natty chandra finalThe four men above were as dreaded a bowling spin force in world cricket as the Windies pace quartet in later years. Each of the above four (from left) Bhagwat Chandrasekhar, Bishan Singh Bedi, EAS Prasanna and Srinivas Venkataraghavan stamped their distinctive class with their cricketing brilliance.

Chandra, the mystery spinner, celebrates his 70th birthday today. Overseas wins were like oasis in the desert for India in those times. But no Indian bowler had won as many matches for India as Chandra did when he bid adieu to the game in 1979. He bowled an entire array of deliveries that batsmen could not fathom. And his deliveries were bowled far too quick for a spinner; it was almost medium-pace!

As he celebrates his birthday today, the mind goes back to the time he bowled India to its first-ever Test series win in England in 1971 with figures of six for 38 at The Oval and India’s first Test win in Australia, in 1978, by taking 12 for 104 at Melbourne.

Happy birthday, Chandra!