Home > Features >

The Test at Eden Gardens – another watershed moment in store?

The Test at Eden Gardens – another watershed moment in store?

The rise of India as a giant on home wickets also synchronised with Sachin Tendulkar’s emergence as a colossus of his times © PTI

Twenty winters ago, India had met England for the last time at the Eden Gardens.A home team severely hammered abroad had won by eight wickets, setting off on an unprecedented winning spree., setting off on an unprecedented winning spree. Arunabha Sengupta wonders if another such turn of events will come around as the spin formula seems to have been decoded by England.

Two decades have passed since India met England for the last time at the Eden Gardens. The circumstances were somewhat similar – even if not exactly identical. Indians had lost 4-0 in Australia a year earlier. Earlier that year, they had undertaken a difficult tour of South Africa and had been beaten 1-0.

Even if the margin of defeat was small, losing to a country just back in the game after a 22 year hiatus was seen as a major failure.

Besides, there was no World Cup to retrieve from the kitty – to allow the shiny dazzle of the recent past to compensate for the dark, sombre losses. Accusing fingers were pointed with  zeal as merciless as ever – at the team, and in particular towards captain Mohammad Azharuddin.

The Eden Test of January 1993 was the first of the series and proved to be the watershed moment for Indian cricket.

Azharuddin responded to all the pressure and criticism by scoring 182 runs dripping with grace and class, and proceeded to unleash his newly forged attack of three spinners on the English batsmen. Anil Kumble, Rajesh Chauhan and Venkatapathy Raju spun India to an eight wicket win. And the team kept winning. They won all the matches of the series, eight home Tests in a row, and 14 of the next 22 Tests played in India in the five following years, losing just two.

The Indian fan ardently hopes that history will repeat itself and the course of Indian cricket history will go through another fascinating turn. The home team does enjoy a 3-1 advantage over England in the nine times they have met at the ground. There is at least some reason for being optimistic.

However, times have changed and past history is not really a great source of optimism.

Twenty winters ago, the formula of spin domination on turning tracks had been set into motion. Teams from distant lands walked in to be tied into knots and choked to death by the combination of spinning balls and dusty wickets. After the recent Wankhede Test, however, the tale of turning triumphs seems to have come a full circle. The resolute batting of Alastair Cook and the incredible innings by Kevin Pietersen have together blunted the threat of the Indian spinners, and the less than impressive showing of Ravichandran Ashwin and Harbhajan Singh do not promise much in the way of miracles. To cap it all, Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann hijacked the happy ending that had been the monopoly of the Indians for all these years.

The rise of India as a giant on home wickets also synchronised with Sachin Tendulkar’s emergence as a colossus of his times. Now, 20 years later, the master chugs along the last few miles of his extraordinary journey, and the current stretch seems to be ridden with multiple bumps. Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, two other batsmen with fantastic records in home wins, are no longer there to drive nails into the coffins of foreign teams already stung by the venom of the tweakers. There is Virender Sehwag at the top of the order, but his form has been dodgy for long.

India does need something special to execute another about turn in their fortunes and get back into the upward swing.

Twenty years ago, Eden Gardens had been the venue where this turn had been accomplished, starting a run of success seldom matched in Test history.

One hopes there will be something equally special on show as the two sides face each other today

(Arunabha Sengupta is a cricket historian and Chief Cricket Writer at CricketCountry. He writes about the history and the romance of the game, punctuated often by opinions about modern day cricket, while his post-graduate degree in statistics peeps through in occasional analytical pieces. The author of three novels, he can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/senantix)

Bangladesh Tour of West Indies, 2014

Aug 27, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Basseterre, St Kitts

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 29, 2014 (13:00 IST)   at Harare

India tour of England 2014

Aug 30, 2014 (15:00 IST)   at Nottingham

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 30, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Dambulla

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 31, 2014 (13:00 IST)   at Harare


Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 27, 2014  at Harare

South Africa won by 7 wkts

India tour of England 2014

Aug 27, 2014  at Cardiff

India won by 133 runs

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 26, 2014  at Hambantota

Sri Lanka won by 77 runs

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 25, 2014  at Harare

Australia won by 198 runs

Bangladesh Tour of West Indies, 2014

Aug 25, 2014  at Basseterre, St Kitts

West Indies won by 91 runs


Don Bradman's ducks


Mitchell Marsh: This is a big opportunity for me

India vs England Live Cricket Score 2nd ODI at Cardiff: India win by 113 runs by D/L method

Australia vs South Africa Live Cricket Score, Zimbabwe Tri Series 2014 Match 2 at Harare: South Africa win by 7 wickets

Don Bradman and his ducks

India vs England ODI series 2014: Why an Indian win will be surprising

MS Dhoni taking on England in England and BCCI at home!

Australia Australia and South Africa in Zimbabwe 2014 England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs Sri Lanka Pakistan vs Sri Lanka 2014 South Africa Sri Lanka Sri Lanka vs Pakistan 2014 Zimbabwe Zimbabwe Triangular Series 2014

Ranjan Madugalle completes 500 international matches as match referee

India romp to massive 133-run win by D/L method against England in 2nd ODI to lead series 1-0

IPL 2013 spot-fixing and betting controversy: Mudgal committee meets police investigators in Chennai

Ravichandran Ashwin dismisses Eoin Morgan to leave England in deep touble against India in 2nd ODI

CLT20: PCB confident about Lahore Lions’ participation

Zimbabwe Triangular Series 2014: Australia vs South Africa, 2nd ODI at Harare Highlights

Ashes 1893: Dr. WG Grace treats Charlie Turner on the field

India vs England 2014: 2nd ODI at Cardiff Highlights

Suresh Raina silences critics after cracking stupendous ton for India against England at Cardiff

Shakib Al Hasan’s return: A desperate move by Bangladesh Cricket Board?

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

664 Posts | 6 Fans

Funny cricket video

International programme in Animal Husbandry

NGOs pursue education for all

Leaked: Inside pictures of Salman Khan’s Bigg Boss 8 house?

Angelo Mathews post match conference after 2nd ODI against Pakistan

Hyperlapse iOS app review: Simple, hassle-free time-lapse video creator unlocks loads of creative possibilities

HP recalls 6 million laptop power cords citing “fire and burn hazard”

How to have sex after having a baby

Ashes 1893: Dr. WG Grace treats Charlie Turner on the field

What is a yeast infection?

Lots of Baggage in India-US Relations According to Dr. Ashok Kapur

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here