• Tuesday, March 05, 2024


England in India: When players of both teams got bicycles after a Test in Chennai in 1993

The 1993 series was one of the worst that England have ever played on the Indian soil.

Former England batter Graeme Hick hits a shot during the Third Test match against India at the Wankhede Stadium, in Mumbai (then Bombay), India, in February 1993. (Photo by Ben Radford/Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

TWO of the world’s best cricketing nations will lock horns in a five-Test series starting January 25 and both the contesting sides — India and England — are ready for a gruelling time ahead.

For both teams, this series will be key if they want to make the final of the current World Test Championship. However, for the visitors, clinching a Test series in India will be an added incentive since winning in spinning wickets in the sub-continent has always been a daunting task for the SENA nations.

The Ben Stokes-led side will try to replicate the victory that England had registered in Tests on the Indian soil in 2012-13, the last time the Three Lions won a series in India in the long format.

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Whatever the results of the five-match Test will be, the history of India-England Test matches has been interesting for the game’s close followers.

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During England’s 1993 tour of India, for instance, certain unusual and bizarre incidents were witnessed that generated more enthusiasm than the visitors’ helpless capitulation on the ground. The Graham Gooch-led side was completely annihilated in the series they lost 0-3 with India spinners destroying them at will. While India won the first match in Kolkata (then Calcutta) by eight wickets, they won the second in Chennai (then Madras) by an innings and 22 runs and the third in Mumbai (then  Bombay) by an innings and 15 runs.

After the second Test in Madras where Sachin Tendulkar hit his maiden Test hundred on home soil and India’s spinners plundered 17 wickets, cricketers of both teams were gifted bicycles and they were seen happily whizzing around the outfield on them. The spectators were seen cheering the players as they enjoyed their time after the match ended on the final day with England getting all out for 252 runs, needing another 23 runs to make the hosts bat again. The visiting side was led by Alec Stewart as regular captain Gooch had an upset stomach after consuming prawns.

For today’s generations, bicycles instead of cars or motorcycles would look humble and that was how the game was then.

Phil Tuffnel, England spinner who bowled 41 overs in the match without a single reward, was also seen enjoying his time with his bicycle and someone said it was the only time he was seen happy in Madras — after the match got over.

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