This is another excerpt from Michael Holding's book, "Whispering Death",
this one has to do with what he says about Gavaskar.
[ About the tour to India in 1983 ].
We had been forewarned that the umpiring might lean towards the home team,
but I'd played enough by now to know this was generally true everywhere.
After the third test, Clive Lloyd was moved to describe the umpires as two
of the worst he had come across, a pretty sweeping indictment. But it was
never the controversial issue it was in Australia in 1975-76 or in New
Zealand in 1980.
The major 'incident' occurred in the final test in which Sunil Gavaskar
went past Don Bradman's record number of test centuries with his
thirtieth, converting it into an eventual 236 not out. It had been a
difficult series for Gavaskar. He was out to the first ball of the match
in Calcutta and was bitterly criticised by the press and by the fans when
he virtually threw his hand away in the second innings with an atrocious
shot. With five failures on the trot, he asked to be put in at no. 4 in
the order in the last test. It was a sure sign of his loss of confidence
but he might as well have opened for Marshall took the first two wickets
without a run on the board. India were again in danger of falling apart at
92 for five in reply to our 313 when Gavaskar edged Marshall's second ball
of the fourth day to third slip. Harper held a low, clean catch but, as
Gavaskar stood his ground, the umpire said 'not out'. It was a blatant
mistake, if that is what it was, and we made our feelings known by
refusing to acknowledge Gavaskar's various landmarks. There was a great
deal of criticism in the press of what was termed our unsportsmanlike
behaviour, but nothing of Gavaskar's sportsmanship in influencing a
not-out decision for a clear catch.
[... details of why he bounced/beamed at Kirmani deleted...]
I suppose I never did come in terms with poor umpiring and there is no
more irritating feeling in the game than to have the umpire shake his head
when you know he should've raised his finger, or vice versa. It is worse
when the batsman is someone like Gavaskar, who was the most difficult
batsman to dislodge once the conditions suited him. You just tried to be
economical, and once he got past 30 or 40, you hoped he took a single
early in the over so you could get at the other batsman. He was very sound
and technically correct and, like the other great opposition opener of my
time, Geoff Boycott, had tremendous powers of concentration. Unlike
Boycott, however, he seemed keen only when conditions suited him. If the
ball was bouncing or moving about a lot, he did'nt seem to value his
wicket all that dearly.
It's interesting to note that Holding thinks that it was "a difficult
series for Gavaskar". I suppose it depends on how one looks at it, if one
were to look at the final tally and average (505 runs at ??), it does
look fairly healthy, but if one sees that Gavaskar failed in 9 test innings
out of the 12 (or was it 11?) on the tour, then it looks like *atleast* a
partial victory for the West Indian pace attack, esp. for Malcolm Marshall
and Michael Holding.
Win or lose, forever Windies.
Venky (Venkatesh Sridharan).