That ‘70s Show

That ‘70s Show

3 minutes read

Excuse me for the reference to the TV Show.

When a friend of mine(who has lived through the ’70s) asked me to put down my views on “Cricket in ’70s” in my unique way, I realised, “I hardly know anything about that era – the era known as the ‘Golden era of Cricket’.” So, after a couple of weeks of research and a lot of thought, I’ve come up with this. I consider myself unlucky to have missed out experiencing that era first hand; I’m sure I would have liked watching that brand of cricket as much as I would have hated bell-bottom jeans.

Unarguably, ’70s was all about the West Indian cricket team. The world saw 4 of the best fast-bowlers bowling in tandem – Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Colin Croft and the biggest of them all, Joel Garner. I can only imagine what it must have been having to face these 4. Another highlight of this era was that Sunil Gavaskar not only used to face these 4 bowlers standing tall(figuratively) but also faced them without any sort of helmet or head protection gear.

The ’70s was probably the worst decade as far as cricket is concerned for the Aussies. The team mainly composed of the Chappells who went on to become the controversial duo, albeit in different timelines and roles. If there was another team that came even close to matching the West Indies, it was the English team. The decade saw dominant performances by the British against all opponents.

That ‘70s Show

1983 proved to be the most definitive year in the history of Indian cricket as well as Indian sports at large. But, the foundation was being laid in the ’70s. Legends eventually, players like Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Gundappa Vishwanath, the spin quartet – Bishen Bedi, Bhagwat Chandrasekhar, Erapalli Prasanna and Srinivas Venkatraghavan played their formative cricket in this decade. The line-up proved to be so strong that India went ton to defeat the strong West Indies and the mighty English in their own backyard.

’70s was host to another defining moment in the history of cricket. The first ever One Day International was played in 1971. Over the years, the ODI format went on to attract millions of fans and was the most popular format until the advent of T20, although some might argue it still is the best format. The inaugural World Cup was played in 1975. Who knew that it would be a World Cup match that would attract the maximum crowd in the cricketing history! And, it was not the Finals.

The West Indians were better to suited to play the new short format of the game because of their attacking nature and godly physique. As is evident by their back-to-back World Cup triumphs. The World Cup is still the most popular multi-team cricket event. The team that India built in the ’70s went on to win the World Cup in 1983, against all odds and against all beliefs.

I’ll go out on a limb here and claim that ’70s was the best decade in cricket so far and will remain to be for quite a long time. Cricket morphed into the form we see today. We have the British to thank for bringing this game into the world but, we probably have the West Indians to thank for bringing their brand of cricket into the world, for that brand is still relished by everyone. After all, there’s no time like seventies!

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