New Delhi: The first-ever series win in England in 1971 has played a significant role in vanquishing India's fear of facing tough opponents on hostile away conditions, feels Ajit Wadekar, the man who captained the country during the tour.
Forty years ago, the Indian cricket team created history under Wadekar's leadership when they defeated England 1-0 in a three-Test rubber to register its maiden series win in Britain.
"The sense of inferiority we had while playing formidable teams, that too on their own soil, vanished. Indians in general started thinking that they can also make it to the top," Wadekar said referring to victory over England in 1971. Wadekar, whose also led India to historic triumph in the West Indies in 1971, has revealed that he was deeply hurt when M K Pataudi opted out of the tours of England in 1971 and 1974.
"I did feel bad when Tiger (Pataudi) did not make it to the 1971 tour. I felt really bad when he turned down my request to join the team for the tour of England in 1974," the left-handed batsman recollected.
"I needed him and his experience in England badly. Yes, we were always good friends and he always had confidence in me," Wadekar told Outlook magazine.
He also countered his detractors, who criticised him heavily for employing defensive tactics during the 1971 Caribbean tour.
"How can anyone call it defensive tactics? (Gary) Sobers and all others were known for going for their strokes all the time, but they got restless if they couldn't get going. If I were a defensive captain, would I have enforced the follow-on on them in the first Test to gain psychological advantage?" Wadekar asked.