Truman. His pace unnerved the Indians and except for Vijay Hazare the Indian batting folded up like a pack of cards. It was a wet summer and the Indians were simply out of their depth.

Losing all 5 Test Matches

The situation during the 1959 tour was worse as India lost all 5 test matches. The Indian batsmen again failed abysmally and except for a fight back in the 4th test match at the oval when Polly Umrigar and Abbas Ali Baig hit centuries the Indians were simply not a credible match. The Indian team crossed 300 only once in 10 innings. This was the first occasion of any team losing all 5 tests matches in world cricket and the Indian captain DK Gaekwad came a cropper and was sacked.

Colossal Defeats in 1967 and 1974

The 1967 tour of England was again a sad occasion, except for Pataudi who stood up to the pace and swing of the English bowlers all other Indian batsmen were at sea and the vaunted Chandu Borde totaled 60 runs in 6 innings. Needless to say that India lost all 3 test matches, yet Tiger Pataudi led from the front and earned a creditable review.

The 1974 tour of England was perhaps one of the worst as at Lords India touched the nadir of their cricket graph with a score of 42 all out, this with Gavaskar and Vishwanath in the team. Needless to add, that India were totally outplayed and lost the series 3-0. The Indian batsmen failed abjectly to negotiate the moving ball and all of them including Gavaskar gave good catching practice to a cordon of slip fielders employed by Mike Denness the English captain. The Indian captain Ajit Wadekar was responsible to a great degree also as he lost control over the team, resulting in infighting amongst its members. Wadekar was sacked on his return.

Sunny’s Dubious Record

India went for the first world cup in 1976 and the team made a farce of the game being ousted out of the tournament. Sunny Gavaskar outdid himself and earned a black mark for ever by batting the entire 60 overs and scoring 36 not out (In those days one day matches were of 60 over’s duration). Repeated missives by the Indian skipper Venkat raghavan to get on with the game had no effect on Gavaskar who made a mockery of the one day game and continued plodding and defending against the English pace men.

Thus the present defeat in England is nothing new. This time again we had ‘world class’ batsmen like Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman and yet the team has not been able to cross 300 even once, though Dravid has hit 2 centuries. He is classified as the wall. I wonder whether it should be treated as a compliment as a wall is a defensive posture against an attack and to win one must go on the offensive and this is not possible if you are behind a wall. The Great Wall of China was a defensive mechanism against the Mongol invaders

The only golden lining during this period was the tour of England under Kapil dev in 1985, when India won the series 2-0. The star was Vengsarkar with 2 centuries. Incidentally Vengsarkar is the only Indian batsman to have notched up 3 centuries against his name at Lords, the home of cricket. In bowling also the Indian seam attack led by Kapil Dev made excellent use of the conditions to dismiss the English team twice on 4 occasions.

Bowling Infirmities

The failure of the Indian team in England makes sad reading, but one other aspect that is overlooked is the thrashing the Indian bowlers receive in England. Umpteen times England have amassed scores of over 600 at the drop of a hat and all our bowlers ( exception 1985 tour) have been walloped like small kids. Thus Wally Hammond, Len Hutton, Graham Gooch, Geoff Boycott and now Peterson have hit big double hundreds against India. Watching these men play is revealing as in contrast all Indian batsmen struggle. Graham Gooch who is not great shakes as a world-class batsman hit 333 and followed up with 121 in the second innings during the 1992 tour.

The pity is that the Indian seam bowlers who in all reasonable circumstances should be a success on seaming wickets are unable to duplicate the effort of the English bowlers. This aspect certainly needs greater study.


Perhaps the only solution is that India field a team in the county championship. With its clout in the cricket world, the BCCI ( Board for Cricket and Control in India) should be able to manage that. This may perhaps have an effect and these humiliations may stop.


Defeat In England, India And England, Indian Cricket, Mcc, Test Cricket

Meet the author

author avatar M G Singh
A man who spent his early years in Air Force. An avid writer with over 6000 articles and 60 short stories published.Two novels on the anvil for publication.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
4th Jan 2012 (#)

You have covered so well, Madan. The heroes at home become zeroes overseas mainly due to the faster wickets that most cannot cope. That again is evident now in Australia, but that again is mainly due to some who should not be there as they are too old to face faster bowling! India has to learn from Sri Lanka, which is smaller than most states, but still produces players who are good in all conditions - siva

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author avatar M G Singh
5th Jan 2012 (#)

Thank you Siva

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author avatar NEERAJ BHATT
4th Jan 2012 (#)

Fine post with good information in detail.

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author avatar M G Singh
5th Jan 2012 (#)

Thank you Neeraj. I enjoy your comments

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author avatar Ptrikha
13th Jun 2014 (#)

Yes India has had some big losses in England. However, you did not mention the 1-0 test win by India in 2007, and also the first world up was in 1975, and not 1976.

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