Eighth Column/ Soaring on the wings of self belief
Future Fame may score

Calcutta, April 23: 
Cut to 26 years ago (the fifth and final day of that immortal Port-of-Spain Test) and Bishan Singh Bedi was in pretty much the same position as Sourav Ganguly.

Only, then, Clive Lloyd had set a target (403) at the Queen’s Park Oval. This time, the Indians defended 312.

Actually, going into the final day, it was just 181 as the West Indies had knocked off 131 (losing two wickets) by stumps on Day-IV.

“Our bowlers must believe they can bowl out the opposition… They’ve got to adopt the attitude Sunil Gavaskar had —that absolutely nobody could get the better of him,” Bedi told The Telegraph.

Well, Jawagal Srinath and Co. did soar on the wings of self belief, scripting an often heart-stopping 37-run victory.

Speaking from his Delhi residence Tuesday afternoon, Bedi had said: “I would love to be proved wrong, but I fear Anil Kumble could be missed. In fact, we’ll probably not just miss his bowling, but that cool presence as well… Anyhow, getting 180-plus on the fifth day isn’t a comfortable prospect. It’s fairly daunting.”

As it turned out, our quicks made up for Kumble’s absence --- as also Harbhajan Singh’s utter lack of form. For a change, India’s USP wasn’t spin.

In Bedi’s opinion, Kumble ought to be fielded even if the wicket has a lush green cover. “After all, his 318 Test wickets have come in different conditions, not against batsmen representing a visually challenged XI… If I may add, the present squad has only one great player, Sachin Tendulkar, and one near great. Kumble is that near great…

“For the sake of Indian cricket, I hope Kumble hasn’t been mentally devastated… Indeed, the next time he takes the field, it will be like starting from scratch.”

Kumble’s omission, though, became history last week itself and Sourav had to make do with the chosen resources…

The day, of course, became an occasion for Bedi to reflect on his own emotions, at the same venue, 26 years ago.

“I don’t exactly live in the past, because the past will never return… What I distinctly remember is that we were confident (starting the final day on 134 for one), not cocky… We believed in ourselves, had so much pride wearing the India cap,” Bedi replied, a shade emotionally.

In the manner of good captains, Bedi saluted his team for posting that world record 406 for four. It remains unsurpassed.

“It so happened that I was captain… The credit, honestly, must go to the team… Lloyd never thought we would get there. We proved him and the world so wrong... Whatever my reservations about the current playing XI, I’ll be delighted if we record another win in Port-of-Spain.”

[In batting order, that 1976 XI was: Gavaskar, Aunshuman Gaekwad, Mohinder Amarnath, Gundappa Vishwanath, Eknath Solkar, Brijesh Patel, Madanlal, Srinivas Venkatraghavan, Syed Kirmani, Bedi and Bhagwat Chandrasekhar.]

According to Bedi, be it chasing or defending, the strategy has to be understood by everybody.

“Back in 1976, for example, we’d decided that the first six must also see off the second new ball, that the later order wouldn’t be exposed to Michael Holding… Everybody knew what was expected of each of them. The communication, clearly, has to be good.”

Bedi never quite had a problem there.


April 23: 
A good second in his last start, the Robert Foley-trained Future Fame may win the Summer Cup in Udhagamandalam on Wednesday.


11.30 am: Fairy Regal 1. Noble Regent 2. Crimson Crest 3.
12 noon: The Royals 1. Family Fortune 2. Minstrel Star 3.
12.30 pm: Height of Elegance 1. Golden River 2. Holland Park 3.
1 pm: Resplendent Star 1. El Cid 2. De Quest 3.
1.30 pm: Great Occasion 1. Star Treasure 2. Atalantis 3.
2 pm: Future Fame 1. Stately Girl 2. Knighted 3.
2.30 pm: Dressed For Dinner 1. Gold Mist 2. Bold Bidder 3.
3 pm: Imperial Warrior 1. Alminstar 2. Bold Premier 3.

Day’s Best: Future Fame

Double:Fairy Regal & The Royals.

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