As India stumbled down to a rare defeat against the likes of a mighty England in the first Test of the series, Star Sports managed to strike a reminiscing confab with the solitary alive member of India’s first Test victory squad, C Gopinathan. It was a sweet walk down the memory lane and the man who was an instrumental element of India’s triumph, narrated how imperative was this victory for India.
After making debut in Test cricket 20 years back, it was in 1952 that India was finally successful in savouring their first victory. Relaying the remarkable incident in the tack of India’s glittering Test antiquity, Gopinathan said that there weren’t any common hotels or accomodations to house the Indian cricket team. The squad had to rely on the shoulders of kind Indians who were all set to allow lodgings of the Indian cricketers.
The captain was shouldered with the onus of plotting the strategy, building the ploy of overtaking the opposition and assigning roles to his team-mates.
In the first innings, England made 266 runs which was followed by a decent outing from India, spearheaded by Pankaj Roy who clobbered a sublime century.
While that test continued, the King of England also dubbed as the Emperor of India passed away. Hence, players decided to play with a black arm band.
Gopinathan came out to bat on the fourth day at number 8 and just before he was about to walk out, the captain told him that declaration was lurking in the corner.
Polly Umrigar who went on to smash a blistering 130 in the first innings was batting alongside Gopinathan on 50 or 60 at that point in time. The duo went on to stitch a 100-run partnership.
Vidoo Mankad went on to pick 8 wickets in the match and it was said that he had tremendous control over his line and length. Fielding at mid-off, Gopinathan was instructed by Vinoo Mankad to drift 5 yards away from where he was standing and in the very next ball the former pouched a simple take.
India managed to win the match by an innings and 8 runs where Gopinathan took the final catch and scored 35 runs. He said that nothing can surpass 1952 because how the crowd reacted was very special and that also penned a new chapter in the ruffled pages of India’s cricketing history.