As we arrived for ’84 tour, Indian PM was shot and all hell broke loose LYING IN STATE The BIG ASK
Q AINDIA IS NEVER AN EASY PLACE TO TOUR BUT 1984-85 WAS UNIQUE IN ITS CHALLENGE? We set off from London on October 30, 1984, and arrived overnight in New Delhi. When we woke up, it was to the news that the Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had been assassinated. It was an extraordinarily heated time and a pretty serious situation. WERE THE TEAM IN DANGER?
Not really. We were holed up in the hotel about six miles from the city centre, but there were some horrific things going on in the city with reprisal killings (her assassins were her Sikh bodyguards), with thousands of innocent Sikhs massacred in the street. You could see the smoke rising from the city from our hotel.
WAS THERE NO MOVE TO CANCEL THE TOUR?
The tour manager Tony Brown managed to get us on a flight to Sri Lanka. It was the President’s plane – he was on his way back from the Gandhi funeral – so as India went into mourning for 10 days, we escaped to Colombo. BUT THE TOUR WAS TOUCH AND GO?
Yes, but we got in a couple of warm-ups in Colombo while the ECB, Foreign Office and Indian authorities sorted things, then headed back. AND ON TO THE FIRST TEST THEN?
Not quite. After it was decided we would continue, we flew to Mumbai.
Q Q Q Q
The wicketkeeper, below, was part Bob Willis had finished and Ian
of a second-string England squad Botham was not there (he opted
who picked their way through a out). Graham Gooch and John Emburey
were banned for having toured apartheid
country in turmoil in 1984-85. He
South Africa, so we were a second-string talks to GIDEON BROOKS about the
side. It was a group of no great egos and
parallels with England’s behindclosed-doors collective strength. We lost that first Test visit to in-form in Mumbai by eight wickets.
India, which starts on Friday.
BUT YOU WON THE SECOND TEST AND On the eve of the first Test we attended a THE FOURTH IN MADRAS AND reception at the official residence of the ULTIMATELY THE SERIES?
Deputy High Commissioner to India, Before the second Test, the Bhopal
Percy Norris, a keen cricket fan. The chemical leak killed and injured next morning he was hundreds of thousands. Against yet assassinated in his car on the another tragic backdrop, we won. Eden way to his office by two Gardens in Kolkata was a rain-affected gunmen. draw, then we won in Madras with Neil THAT SHOOK Foster superb and Mike Gatting and THE TEAM? Graeme Fowler both hitting double
hundreds. We managed to hold on to the A
When Norris was shot, things draw in Kanpur to win the series. It was escalated again. We had armed an amazing tour. guards on the buses and armed guards with us at all times. Everywhere felt HOPEFULLY JOE ROOT’S LOT WILL more charged. Some on the tour were HAVE A LESS TRAGIC, BUT EQUALLY not happy and wanted to go back home, SUCCESSFUL SERIES? but others were okay. I remember Bruce They have had two good wins in
French, a keen climber, getting Sri Lanka. We will need a bit of permission to go and visit the Himalayas luck, certainly against spin. India have when we had a game up north later in one of the best seam attacks in the the tour. He was allowed to take three or world, so it will be interesting four days off. I don’t think he got to base what sort of wickets they play on. camp but he went to see Everest! Seam will come into it’s own and we
THERE WERE SOME STARS MISSING have two of the greats in Stuart Broad FOR THAT TOUR? and James Anderson.