Former Team India captain Gundappa Viswanath, who was part of the side which got bowled out for 42 in 1974, has admitted that he never thought that unwanted record will be broken. His comments came after Team India capitulated to 36/9 (with Mohammed Shami retiring hurt) in the second innings of the pink-ball Test against Australia in Adelaide on Saturday (December 19).
Team India had registered their then lowest Test total of 42 all out in the second innings of the second Test against England at Lord’s in 1974. In a column for The Indian Express, Viswanath wrote that everything needs to go wrong for a team to endure such a horror show.
“I was in the team when we were all out for 42 against England at Lord’s. But I would never say that 36 laid the ghost of that to rest. I can never be happy. I never thought I would see India getting all out for 42 or less again in my lifetime. It doesn’t feel good. But they have to just leave this behind and pull their socks,” Viswanath wrote.
“Everything combines when a team gets out for such a low score. All the bowlers will bowl very well, top-order batsmen will get some good deliveries, and there will not be much resistance from the lower order,” Viswanath, who scored 6,080 runs at an average of 41.93 in 91 Tests, stated.
Drawing a parallel between the nature of the pitch at the Adelaide Oval in 2020 and Lord’s in 1974, Viswanath wrote both the surfaces picked up pace on the third day, thus aiding the faster bowlers.
“In Adelaide, the pitch became a little quicker on the third day. The Australian bowers bowled really well, and consistently. The same thing happened at Lord’s. Whenever the batsmen were beaten, the ball took the edge.
“Compared to Lord’s, where it was cloudy and the ball swung, the Adelaide Oval pitch had a little more bounce but not much lateral or seam movement. All the bowlers kept the batsmen under pressure,” Viswanath added.
‘The Indian team has played enough cricket to get this out of their system,’ says Viswanath
To add to the woes, Team India will be missing the services of captain Virat Kohli and fast bowler Mohammad Shami in the next three Tests. While Kohli will fly back to India to attend the birth of his first child, Shami fractured his right arm after copping a blow from a Pat Cummins bouncer.
Gundappa Viswanath, however, emphasised that the current crop of players have enough pedigree to turn things around for themselves even without Virat Kohli.
“The Indian team has played enough cricket to get this out of their system. There are players in this team who have played 60-70 Tests and even without Kohli, this team has the ability to bounce back. Rahane has captained India before, some years back, and guided the team to victory,” the 71-year-old mentioned.
Team India need to defy all odds and bounce back in the remaining three Tests. For that to happen, Viswanath suggested that the management should urgently replace Prithvi Shaw with Shubman Gill, and slot in KL Rahul in the middle order.
“However, some changes become imperative. [Shubman] Gill has to come in place of [Prithvi] Shaw. No two ways about it. [KL] Rahul will come in place of Kohli...Rohit [Sharma] is there, but he will be available only for the last two Tests,” Viswanath concluded.
Team India, under stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane, will lock horns with the Aussies in the subsequent day Test matches in Melbourne (Dec 26-30), Sydney (Jan 7-11) and Brisbane (Jan 15-19).
Published 21 Dec 2020, 15:06 IST