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Kirmani prays India don’t suffer the same fate as they did in ‘75-’76 at Basin Reserve

Thursday, April 02, 2022



'Difficult to Digest'


Sai Mohan


Mumbai: Arguably New Zealand’s greatest cricketer ever, Sir Richard Hadlee, who will be inducted into ICC’s Hall of Fame during the third and final Test between New Zealand and India, knows a thing or two about ‘upsetting the plans of a touring party’.

Throw back to 1975-76 when a formidable Indian outfit under the captaincy of Bishan Singh Bedi went into the final Test with a 1-0 lead, similar to the current scenario. With a host of world class spinners and gritty top-order batsmen, the visitors looked set to seal the deal at the Basin Reserve, except that a 11-wicket burst by Hadlee spoiled the party.

India at Basin Reserve, Wellington

Tests: 5 | Won: 1 | Lost: 4

India lost the Test by an innings and 33 runs and have lost every Test series in New Zealand since then. India’s wicketkeeper batsman Syed Kirman, who scored a dodgy 49 in the first innings of that Test, blames poor umpiring and difficult conditions for the loss.

”We dominated every session of that series until Hadlee blew us off,” Kirmani told cricketnirvana.com.

“We had a formidable side. Our spinners were the best in the world, our batsmen were truly world class and we had won in England, West Indies and New Zealand with that outfit. We lost that final Test due to circumstances and poor umpiring.” Kirmal recalls.


© Getty
The Indians don't have to contend with Richard Hadlee, local umpires and damp, uneven pitches

However the times, they sure have changed. Fantastic batting conditions, neutral umpires and the extensive use of technology has, in many ways, have made it a reasonable outing for touring teams. “They have us an uneven, damp track because they could not digest a second consecutive Test series loss to us. They were ready to do anything to stop us.”

New Zealand captain Glenn Turner, who scored a stubborn 64 runs off 187 minutes in the first innings, survived contentious lbw shouts and a run-out appeal during his knock. “I can clearly remember, Turner was short of his crease, he was run-out but the umpire just wouldn’t give him out. This Indian team is lucky that they don’t have to face all that.”

If India win at Basin Reserve, they would pick up their 100th Test win. Or else they would have to wait until the end of the year to accomplish the centennial conquest.

“We are going to win. They don’t have a bowler like Richard Hadlee and neither are the pitches anywhere close to how they were in 1975-76. I really pray they don’t suffer the fate we did, getting so close to winning a series but ending up on the losing side.”


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