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Indian players from 70s (from left): Sunil Gavaskar, Gundappa Vishwanath, Mohinder Amarnath, Ajit Wadekar, Eknath Solkar, MAK Pataudi, Bishan Singh Bedi, EAS Prasanna, Bhagwat Chandrasekhar, Srinivas Venkataraghavan and Farokh Engineer. Image courtesy: Getty Images

While the cricket fan generally responds to analytical arguments with ‘numbers do not mean anything/everything’, we also come across some curious logic of the zealot trying rigorous logic. In this series S Chuzzlewit takes you through some of the most hilarious ones. 

The fans of Indian cricket of the 1970s are perhaps unique. 

They were perhaps the first generation to enjoy the spectacle of the Indian team winning Test matches. Perhaps due to this first mover advantage, most of them still believe that nothing can better the cricket and cricketers produced by India in that decade. 

Forget Ravichandran Ashwin (193 wickets at 25.20 at the time of writing, with 18 five-fors and 4 ten-wicket hauls). Srinivas Venkataraghavan was way, way better (156 wickets at 36.11 with 3 five-fors and 1 ten-wicket haul). One cannot compare eras and numbers do not prove anything after all. 

Venkat played for a weak side. Not in a top class team as Ashwin does. 

And so it goes. The stream of logic. 

  • Sunil Gavaskar: Best opening batsman ever. Jack Hobbs, Herbert Sutcliffe, Len Hutton … never heard of them, but I have seen Gavaskar. He cannot be better. 
  • Gundappa Viswanath: Classiest and prettiest of batsmen, always peerless in a crisis, best in the world or very close. 
  • Mohinder Amarnath: Fearless. Hooked fire-breathing fast bowlers. 
  • Ajit Wadekar/MAK Pataudi: Superb man in the slips/covers, elegant batsman, great captain. 
  • Eknath Solkar: What a fielder and what a fighter! And he used to get Boycott out. 
  • Bishan Singh Bedi: The best left arm spinner that ever breathed. 
  • EAS Prasanna: The best off-spinner ever. Don’t believe me? Ask Ian Chappell! 
  • Bhagwat Chandrasekhar: Supreme leg-spinner. No one could read him. 
  • Srinivas Venkataraghavan: Formed the legendary quartet of spinners with the other three. And a great close-in fielder. 
  • Farokh Engineer: Superb wicketkeeper who was a top class opening batsman. 

And all these guys were champions. They would each have had much better records had he played in a better team than their own weak side. 

Did they not play together? 

Yes, so what? 

All these champion players played together in a weak side, and hence their career numbers suffered? 

Right. 

Ah, well.

This article is about the cricket fan and his arguments and not about the cricketer.

(S Chuzzlewit is a chronicler who sees the world of cricket through a sometimes light-hearted and often brutal lens)