India’s greatest cricketing victories E04 – Madan Lal on India’s 1974 Test win against West Indies in Kolkata

It’s one thing to have an achievement like the 1983 World Cup in your resume. But it’s a whole other deal to start your career with a match-winning performance against an intimidating and at the team world-beating West Indian side at home in your first year in international cricket.

Our guest in this episode has seen it all – the struggles, the rise, the highs and the obstacles Indian men’s cricket has gone through, as a player, coach and selector. In this episode, we catch up with World Cup winner Madan Lal.

Listen to the full episode here and read the full transcript below


You can also listen to the episode on the podcast platform of your choice – Anchor, Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.


Vijay Lokapally: Welcome Maddi pa, welcome to the Sportstar podcast, it’s a series on some of India’s greatest wins in Test cricket and you have been part of many many famous victories, I mean when we look at the 1983 world cup, 1985 world championship of cricket, the 76 Port of Spain chase and the great win at the Calcutta against the West Indies in the 74-75 seasons which was the…your first, so Maddi pa which would you pick your best victories….obviously 83 us there and how much do you rate Calcutta win.

Madan Lal:
I don’t know how to pick…you know, one…one of the best…any win it gives you a great feeling, after all, you are playing for the win you if win a test match or a world cup or Benson – Hedges cup or Asian cup you know it makes you feel very happy and you feel proud that I was the part of the team so you know like, it becomes very difficult as West Indian side used to be very strong those days and you know that they had the best of the pace attack and they had the best of the batsmen in their batting line up so you know like, it was not easy to beat them looking at their side you know, their XI players, so definitely you know like Worldcup and Benson hedges are one day cricket but winning a test match was totally different because test match has class, it is the test of the test. When you win a test, only then do you have a feeling which is different from any other thing and I am sure, you know, that in 1974 I played for the first time in Calcutta so the win there also has a lot of importance in our lives

Vijay: And Maddi Pa, I am sure you remembered your first season which was underwhelming and we didn’t do well but how did we come back so strong after that?

Madan: We had a fairly awful season in England since there was nothing there at the time, we made a lot of blunders, and the tour was poorly organised. We went in the first half, and you know how difficult it is to acclimate to English conditions in the first half. Our spinners got the green top because they left more grass on the pitch, making it very difficult for them to bowl on those wickets. However, when we returned home, things changed for us as we were playing at home, and we had a distinct advantage, as we could prepare the wickets as we pleased, and that was the only way to beat the mighty West Indians.

Vijay: Maddi Pa, due to the performance in 74, Ajit Wadekar was replaced by Tiger Pataudi as the Indian captain, please let us know about your experience playing with Tiger Pataudi.

Madan: I didn’t spend a lot of time with Tiger Pataudi. I remember one match at Poona (Pune) following the Sri Lanka tour where he (Pataudi) made 132 runs, and I still remember that innings well. I didn’t play that match, but I soon realized that he was a brilliant batsman when I saw him bat. During Test matches, he used to speak very little, but when he did, it was always to the point, and that was his forte. His leadership system was linked to his three great spinners, he felt he could win Test matches with them simply because they were the finest in the world at what they did. He possessed a lot of knowledge about the game, including how to read the game, field placements, and when to change bowlers. I only played a couple of games with him, but the time I did spend with him was pleasant.

Vijay: Maddi Pa, Now we’ll come to this Test match where we fought back from back-to-back losses in that series, and you played a key role in that match. Before I make you remember it, what are your impressions of that match?

In this match, I scored runs and took wickets as well. It’s in my nature and willingness to contribute in any way for the team in whatever match I’m playing because that’s the only way you can stay in the team, whether you’re scoring runs, picking wickets, or taking good catches. I still remember taking four wickets, including Richard’s, and scoring around 40 runs, so these are a few things I remember, but as time passes, these memories fade away….

(More to follow)

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