Cricket World Cup 1975: How Alvin Kallicharran tamed the tiger

Belligerent attack by Alvin Kallicharran on Dennis Lillee.
Belligerent attack by Alvin Kallicharran on Dennis Lillee.
Indra Vikram Singh

The clash everyone looked forward to in the 1975 World Cup was the one between Australia and the West Indies. These were the two best teams at the time and were battling hard to gain the initiative in Group B.

Both sides had impressive bowling line-ups, and the batsmen found runs hard to come by. That was until Alvin Kallicharran strode into the arena.

The pacemen had enjoyed themselves for much of the Australian innings. Rick McCosker departed on the third ball of the day, caught off his gloves at backward short-leg as a Bernard Julien snorter took off from a length. Soon Andy Roberts and Keith Boyce got among the wickets, and Australia slid to 61 for five.

Ross Edwards, showing fine form, arrested the slide by combining with Rodney Marsh for a 99-run partnership. But all the Aussies could manage was 192 in 53.4 overs.

The West Indies lost Gordon Greenidge at 29, and that was when Kallicharran took over the match. Kallicharran is Rohan Kanhai's cousin, and was often dubbed as the left-handed version of the former captain.

Both diminutive and superb strokemakers, they could be astonishing on their day. Kallicharran also possesses an effervescent outgoing personality, and was always a likely candidate to be a crowd favourite.

Kallicharran's silken smooth strokes were in evidence right from the start. The elegant left-hander took the attack to the Aussies. He was particularly severe on Dennis 'Tiger' Lillee.

The great pacer was left bewildered as he had rarely been treated with such disdain. As Kallicharran waded into him, Lillee bowled faster, only to be hit harder by the little man.

He brought the house down in the 31st over, hammering four fours off a fuming Lillee. In his next over Kallicharran hit a huge six high up above long-leg. In an exhilarating sequence, Kallicharran smashed - 35 runs off 10 deliveries from the speedster.

Lillee was at his wits' end. When he pitched up, Kallicharran was on to it like lightning and driving through the covers. If he tried to bounce, Kallicharran would hook fiercely. To use Dennis Compton's words: "The short-pitched balls held no terrors for the West Indian. He got on to the back foot and right behind the line and hooked them mercilessly."

Kallicharran raced to 78 off 83 balls with 14 fours and a six in an hour and three-quarters. He had put on 124 for the second wicket with Roy Fredericks when he finally mistimed a bumper from Lillee and was caught at mid-wicket.

Lillee eventually had his revenge but it was too late as the West Indies were already on the road to victory, and his own returns were in shambles. Fredericks fell soon after but Vivian Richards and Kanhai saw the side to victory.

Lillee finished with one for 66 off 10 overs.

It was a brilliant display by Kallicharran, worth going miles to see. Those who saw it or heard about it on the radio, will never forget the excitement.

Australia: 192 all out (53.4 overs), West Indies: 195 for 3 wickets (46 overs).

Edited by Musab Abid
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